Is Goodwill a Financial Asset?

Is Goodwill a Financial Asset?

Goodwill can come from a variety of sources. Goodwill may arise if the buyer pays more for a business than the value of its identifiable net assets or sometimes because of favorable terms to the seller. In accounting, Goodwill often refers to intangible factors unrelated to specific physical or financial resources in a company’s balance sheet. Goodwill differs from tangible assets, such as buildings and equipment. That distinction is crucial because it can be challenging to determine the value of Goodwill after a company goes through an acquisition or sale. Unfortunately, determining the value of Goodwill is not always straightforward and can be one of the most challenging tasks in financial accounting. Here we will discuss Goodwill and why Goodwill is a subjective concept recognized as an intangible asset.


Goodwill is the amount by which a buyer pays more than the fair value of a business. When a company attracts a higher offer than its net assets, it has intangible assets known as Goodwill. Goodwill is not always tangible and may be incorporated into another intangible asset known as equity. The difference between the acquisition price paid by the buyer and the net assets sold to the buyer corresponds to Goodwill. If a company does not have identifiable net assets, it has no goodwill.

Is Goodwill a Financial Asset?

Factors Determining Goodwill

The value of Goodwill is a subjective judgment. The buyer may form their opinion of the fair price and how much Goodwill was purchased. In the United States, some companies measure Goodwill using a “value-added” model based on estimates of profits that could be made by improving future operations. Other companies use the LIFO method, which discounts liabilities expected to be incurred for the next few years at a lower risk rate.

Management of Goodwill

Goodwill is a balance sheet item and must be listed separately from the company’s other assets. Managers should be careful to monitor the accounting of Goodwill because its value may change rapidly. If a company acquires, its analysts will regularly update Goodwill’s value. This will help the managers decide if they want to pay more for other companies available in the market.

Identification of Goodwill

Identifying the amount of Goodwill is critical to measuring the value of a company that has been acquired or sold. The first step is to estimate the fair value of the identifiable net assets of the business sold by dividing its book value by its estimated fair market value, which means paying full consideration for them. This may require considerable collaboration with outside experts such as lawyers, accountants, and appraisers. If there are no identifiable net assets, then no goodwill will be recognized.

Recording of Goodwill

Goodwill is a balance sheet asset recorded on the company’s financial statements by generally accepted accounting principles. Goodwill’s balance sheet presentation and calculation should be consistent with how other assets are accounted for. Accrual accounting requires an enterprise to record transactions that contribute to the value rather than those that reduce it.

Standards for Recognition

It is essential to follow specific standards to ensure the goodwill amount is accurately recorded. The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) dictates that Goodwill must be recorded on the balance sheet at its fair market value, meaning what it could be traded for in an open market. FASB also requires companies to state their intentions regarding the impairment of Goodwill they record.

Disclosures of Goodwill

Accounting standards require companies to disclose Goodwill, but not it’s reasoning. If the company has no goodwill, it should be noted on the balance sheet as if there was none. This is because Goodwill is recognized on the financial statements of a company. The updated balance sheet will reflect any changes in this amount.

Disposal of Goodwill

Goodwill can only be disposed of when no longer applicable to the entity, usually through liquidation or sale. General guidelines should account for these disposals, and proper disclosure must be included. While there is no need to disclose every disposal of an asset that is unnecessary to a business as long as it is not material, Goodwill may be disclosed in its entirety if desired.

Reconciliation of Goodwill

Reconciliation is a crucial component of goodwill accounting. An entity should be able to reconcile its beginning and ending balance sheets and their related statements. The only way to do this is to identify the movement between the two. When entering this information into an income statement, an entity should be able to articulate why it has occurred.

Is Goodwill a Financial Asset?


Goodwill is a subjective concept of estimating a company’s future operations, which cannot be measured objectively. In determining Goodwill, it is essential to identify the fair value of what a company has acquired in an open market. Managers should monitor the balance sheet presentation and calculation of Goodwill for accuracy.

Categories: Finance