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Remaining useful life of customer relationships : Valuation in accordance with IFRS 3

by Wengbrand, Frida; Eriksson, Sofia

Abstract (Summary)
Background – In the year of 2000 the European Commission adopted a communication called EU Financial Reporting Strategy: the Way Forward. The communication intended to make all listed companies within the EU arrange their financial statements in accordance with International Accounting Standards by 2005 at the latest. When the amendments of IFRS 3 was introduced in March 2004 it meant that companies from that moment on, when acquiring another company, have to allocate the part of the purchase price assignable to customer contracts and the related customer relationships as an intangible asset.Problem discussion – IFRS 3 does not give any guidance whatsoever on how to accomplish the above described allocation and estimate a true and fair value of customer contracts and relationships. Let alone any direction regarding the establishment of the remaining useful life of the customer relationships and contracts, which constitutes the foundation of the fair valuation but also a true and fair view regarding amortizations.Purpose – The purpose of this thesis is to examine how the establishments regarding remaining useful life of customer relationships and contracts have been done. Furthermore, the purpose of this thesis is to explain the decision process and motives that results in why management choose to apply the specific remaining useful life of customer relationships and contracts they do.Method – This study has been carried out with a qualitative approach involving two listed group companies within three different industries, hence, six companies are involved in this thesis. Semi-structured telephone interviews have been made with the companies and the annual reports have been examined. In order to explain the actions behind the valuation and establishment process, the positive accounting theory has been used.Conclusion – None of the six companies taking part in this study have applied an outspoken method for the establishment of the remaining useful life of the customer relationships and contracts and only half of the companies have identified different customer groups. A relation can be identified between using an external consultant and applying different remaining lives for different customer groups. All companies amortize the customer relationships and contracts on a straight-line basis. This can be explained by the positive accounting theory to some extent. All companies applied straight-line amortization even though some of them actually admit that a declining balance would provide a fairer view. Furthermore, long amortization plans are used in some companies in order to decrease the amortization costs and hence increase the net income. Positive accounting has been applied in order to shift reported earnings.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Högskolan i Jönköping

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:accounting

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/18/2007

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