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Financial Reporting on Goodwill and Intangible Assets

1511 words (6 pages) Essay in Accounting

13/06/18 Accounting Reference this

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Question 1

Under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), goodwill and intangible assets must be treated separately during a business combination in accordance with IFRS3. Prior to IFRS 3, companies, during a business combination situation, intangible assets and goodwill could be accounted for as goodwill[1].

Under IFRS 3, acquired intangible assets are treated separately to goodwill. With recognised intangible assets, the value of the intangible asset can be amortised over the useful life of the asset. Goodwill is the value difference between the price paid for a business on acquisition and the value of the assets. Unlike intangible assets, goodwill cannot be amortised but needs to be re-measured for impairment, on an annual basis. This impairment value can be included in the income statement as an expense, on an annual basis. This is the critical difference between intangible assets and goodwill[2].

Upon acquiring a business, the acquiring company must assess the fair value of the relevant assets and liabilities including some identifiable intangible assets. This is the only time that these assets can be recognised on the balance sheet. Internally created intangible assets cannot be amortised in a straight line and reduced in this way on the balance sheet unless they are identifiable in terms of a useful life expectancy. Intangible assets that have an indefinite life span cannot be amortised on a straight line basis and must be re-measured for impairment, instead. All internally created intangible assets are re-measured for impairment, regardless of whether or not they are able to ascertain the useful life expectancy of the asset[3].

Goodwill is generally considered as a type of intangible asset; however, for the purposes of IFRS 3, it must be accounted for separately, during a business acquisition, with goodwill never being amortised and intangible assets that can be recognised to have a specific life expectancy can be amortised on a straight line basis. This is not the same for internally created intangible assets which will never be amortised.

Question 2

(a) Gearing is calculated by considering the ratio of debt to equity, which is considered as debt divided by capital employed (or debt divided by debt plus shareholder funds). Intangible assets are often added back on to the shareholders’ funds as intangible assets such as goodwill and are a measure of the history of the company and not its current financial strength[4].

 

Calculation

Gearing

Numbers reported in company’s balance sheet

(733 + 8585) which is total borrowings divided by shareholder equity / (9318 + 4013) total debt plus shareholder equity

69.90%

Adjusted to make goodwill valueless

(733+8585) / (4013 + 9318 – 4514) goodwill is taken off the shareholder equity

105.68%

Adjusted to treat both goodwill and intangible assets as valueless

(733+8585) / (4013 + 9318 – 9974) goodwill and intangible assets are added back on

277.57%

The higher the ratio or gearing percentage, the greater the company favours debt over equity. A ratio of 100% would indicate that the company has an equal preference for both the use of equity and debt[5]. Therefore, the higher the percentage the greater the dependence and the greater the perceived financial risk. Shareholders will only obtain a return on their equity once all interest payments have been made. Therefore, the higher the reliance on debt, the more volatile the shareholder earnings are going to be. However, the debt repayment is set and, therefore, the higher the gearing ratio, the greater the risk but also the greater the potential return for the existing shareholders[6].

The figure for Allied Boots, for the purposes of this analysis is 105.68%. Any figure over 100% is considered high, which means that there may be volatility for the shareholders, but the profit growth will also be higher.

In this case, the figure with goodwill ignored, has been used as this takes into account the fact that goodwill is largely a measure of historic value. The reason for this is that goodwill is entirely a reference to historic value generated in the business and should not, therefore, be taken into account as part of the shareholder equity. Intangible assets are continued value generating assets and should, therefore, remain in the calculation. For example, the intangible assets could include intellectual property which continues to add value to the business, whereas goodwill at the point of business acquisition is simply a reflection of the value of the business name at that point; no further value will be generated by virtue of this figure[7].

Question 3

In an entirely efficient market, all analysts will have all relevant information available to them, allowing them to makes suitable adjustments to give them the best possible information in relation to the value of the business. Truly efficient figures imply that all figures within the accounts reflect all known information[8]. However, in reality, markets are not entirely efficient as there is information that is not reflected in the financial data. Financial data, by its very nature, is historic and simply reflects what has happened in the past. Values for intangible assets such as intellectual property and goodwill can vary very quickly and are extremely subjective in nature. Goodwill and intangible assets are often based on information that is not publicly available such as internal know-how and, therefore, cannot be suitably analysed to see how realistic they are; this potentially offers considerable discretion for managers in terms of how these figures are reflected in the accounts[9].

Due to the potential discretion in this area, regulators need to lay down certain treatment rules to ensure that the information being provided by the financial accounts is as close to full, true and fair as is possible. This then allows the analysts to make the most suitable decisions for their chosen position.

Bibliography

Blake, John, Lunt, Henry, Accounting Standards, Pearson Education, 2001

Dunse, Neil A., Hutchison, Norman E., Goodacre, Alan, Trade-related valuations and the treatment of goodwill, Journal of Property Investment & Finance, 22, 3, 2004

Elliott, Barry, Elliott, Jamie, Financial Accounting and Reporting, Pearson Education, 2006

Mard, Michael J., Hitchner, James R., Hyden, Steven D., Zyla, Mark L., Valuation for Financial Reporting: Intangible Assets, Goodwill, and Impairment Analysis, SFAS 141 and 142, John Wiley and Sons, 2002

Reilly, Robert F., Schweihs, Robert P., Valuing Intangible Assets, McGraw-Hill Professional, 1999

Seetharaman, A., Sreenivasan, Jayashree, Sudha, Raju, Yee, Tey Ya, Managing impairment of goodwill, Journal of Intellectual Capital, 7, 3, 2006

Seetharaman, A., Balachandran, M., Saravanan, A.S., Accounting treatment of goodwill: yesterday, today and tomorrow: Problems and prospects in the international perspective, Journal of Intellectual Capital, 5, 1, 2004

Weetman, Pauline, Financial Accounting: An Introduction, Pearson Education, 2006

Wines, Graeme, Dagwell, Ron, Windsor, Carolyn, Implications of the IFRS goodwill accounting treatment, Managerial Auditing Journal, 22, 9, 2007


Footnotes

[1] Weetman, Pauline, Financial Accounting: An Introduction, Pearson Education, 2006

[2] Mard, Michael J., Hitchner, James R., Hyden, Steven D., Zyla, Mark L., Valuation for Financial Reporting: Intangible Assets, Goodwill, and Impairment Analysis, SFAS 141 and 142, John Wiley and Sons, 2002

[3] Blake, John, Lunt, Henry, Accounting Standards, Pearson Education, 2001

[4] Seetharaman, A., Sreenivasan, Jayashree, Sudha, Raju, Yee, Tey Ya, Managing impairment of goodwill, Journal of Intellectual Capital, 7, 3, 2006

[5] Elliott, Barry, Elliott, Jamie, Financial Accounting and Reporting, Pearson Education, 2006

[6] Dunse, Neil A., Hutchison, Norman E., Goodacre, Alan, Trade-related valuations and the treatment of goodwill, Journal of Property Investment & Finance, 22, 3, 2004

[7] Seetharaman, A., Balachandran, M., Saravanan, A.S., Accounting treatment of goodwill: yesterday, today and tomorrow: Problems and prospects in the international perspective, Journal of Intellectual Capital, 5, 1, 2004

[8] Reilly, Robert F., Schweihs, Robert P., Valuing Intangible Assets, McGraw-Hill Professional, 1999

[9] Wines, Graeme, Dagwell, Ron, Windsor, Carolyn, Implications of the IFRS goodwill accounting treatment, Managerial Auditing Journal, 22, 9, 2007

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