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Big Numbers at Stake in Long-Running Goodwill Accounting Debate

Sept. 23, 2021, 8:27 PM

Goodwill—the noncash asset companies record when they buy other businesses—represents 42% of the book value of companies in the S&P 500 and its size can’t be ignored in the long-running debate on how to account for it, according to a major investor group.

“This is a big, big number and the discussion should not be had solely in the context of accounting theory,” Sandy Peters, head of financial reporting policy at the CFA Institute said during a Thursday webcast.

The Financial Accounting Standards Board is considering allowing companies to amortize, or write down in steady chunks over time, the ...