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The effect of SFAS 142 on the ability of goodwill to predict future cash flows

Cheol Lee

Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, 2011, vol. 30, issue 3, 236-255

Abstract: This study examines the effect of Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 142 (SFAS 142) on the ability of goodwill to predict future cash flows. SFAS 142 allows substantial managerial discretion and leads to a significant magnitude of economic impact on financial statements, resulting in critical debates over the consequence of its adoption. I find that the ability of goodwill to predict future cash flows has improved since the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) adopted SFAS 142. Furthermore, sub-sample analyses fail to reveal compelling evidence that reporting discretion induced by SFAS 142 is used opportunistically or informatively, contrasting with the pervasive view based on the opportunistic reporting hypothesis. Overall, contrary to the position of critics of SFAS 142, the results support the view taken by the FASB and proponents of SFAS 142: eliminating systematic amortization and adopting fair value estimates improve representational faithfulness of goodwill reporting.

Date: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:eee:jappol:v:30:y:2011:i:3:p:236-255