Articoli

Fr

Why Do Firms Write Off Their Goodwill? A Comparison of Different Accounting Systems

Increased comparability of financial statements across adopting countries is one of the main objectives of IFRS adoption. The level of achievement of this objective, however, is still debatable. While some studies have documented that crosscountry comparability of financial statements has increased after IFRS adoption, other studies have found that comparability has actually decreased since 2005. We contribute to this debate by studying whether the motivations for goodwill writeoff are the same or vary across countries with different accounting systems. Although a good deal of research has investigated the motivations for goodwill writeoff, our study is the first to analyze whether these motivations vary across countries with different accounting systems. We find that firms that expect low cash flows in the future are more likely to report goodwill write-offs if they are located in countries with an Anglo-Saxon accounting system than if they are located in countries with a Continental accounting system. These results suggest that IFRS are “interpreted” differently in different countries and that harmonization of financial statements has not been fully achieved yet.

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Keywords: Goodwill, impairment, IFRS, accounting systems

Fr

Towards the international convergence of accounting standards: the case of Business Combinations and Goodwill

Accounting for business combinations and for goodwill has profoundly changed during the last ten years both in the US and in Europe, as a consequence of the common effort of the FASB and the IASB towards the international convergence of accounting standards. The Business Combinations project has been the first major project undertaken jointly by the accounting standard setters and it has resulted in the issue of substantially converged accounting standards with some remaining differences. The aim of this paper is to review and comment the evolution and the major changes occurred in accounting for business combinations and for goodwill and their current status in the light of the process of convergence of accounting standards on these crucial economic transactions.

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Keywords: Business combinations, goodwill, IFRS, USGAAP

Fr

Rilevanza ed affidabilità del valore contabile dell’avviamento e dei beni immateriali sul mercato italiano

Il presente lavoro si propone di indagare quale sia la rilevanza e l’affidabilità percepita dal mercato finanziario sul valore espresso nel bilancio d’esercizio sui beni immateriali e l’avviamento delle società quotate. Lo studio ha analizzato le aziende quotate al FTSE Italia All-share, nel periodo fra il 2002 ed il 2008. Attraverso un modello di regressione a più variabili si è verificato che: a) il valore contabile dei beni immateriali e dell’avviamento sono correlati positivamente al valore di mercato del capitale, b) la transizione agli IAS/IFRS non ha comportato un incremento della rilevanza ed affidabilità percepita dal mercato dei beni immateriali e avviamento.

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We examine the value relevance and reliability perceived by the market for goodwill and identifiable intangible assets as reported in the financial statements of a sample of Italian listed companies. The dataset is composed of companies listed on FTSE Italia All-share during the period 2002-2008. Using a multiple regression model, our findings suggest that for the Italian companies the information relating to goodwill and identifiable intangible assets is value relevant in terms of market value. Moreover, we did not find any significant change in the reliability of these items after the introduction of IAS/IFRS.

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Keywords: intangible assets, goodwill, value relevance, reliability, market value, IAS/IFRS

Fr

Cambiamenti di cash generating unit e valutazione dell’avviamento

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

 

Fr

Informativa sul tasso di attualizzazione nella stima dell’avviamento secondo lo IAS36: un confronto fra Italia e Paesi nordici

Il presente lavoro si focalizza sulla qualità dell’informativa obbligatoria sul tasso di attualizzazione nella stima a valore d’uso dell’avviamento. L’analisi compara un campione di società italiane con uno del Nord Europa, al fine di verificare se la qualità informativa risulti migliore in paesi che pongono maggiore attenzione sul capitale immateriale. Inoltre, si è inteso verificare se l’informativa aumenti in presenza di svalutazione dell’avviamento, evento più frequente nei periodi di crisi economica. I risultati ottenuti tramite la costruzione di un disclosure index e l’analisi di regressione supportano le ipotesi, mostrando che l’informativa aumenta se l’azienda appartiene ad un paese nordeuropeo; lo stesso effetto si ottiene in caso di rilevazione di impairment loss.
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This paper studies the disclosure quality on the discount rate used in estimating value in use for goodwill under IAS 36. A sample of Italian firms was compared with one of North European firms to verify if mandatory disclosure quality is correlated with the importance given to intangible assets in these countries. This paper also tested the hypothesis that the disclosure level increases following a goodwill write-off, an event related to market uncertainty and financial crisis periods. The analysis was conducted by constructing a disclosure index and the regression results support the hypothesis, showing that the discount rate disclosure level used in estimating goodwill increases in a firm from the North European sample; the same effect is shown in the presence of an impairment loss. Key words: goodwill, mandatory disclosure, compliance, impairment test, IAS 36, intangible assets.

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Keywords: goodwill, mandatory disclosure, compliance, impairment test, IAS 36, intangible assets

 

Fr

L’avviamento nei bilanci aziendali: impairment test e disclosure

L’applicazione all’avviamento dell’impairment test costituisce uno dei temi maggiormente dibattuti in ambito internazionale, in relazione ai molteplici profili di soggettività insiti nei criteri di valutazione previsti dallo IAS 36 e al conseguente rischio che detta procedura possa costituire un potenziale strumento di politiche di bilancio. Attraverso un’indagine comparata dei bilanci di società quotate italiane e inglesi dal 2005 al 2008, si intende verificare il trattamento contabile dell’avviamento, in particolare nel caso di segnali di perdite di valore, nonché la corrispondente disclosure fornita al riguardo. Nella ricerca sono analizzate le relazioni intercorrenti tra entità della svalutazione dell’avviamento, valutazione dell’azienda riflessa dalle corrispondenti quotazioni di borsa, e grado di disclosure sull’avviamento. Presumendo che la qualità della disclosure esprima il livello di attendibilità con cui si sono applicate le disposizioni dello IAS 36, si verifica l’ipotesi che la mancata effettuazione di svalutazioni, pur in presenza di indicatori di perdite di valore dell’avviamento, conduca le aziende a fornire unadisclosure sull’impairment test non completa né soddisfacente.

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The impairment test of goodwill is a hotly debated issue in the international arena owing to the intrinsic degrees of subjectivity present in the evaluation criteria of IAS 36 and the risk that these assumptions could be used opportunistically by managers. The paper examines a sample of Italian and British consolidated financial statements, referring to the years from 2005 to 2008 particularly with indications of likely impairment, in order to check the accounting treatment of goodwill and its related disclosure. The analysis focuses on the relationship between the magnitude of goodwill writeoffs, market capitalization and disclosure quality. It is suggested that corporate disclosure could act as a yardstick against which the reliability of IAS 36 implementation by management can be measured. It follows, therefore, that no write-offs represents an insufficient level of mandatory disclosure about goodwill impairment.

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Keywords: goodwill, IAS 36, impairment test, earnings management, write-offs, disclosure.

Fr

Goodwill accounting as a missing link between financial and management accounting: literature review and research agenda

The introduction of an impairment test of goodwill by IAS 36 and SFAS 142 implies a strong link between financial and management accounting, capable of improving both the accounting systems. In this paper I analyze the existing literature on goodwill both in financial and management accounting and I find little interest in investigating the reciprocal connections. I thus present a research agenda to explore this intriguing relationship.

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Keywords: Goodwill, Impairment test, IAS 36, SFAS 142