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IOSCO calls on IASB and FASB to collaborate on goodwill accounting

  • IOSCO (International Organization of Securities Commissions) (dark gray) Image

26 Feb 2021

The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) has released a statement urging the International Accouting Standards Board (IASB) and the US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) to collaborate closely with each other on accounting for goodwill.

Both, IASB and FASB are currently working on goodwill projects, but some of their ideas seem to be diverging.

In July 2019, the FASB issued an invitation to comment Identifiable Intangible Assets and Subsequent Accounting for Goodwill, which noted that the FASB is considering whether to change the subsequent accounting for goodwill for cost-benefit reasons. In December 2020, during the deliberation of the responses, the FASB tentatively decided to reintroduce amortisation of goodwill (please see the decision summary on the FASB website).

The IASB has also been discussing restoring amortisation of goodwill. In December 2017, the Board decided tentatively not to reintroduce amortisation and to focus on improving the impairment model instead. Consequently, the discussion paper DP/2020/1 Business Combinations — Disclosures, Goodwill and Impairment published in March 2020 notes: "The Board reached a preliminary view that it should retain an impairment-only approach." The IASB has not started deliberations on the feedback received yet.

The IOSCO statement now notes:

We observe that when the requirements under U.S. GAAP are as aligned as possible with those under IFRS on accounting for goodwill, there is greater comparability in financial statements prepared under IFRS and U.S. GAAP. In our experience, the likelihood of achieving a converged outcome is greatly enhanced when the two Boards work collaboratively, including similar timelines with their respective projects. We believe that maintaining and enhancing convergence in this area should continue to be an important consideration for the IASB and FASB.

The IOSCO has consistently supported the objective of a single set of high-quality accounting standards that are consistently and rigorously applied and notes that this view is also shared by the leaders of G20 and other international organisations. Most recently, the IOSCO noted in its comment letter on the IASB discussion paper (submitted in December 2020):

The G20 leaders have emphasized the importance of achieving a single set of high-quality global accounting standards that are consistently and rigorously applied. We believe the argument by the G20 is still relevant for this issue and therefore we call on the IASB and the FASB to increase their efforts to achieve convergence.

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