Definition of Material – Important changes to IAS 1 and IAS 8

Definition of Material

The Definition of Material (with amendments to IAS 1 and IAS 8) puts the spotlight on:

  • Applying materiality when preparing financial statements, by:

    • Encouriging IFRS reporting specialists to use materiality as a filter
    • Redefining the definition and existing guidance aim to help preparers apply judgement
    • Making amendments on account policy disclosures, and
    • Providing further guidance on disclosures

Materiality as a filter

Making information in financial statements more relevant and less cluttered has been one of the key focus areas for the International Accounting Standards Board (the Board replace by IASB).

Companies make materiality judgements not only when making decisions about recognition and measurement, but also when deciding what information to disclose and how to present it. However, management are often uncertain about how to apply the concept of materiality to disclosure, and find it easier to defer to using the disclosure requirements within the International Financial Reporting Standards as a checklist.

Up to now, the wording of the definition of material in the Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting differed from the wording used in IAS 1 and IAS 8. The existence of more than one definition of material was potentially confusing, leading to questions over whether the definitions had different meanings or should be applied differently.

These amendments on accounting policy disclosures will enable IFRS reporting specialists documenting the decisions as to which accounting policies have been disclosed in the financial statements.
The focus on company-specific information
should further encourage tailored disclosure.

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Allocating goodwill to cash-generating units

Allocating goodwill to cash-generating units

On this page we discuss how to allocate goodwill to CGUs.

Identifying CGUs is a critical step in the impairment review and can have a significant impact on its results. That said, the identification of CGUs requires judgement. The identified CGUs may also change due to changes in an entity’s operations and the way it conducts them.

After the entity identifies its CGUs, it must determine which assets belong to which CGUs, or groups of CGUs. The basis of allocation differs for:

The below diagram summarises the different allocation bases for goodwill:

the different allocation bases for goodwil

It is not possible to determine the recoverable amount of goodwill independently from other assets because goodwill does not generate cash flows of its own; rather it contributes to the cash flows of individual CGUs or multiple CGUs.

As such, goodwill must be allocated to individual CGUs (or groups of CGUs) for the purpose of impairment testing. The guidance in IAS 36 requires the goodwill acquired in a business combination to be allocated to each of the acquirer’s CGUs or groups of CGUs that are expected to benefit from the synergies of the combination. Further, the level to which the goodwill is allocated must:

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