FASB Issues Tentative Decision on Goodwill Accounting

December 20, 2000 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has tentatively decided that acquisition-related goodwill recorded on corporate balance sheets should no longer be amortized, opting for an amortized expense approach.

FASB notes that under that approach, goodwill would be written down and expensed against earnings, only in those periods where the value of the goodwill recorded exceeds its fair value.

The change would be effective for acquisitions completed prior to the date the Board issues its final statement on business combinations.

The Board also decided to put out for public comment its tentative decisions regarding an impairment-only approach to accounting for goodwill, announced on December 6. A revised limited Exposure Draft will be released in the first quarter of 2001 for a 30-day comment period.

Beginning in January of 2001, the Board will take up the issue of retaining the pooling-of-interests method of accounting for business combinations and related issues. A final statement is expected on that issue and the accounting for goodwill and other purchased intangible assets in the second quarter of 2001.

Details on each of the tentative decisions are available on the FASB Web site ( www.fasb.org) .