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Value relevance and timeliness of transitional goodwill-impairment losses: Evidence from Canada


  • Lapointe-Antunes, Pascale
  • Cormier, Denis
  • Magnan, Michel


Focusing on transitional goodwill-impairment losses (losses) recorded by Canadian firms following the adoption of revised standards on purchased goodwill, we investigate the value relevance and timeliness of mandatory changes in accounting principles accounted for using the retroactive method. We find a negative relationship between reported losses and share price. Such a finding is consistent with investors perceiving losses as being sufficiently reliable measurements of a reduction in the value of goodwill to incorporate them in their valuation assessments. We find also that investors put a higher valuation weight on losses reported by firms that are expected to record a loss. In addition, we show that investors perceive that there are reduced opportunities for managerial discretion when there is a more effective audit committee. Finally, our results show that returns lead losses, i.e., that losses represent a catch-up adjustment to reflect the cumulative effect of using the impairment approach for the first time. Overall, our evidence supports U.S. standard setters' decision, through SFAS 154, to favour enhanced comparability and consistency over the potential costs of frequent restatements. Our results also show that fair-value measurements can be relevant even when the financial statement elements of interest are inherently bound to measurement error and subject to significant managerial discretion. They support the notion that reliability is about faithful representation, not precision.

Suggested Citation

  • Lapointe-Antunes, Pascale & Cormier, Denis & Magnan, Michel, 2009. "Value relevance and timeliness of transitional goodwill-impairment losses: Evidence from Canada," The International Journal of Accounting, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 56-78, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:accoun:v:44:y:2009:i:1:p:56-78

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Anne Beatty & Joseph Weber, 2006. "Accounting Discretion in Fair Value Estimates: An Examination of SFAS 142 Goodwill Impairments," Journal of Accounting Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 257-288, May.
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    8. Barth, Mary E. & Beaver, William H. & Landsman, Wayne R., 2001. "The relevance of the value relevance literature for financial accounting standard setting: another view," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-3), pages 77-104, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Van Hulzen & Laura Alfonso & Georgios Georgakopoulos & Ioannis Sotiropoulos, 2011. "Amortisation Versus Impairment of Goodwill and Accounting Quality," International Journal of Business and Economic Sciences Applied Research (IJBESAR), Eastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of Technology (EMATTECH), Kavala, Greece, vol. 4(3), pages 93-118, December.
    2. Begoña Giner & Francisca Pardo, 2015. "How Ethical are Managers’ Goodwill Impairment Decisions in Spanish-Listed Firms?," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 132(1), pages 21-40, November.
    3. Inès Bouden & Luc Paugam & Olivier Ramond, 2011. "Les déterminants de la dépréciation du goodwill : proposition d'un cadre d'analyse," Post-Print hal-00646810, HAL.
    4. Vassili Joannides & Nicolas Berland & D. T. Wickramasinghe, 2010. "Post-Hofstede diversity/cultural studies: what contributions to accounting knowledge?," Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) hal-00676570, HAL.
    5. Vassili Joannides & Nicolas Berland & Danture Wickramasinghe, 2010. "Post-Hofstede diversity/cultural studies: what contributions to accounting knowledge?," Grenoble Ecole de Management (Post-Print) hal-01661685, HAL.
    6. Mihaela DUMITRASCU & Radu Daniel LOGHIN, 2016. "A Study on the Relevance of the Goodwill Impairment in Context of Audit Partner`s Rotation," The Audit Financiar journal, Chamber of Financial Auditors of Romania, vol. 14(133), pages 1-88, January.


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