Goodwill Accounting Alternative: Private Versus Non-private Companies

Dahli Gray, Monica Jorge, Laura Rodriguez


This article examines the accounting change effective after December 15, 2015 and illustrates the Goodwill Accounting Alternative available to private companies as introduced by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2014-18 Business Combinations (Topic 805) Accounting for Identifiable Intangible Assets in a Business Combination—a consensus of the Private Company Council (PCC). The measurement and reporting results of private companies are compared with those of public business entities and not-for-profit entities (i.e., non-private companies) for the same in-scope transactions (i.e., acquisitions, assessing fair value under the equity method, and reorganizations). If a private company adopts the FASB ASU 2014-18, then it must also adopt the FASB ASU 2014-02 Intangibles-Goodwill and Other (Topic 350) Accounting for Goodwill—a consensus of the PCC. This results in the private company amortizing goodwill over 10 or fewer years using the straight-line method. Non-private companies use goodwill impairment testing involving fair value measurements. The illustration presented includes a comparison of the initial and subsequent period measurement and reporting requirements and results and indicates that financial accounting choice can result in a significant monetary difference in the total reported owners’ equity.

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Copyright (c) 2015 Dahli Gray, Monica Jorge, Laura Rodriguez

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Journal of Social Science Studies ISSN 2329-9150

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