Goodwill (intellectual capital)

Der Goodwill ist die Differenz zwischen dem gesamten Unternehmenswert (Marktwert) und dem Buchwert des Nettovermögens (also die Aktiva abzüglich der Verbindlichkeiten und Rückstellungen). In der neueren Literatur wird Goodwill als Intellectual capital bezeichnet. Der in der Bilanz eines Unternehmens aufgeführte Buchwert hat an Bedeutung und Aussagekraft verloren. So ist der Marktwert des Unternehmens (ausgegebene Aktien multipliziert mit dem Börsenkurs) zumeist höher als der in den Büchern ersichtliche Substanzwert.
This is explained by so-called intangible assets, which allow the company to generate higher earnings in the future than is evident from the pure intrinsic value. The intellectual property includes, for example, brands, patents, special knowledge of the employees or the quality of the company management.

These assets, financially compensated by the goodwill, are particularly recognizable in the case of company takeovers and the subsequent group consolidation, because the purchase price is usually many times higher than the book value of the company taken over. That part of the purchase price that exceeds the net asset value (book value) is then booked as goodwill on the assets side of the buyer's balance sheet.

Special rules for the treatment of goodwill have been set up in the national accounting regulations, such as the German HGB or the Swiss FER, and in the International Accounting Standards (IAS). A distinction is made between original and derivative goodwill.

The former is based on self-created intangible assets, for example a well-rehearsed workforce or well-meaning residents of a factory, and cannot be activated.
The derivative goodwill, on the other hand, is not produced by the company itself, but acquired for a fee, for example in the form of a product or a company (partially). It already existed outside the company and is compensated by the purchase price that is higher than the intrinsic value of the product, company or part of the company.

Derivativer Goodwill darf maximal zu acquisition cost im Anlagevermögen bilanziert werden und über die geschätzte Nutzungsdauer der immateriellen Vermögenswerte abgeschrieben werden.

In the EU and the USA, a maximum depreciation period of 40 years is permitted. According to AS, goodwill should be amortized over 5 years, but a longer useful life is also possible if justified, but not more than 20 years. When purchasing individual intangible goods, shorter depreciation periods, usually not more than 5 years, are common in practice; however, up to 20 years for company takeovers.

The direct offsetting of goodwill against equity, which has hitherto been customary in the EU, particularly in Great Britain and the Netherlands, has been prohibited in the IAS.

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