FASB provides goodwill triggering relief for private companies, not-for-profits

By Ken Tysiac

FASB issued a standard Tuesday that provides an alternative to goodwill impairment triggering event evaluations for private companies and not-for-profits.

Under the alternative, private companies and not-for-profits will have the option to perform a goodwill triggering event assessment, and any resulting test for goodwill impairment, at the end of the reporting period, whether in an interim or annual period.

Private companies and not-for-profits that elect this alternative no longer will be required to perform this assessment during a reporting period, as the requirement is limited to the reporting date only.

The alternative came about after questions arose about the value of evaluating a triggering event at an interim date during a reporting period when certain private companies and not-for-profits only issue GAAP-compliant financial statements on an annual basis.

There were concerns about the cost and complexity of preparing interim balance sheets and projecting cash flows that might not be relevant at the reporting date.

Under current GAAP, goodwill must be tested for impairment when a triggering event occurs that indicates that it is more likely than not that the fair value of the reporting unit is below its carrying value. Companies and organizations are required to monitor for and evaluate goodwill triggering events when they occur throughout the year. The accounting alternative issued Tuesday gives private companies and not-for-profits another option.

The scope of the proposed alternative is limited to goodwill that is tested for impairment in accordance with FASB ASC Subtopic 350-20, Intangibles — Goodwill and Other — Goodwill. The amendments take effect for fiscal years beginning after Dec. 15, 2019.

Early adoption is allowed for interim and annual financial statements that have not yet been issued or made available for issuance as of March 30, 2021. FASB is requiring that an entity should not retroactively adopt these amendments for interim financial statements already issued in the year of adoption.

Ken Tysiac (Kenneth.Tysiac@aicpa-cima.com) is the JofA’s editorial director.

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