What is goodwill?

“Goodwill” is often a term thrown around in the business world, and business owners refer to “goodwill” when discussing their company’s value, but what exactly is it? Goodwill is a term used in accounting to refer to the value of a company that is not attributed to its tangible assets, such as buildings or equipment. This blog will give a brief overview of what goodwill is, how its calculated, why it’s important and how it’s recognised in financial statements.

What is goodwill?

Goodwill is an intangible asset representing the potential future economic benefit that a company may realise from the recognition of its brand or reputation, from having strong relationships with customers and suppliers and the value derived from the expertise and experience of the company’s employees. Goodwill represents the difference between a company’s actual market value and the sum of its assets and liabilities.

How is it calculated?

To calculate goodwill, analysts typically use the fair value approach, which involves estimating the value of a company’s assets and liabilities and subtracting that from the market value of the business.

Why is goodwill important?

Goodwill is important because it reflects a company’s reputation and brand recognition, which can significantly impact its financial success. It also represents intangible assets that may not be easily quantifiable but still contribute to the overall value of a business. Monitoring and managing goodwill can help a company maximise its financial potential and sustain long-term success. It is essential for business leaders to continually work towards building and maintaining a positive brand reputation and strong relationships with key stakeholders and maximise goodwill.

Recognition of goodwill

IFRS3 allows goodwill to be recognised on the balance sheet if acquired through a business combination and is expected to generate future economic benefits. The excess of the acquisition cost over its net identifiable assets’ fair value is recognised as goodwill. Internally generated goodwill (such as from a strong brand image or customer relationships) is not recognised on the balance sheet. It is also important to note that goodwill may only be recognised at the acquisition date and cannot be reassessed upwards in subsequent periods.

Impairment of goodwill

Under both IFRS and GAAP, goodwill is not amortised but instead must be tested for impairment at least annually (or more frequently if there are indicators of potential impairment). If the value of goodwill decreases, the difference must be recorded as an impairment loss on the balance sheet. Goodwill can also be written off entirely if the business combination that it arose from is terminated or reversed.

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