I find that goodwill write-offs under Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 142 (SFAS 142) are associated with future expected cash flows as mandated by the standard. However, there are indications that goodwill write-offs lag behind the economic impairment of goodwill. Additional analysis reveals that the association between goodwill write-offs and future cash flows is insignificant for firms with contemporaneous restructuring. I hypothesize that this finding is due to agency-based motives. Finally, I examine a sample of non-impairment firms in which there are indications that goodwill is impaired. I fail to find convincing evidence that these firms are opportunistically avoiding impairments.
- Accounting conservatism
- Fair value accounting