Monthly Archives: June 2018

Which intangibles should private firms report following a merger?

Category : Blog , sccm


2018 is expected to be a hot year for mergers and acquisitions. But accounting for these transactions under U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) can be complicated, especially if the deal involves intangible assets. Fortunately, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) offers a reporting alternative for private companies that simplifies accounting for new business combinations, avoiding a lot of red tape.

Private performance metrics

Companies that merge with or acquire another business must identify and recognize — separately from goodwill — the fair value of intangible assets that are separable or arise from contractual or other legal rights. Valuing intangibles can be costly, subjective and complex, often requiring the use of third-party appraisers and increasing audit costs.

When it comes to private business combinations, however, investors, lenders and other stakeholders question whether the benefits of reporting the values of all of these intangibles outweigh the costs. Private company stakeholders are primarily interested in tangible assets, cash flows, and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). Such metrics are unrelated to how companies report intangible assets in M&As.

Moreover, buyers in private business combinations generally evaluate a for-sale business based on its expected earnings and cash flows. They don’t customarily assign specific values to all of the seller’s intangible assets, especially not those that can’t be sold or licensed independently.

Exception to the rules

Since 2015, the FASB has allowed private companies to elect an accounting alternative that exempts noncompetes and certain customer-related intangibles from being identified and reported separately on the balance sheet after a business combination. This guidance requires no new disclosures for companies that elect this alternative accounting treatment.

Private companies that elect this alternative report fewer intangible assets in business combinations, thereby simplifying accounting for intangibles on the acquisition date and amortization in future periods. But the alternative doesn’t eliminate the requirement under GAAP to recognize and separately value other intangible assets acquired in business combinations, such as trade names and patents.

In addition, private companies with noncompetes and other customer-related intangibles that were acquired before the adoption of the alternative must continue to amortize those intangibles over the expected life that was set when the business combination occurred.
Although the reporting alternative simplifies matters, private companies will in most cases continue to need third-party appraisals for other separable and contract-based intangibles. Outside appraisals can be costly, but auditors typically won’t rely on fair value estimates made by management for these items.

Get it right

Accounting for business combinations can be complicated. And mistakes can lead to restatements and write-offs in future periods that may alarm stakeholders. We can help take the guesswork out of postacquisition accounting, including deciding whether to elect private company reporting alternatives and allocating the purchase price among acquired assets and liabilities. Contact us for more information.

© 2018


How will the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affect state income taxes?

Category : Blog , sccm





State legislatures have been busy formulating responses to changes brought by the TCJA. Many have already passed conformity statutes. Others have issued preliminary reports to clarify for the public how the TCJA impacts their state income taxes, including changes to standard and itemized deductions, personal exemptions and more. Still other states have enacted laws to decouple from specific changes. For example, the state of Nebraska has reinstated the personal exemption eliminated by the TCJA.


Tax Benefit

Category : Blog , sccm





Taxpayers who itemize deductions on their tax returns may get a tax benefit by donating money and items to qualified organizations, if they can prove the donations. In one case, the IRS denied some of the charitable deductions claimed by an aerospace engineer and his consultant wife due to inadequate proof, and the U.S. Tax Court agreed. The couple donated money to their church, but instead of receipts, they submitted calendar entries with few details. They also donated household items but failed to adequately address the condition of the items. (TC Memo 2018-75)


Auditing related-party transactions

Category : Blog , sccm


Business owners generally prefer to work with entities they know and trust. But related-party transactions can provide opportunities for individuals to act in a manner that’s inconsistent with the interests of shareholders. That’s why auditors take pains to identify and properly address related-party transactions.

What is a related party?

Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) Topic 850 defines a related-party transaction as one that takes place between:

  • A parent entity and its subsidiaries,
  • Subsidiaries of a common parent,
  • An entity and trusts for the benefit of its employees, such as pension and profit-sharing trusts that are managed by or under the trusteeship of the entity’s management,
  • An entity and its principal owners and managers (or members of their immediate families), and
  • Affiliated entities.

What’s the risk?

Related-party transactions sometimes involve contracts for goods or services that are priced at less (or more) favorable terms than those in similar arm’s length transactions between unrelated third parties. For example, a spinoff business might lease office space from its parent company at below-market rates. Or a closely held manufacturer might pay the owner’s son an above-market salary and various perks that aren’t available to unrelated employees.

How do auditors address these transactions?

Given the potential for double dealing with related parties, auditors spend significant time hunting for undisclosed related-party transactions. Examples of documents and data sources that can help uncover these transactions are:

  • A list of the company’s current related parties and associated transactions,
  • Minutes from board of directors’ meetings, particularly when the board discusses significant business transactions,
  • Disclosures from board members and senior executives regarding their ownership of other entities, participation on additional boards and previous employment history,
  • Bank statements, especially transactions involving intercompany wires, automated clearing house (ACH) transfers, and check payments, and
  • Press releases announcing significant business transactions with related parties.

Audit procedures that target related-party transactions include 1) testing how related-party transactions are identified and coded in the company’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, 2) interviewing accounting personnel responsible for reporting related-party transactions in the company’s financial statements, and 3) analyzing presentation of related-party transactions in financial statements.

Accurate, complete reporting of these transactions requires robust internal controls. A company’s vendor approval process should provide guidelines to help accounting personnel determine whether a supplier qualifies as a related party and mark it accordingly in the ERP system. Without the right mechanisms in place, a company may inadvertently omit a disclosure about a related-party transaction.

Get it right

Undisclosed related-party transactions can raise a red flag to lenders and investors — and may even require a business to restate its financial results. Our auditors are committed to finding, disclosing and reporting these transactions in a transparent manner that complies with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Contact us for help.

© 2018


Congressional Budget Office Updates Health Insurance

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An updated Congressional Budget Office report on federal subsidies for health insurance coverage is available. The report considers the elimination of individual shared responsibility payments and cost-sharing reduction payments. It projects that net federal subsidies for insured people under 65 will total approximately $685 billion in 2018 and reach $1.2 trillion in 2028. The total cost of federal subsidies is projected to be offset to a small extent, $313 billion over the 2019-2028 period, by taxes and penalties. See the report here: https://bit.ly/2IIPtEL