Recently, we enjoyed a wonderful article titled “Buyers Beware: The Goodwill Games,” by Scott Thurm who discussed an interesting rubric by which to evaluate goodwill’s value: the ratio of a company’s goodwill to the total entity’s market value. Thurm seems to suggest that companies whose goodwill exceeds market capitalization may be prime candidates for future write-downs. Very interesting indeed, especially as goodwill is such a queer asset (see Goodwill Games).
As you may recall, we previously discussed problems in government pension accounting (see “California Budget Woes and Chimerical Pension Beliefs: GASB Could Help if it Had the Will”). In this essay we turn our attention to corporate pension accounting, pension expense specifically, using Weyerhaeuser disclosures as an example.
Monday September 10 Groupon named a new Chief Accounting Officer, Brian Stevens, formerly a partner with KPMG. The question, of course, is whether this move is enough to save face with the investment community, after the many fiascos we have discussed, such as our “Still Accounting Challenged” and “First 10-K.”
Ever since Enron and WorldCom entered the social discourse ten years ago, much has been written and discussed about business ethics, and this of course includes how to teach ethics to accountants. And quite frankly, the plethora of on-line ethics courses makes our skin crawl! And unfortunately, much of this ethics training has been targeted to accounting students. All too often it can best be characterized as vague, foundationless, uninspiring, and inconsequential.