Cambiamenti di cash generating unit e valutazione dell’avviamento

Anteprima

Il presente contributo esamina gli effetti delle variazioni di cash generating unit (CGU) sull’entità delle svalutazioni dell’avviamento, attraverso un’indagine comparata di bilanci di società quotate italiane e inglesi. Avendo riguardo alla procedura di impairment test prevista dallo IAS 36, si assume che le modifiche di CGU, ove ritenute “non giustificate”, ovvero non riconducibili a business combinations o a motivate riorganizzazioni interne, possano rivelare politiche di earnings management. In detto contesto si verifica l’ipotesi che un incremento o un decremento non giustificato del numero di CGU, cui l’avviamento risulta allocato, sia associato ad una svalutazione dell’avviamento rispettivamente maggiore o minore rispetto a quella del periodo precedente. I risultati della ricerca, in coerenza con gli assunti propri della teoria dell’earnings management, confermano che i profili di soggettività insiti nella procedura di impairment possono essere utilizzati dai managers in modo opportunistico.

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This paper examines whether changes in cash generating units (CGUs) affect the magnitude of goodwill write-offs, with reference to the impact of IAS 36 on a sample of Italian and British firms. As regards an accounting regulation that allows significant unverifiable estimates whilst at the same time one that requires a high level of disclosure, the paper proposes that an unjustified change in the specific CGUs to which each goodwill has to be allocated could reveal earnings management. The change is defined “unjustified” if there is not a business combination which has caused the change or if the internal reorganization is not adequately disclosed. In this context, it is assumed that an unjustified increase in the number of CGUs to which goodwill is allocated will cause higher goodwill write-offs than those recorded in the previous period. On the other hand, it is hypothesized that an unjustified decrease in the num- ber of CGUs is associated to non-impairment or to goodwill write-offs lower than in the previous period. The empirical results confirm the two hypotheses, in both the Italian and British samples. These findings are consistent with earnings management theory insights, suggesting that the profiles of subjectivity inherent in impairment test assumptions could be used opportunistically by managers.

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Keywords: Cash Generating Units, goodwill, impairment test, earnings management, write-offs, disclosure

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