Good will - what is it really worth?

24 Aug 2009
Honours student Paul Kelly has taken out the top spot at UQ Business School's Research Colloquium with his research into the new goodwill accounting standard. Mr Kelly was awarded Best Abstract by an Honours Student for presenting his work so far in analysing the implications of international financial reporting standards (IFRS) on assessing the economic value of acquired goodwill. "Essentially, I'm researching whether the new goodwill accounting standard provides a more accurate measure of goodwill in company's financial statements than the previous accounting standards in this area," he said. "I believe that the new standard leads to greater accuracy because the IFRS methodology provides a stronger link to the underlying economics-- profits, valuable assets, and related competencies-- of the acquired company." Mr Kelly said his research was based on archival study, feeding past financial statement information into a model devised through theoretical research into a variety of fields including accounting, finance, and management. "I hope my research provides a better understanding of how goodwill is measured in financial statements. Goodwill has always been a 'grey' area in accounting research, and existing literature has been critical of the new goodwill standard. However, my research takes the perspective that the new standard actually improves the accuracy of recorded goodwill," he said. "This research should provide further insight on this issue and has significance for various stakeholders. In particular, it should assist investors in assessing whether to invest in firms that have recently paid above fair value for acquisitions, and for accounting standard setters, it should provide evidence on whether IFRS is working and being implemented correctly by accounting practitioners." Mr Kelly said his presentation at the Colloquium outlined his research goal, existing related research, theoretical framework, hypotheses and research methodology. "From this proposal and the helpful feedback I received at the colloquium, I'll refine my research proposal, collect data and write up my honours thesis. My research couldn't have got to where it is without the valuable resources the UQ Business School has dedicated to the Commerce Honours program," he said. Mr Kelly is no stranger to presenting high-quality work, having been placed on the BEL Faculty Dean's Honour Roll in 2008 for his excellence in his Bachelor of Business Management and Bachelor of Commerce degrees, and already has further plans for his research. "Future paths for my research potentially include getting it published with the assistance of the UQ Business School's thesis publication scheme. Additionally, my employment from next year in a Big Four financial accounting division will also allow me to refine this research, and could provide the basis to publish my research in industry journals and 'Best Practice' guide books published by Big Four accounting firms," he said.