Media Advisory 03-30-21

FASB Provides Alternative to the Goodwill Triggering Event Assessment for Certain Private Companies and Organizations


Norwalk, CT, March 30, 2021—The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) today issued an Accounting Standards Update (ASU) that provides an accounting alternative expected to reduce the complexity for private companies and not-for-profit organizations when performing the goodwill triggering event evaluation.

Under current GAAP, goodwill must be tested for impairment when a triggering event occurs that indicates that it is more likely than not that the fair value of the reporting unit is below its carrying value. Companies and organizations are required to monitor for and evaluate goodwill triggering events when they occur throughout the year.

Some stakeholders raised questions about the value of evaluating a triggering event at an interim date when certain private companies and not-for-profit organizations only issue GAAP-compliant financial statements on an annual basis. They noted the cost and complexity of preparing interim balance sheets and projecting cash flows that, according to those stakeholders, may not be relevant at the annual reporting date when financial statements are issued.

To address this, the ASU provides an accounting alternative that allows private companies and not-for-profit organizations to perform a goodwill triggering event assessment, and any resulting test for goodwill impairment, as of the end of the reporting period, whether the reporting period is an interim or annual period.  It eliminates the requirement for companies and organizations that elect this alternative to perform this assessment during the reporting period, limiting it to the reporting date only.

The scope of the proposed alternative is limited to goodwill that is tested for impairment in accordance with Subtopic 350-20, Intangibles—Goodwill and Other—Goodwill. The amendments in the ASU are effective on a prospective basis for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019. Early adoption is permitted for both interim and annual financial statements that have not yet been issued or made available for issuance as of March 30, 2021. An entity should not retroactively adopt the amendments in this Update for interim financial statements already issued in the year of adoption.

The amendments in the ASU also include an unconditional one-time option for entities to adopt the alternative prospectively after its effective date. No additional disclosures would be required.

The ASU, including effective date information, is available at www.fasb.org.