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write-off goodwill immediately against shareholders' equity rather than against net income. 12/

The lASe has indicated that it intends to require goodwill to be

recognized as an asset and written-off against income over a period of

generally

not

more

than

five

years. n/

Thus,

the

proposed

lASe

standard would be tougher than the existing U.S. standard with respect

to the amortization period, but it also would prohibit the practice of

writing off goodwill directly against shareholders' equity. Regardless of

what one thinks of the arguments for either type of accounting

treatment, there are substantial benefits simply to settling on one

standard that applies to all companies and thereby leveling out at least

one bump on the business playing field.

III.

OBSTACLES TO ACHIEVING HARMONIZATION

If the benefits of international accounting harmonization are clear,

why has it been more talked about than realized? Why has deed lagged

so far behind hope?

One factor often cited in the past as an obstacle to achieving

harmonization is the differing purposes for which accounting principles

have been developed in different countries. Since those purposes differ,

12/ .s.uhL at 594. 13/ lASe, supra note 7, at 17.

8

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