What determines the amount of reported goodwill impairment? : An investigation of Nasdaq Stockholm OMX (OMXS)
Abstract: Background: The question on how to account for goodwill has long been a subject that causes big debates among actors within financial accounting. In 2004, the IASB released a new standard, IFRS 3 – Business Combinations, that changed the accounting for goodwill. The interpretation for goodwill impairments according to IAS 36 has led to findings in studies that show patterns of earnings management and that a possible gap exists between the standard setter’s basic aim of IAS 36 and what actually is done by the practitioners. Purpose: Examine what determines the amount of reported goodwill impairment for firms listed on the Nasdaq OMX Stockholm (OMXS). Method: To fulfil the purpose of the thesis, the authors takes a quantitative research approach by a using a multiple linear regression model. The regression model is based on proxies for economic impairment, earnings management and corporate governance mechanisms from previous literature (Stenheim & Madsen, 2016; AbuGhazaleh, Al-Hares, & Roberts, 2011; Riedl, 2004). The data used for the regression model has been collected from published annual reports of 69 firms listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm OMX (OMXS), between the years 20072016. Conclusion: The findings of the thesis show that the accounting behaviour of “Big Bath” is exercised for firms listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm OMX (OMXS). The proxies for economic impairment have, to some extent, an impact on the amount of reported goodwill impairment, but the majority of the proxies for corporate governance mechanisms does not affect the amount of reported goodwill impairment. These findings might suggest that the standard IAS 36, which regulates the accounting for goodwill, may not entirely fulfil its purpose of creating a more transparent financial reporting.
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