Audit of goodwill

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Claus Træholt Bak
4. term, Business Economics and Auditing, Master (Master Programme)
This dissertation has been drawn up as my final thesis on the Cand.merc.aud study at Aalborg Uni-versity. The project is based on the assumed issue that it is not possible for an auditor to perform an adequate audit of goodwill, which means that the readers of the fiscal report won’t necessarily be able to rely on the valuation stated in the report.
In order to parse whether the issue is relevant, I first draw up three hypotheses. Through the first hypothesis i seek to prove that goodwill constitutes a more significant post in the fiscal report after the prevalence of IT Companies. With the second hypothesis I seek to prove that impairment of goodwill is suitable for earnings management and with the third hypothesis I seek to prove, that there are business managers, who are willing to use that. through the examination of the hypothe-sis, I was able to verify all three of them, although I had limited data for the first hypothesis, which meant, that I was only able to verify this with limited certainty.
The examination of the projects main issue led me to review the audit procedures, which the ac-countant can use when auditing the impairment of goodwill. This led me to the conclusion, that the audit evidence will not supply the auditor with sufficient proof to verify the valuation with af high degree of certainty. However, according to ISA 540, the target when auditing estimates, such as goodwill, is only to obtain proof that the accounting estimates are reasonable, which means that the audit evidence is adequate to fulfill the required purpose of the audit. Therefore, the audit evidence is adequate to fulfill the requirements of the international accounting standards.
In addition to this, I concluded, that the accountant, like the business managers, have incentive to either perform inadequate audit or even ignore signs of earnings management, since their role as the public trust representative is combined with their role, as business managers.
Publication date31 May 2021
Number of pages80
ID: 413371057