An Empirical Study of Stakeholders' Perception of the Accouting Treatment of Goodwill after IFRS: Should the Current Accounting Rules for Recognition and Measurement of Goodwill Be Changed?

Amalie Borup Kyllingsbæk & Neel Pedersen

Student thesis: Master thesis


In 2004 the accounting standard IAS 22 was replaced by IFRS 3. IFRS 3 regulates the accounting treatment of business combinations, including recognition and measurement of goodwill. The IFRS 3 introduced the “impairment only model” of goodwill. The Post Implementation Review (PIR) on IFRS 3 shows that calculating goodwill in accordance with IFRS 3 leads to actual challenges including a too-little-too-late issue, as the impairments on goodwill are realized too late. Since the announcement of the results from PIR on IFRS 3, the accounting treatment on goodwill has been a discussed topic. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate if it exists inconsistency between the way goodwill is treated by IFRS 3 and in the way stakeholders of annual reports perceive goodwill. The purpose is further to examine and discuss whether changes to the current accounting treatment can give a more accurate financial statement. The results of this thesis are based on 19 field interviews, an analysis of the OMX C20 companies in Denmark and a financial statement analysis of a fictitious financial statement. The thesis displays given areas of the current accounting treatment that the stakeholders do not consider appropriate. The thesis concludes that it is no general agreement among the respondents in regards of which accounting treatment provides the most accurate financial statement. The thesis concludes that the “impairment only model’’ gives a fair value consideration of goodwill, while it contains the risk of internally generated goodwill being indirectly capitalized. The thesis concludes that the “depreciation model’’ and the ‘’immediate write-off model’’ of goodwill obviate this issue, as these models provide more conservative and cautious financial statement. The thesis concludes that the respondents agree that accounting treatment by the 'immediate write-off model'' does not provide a more accurate financial statement. Perspectives differ whether the more accurate financial statement is achieved by treatment by the ''impairment only model'' or by the ''depreciation model''. Finally this thesis concludes that the utmost accurate accounting treatment of goodwill in financial statements is subject to which group of respondents is being inquired, and in particular which is their particular field of interest in the financial statement. The majority of respondents are content to maintain the ''impairment-only-model'' supplemented with introduction of demands for detailed information.

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages125