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Writing write-downs : the rhetoric of goodwill impairment

Sandell, Niklas LU and Svensson, Peter LU (2017) In Qualitative Research in Accounting and Management 14(1). p.81-102
Abstract
Purpose
The aim of this paper is to study the rhetoric of goodwill impairment, more specifically rhetoric, as it is constructed in the form of accounts (i.e. statements that explain unanticipated or untoward behavior). The authors argue that goodwill impairment is not only a technical matter but also a rhetorical practice by means of which external scrutiny is responded to.

Design/methodology/approach
The data corpus consists of explanations provided by corporations regarding impairment of goodwill. Data were collected from annual reports from companies quoted on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm, Sweden. The impairment explanations were analyzed according to a taxonomy of account types. The explanations were subjected to close reading... (More)
Purpose
The aim of this paper is to study the rhetoric of goodwill impairment, more specifically rhetoric, as it is constructed in the form of accounts (i.e. statements that explain unanticipated or untoward behavior). The authors argue that goodwill impairment is not only a technical matter but also a rhetorical practice by means of which external scrutiny is responded to.

Design/methodology/approach
The data corpus consists of explanations provided by corporations regarding impairment of goodwill. Data were collected from annual reports from companies quoted on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm, Sweden. The impairment explanations were analyzed according to a taxonomy of account types. The explanations were subjected to close reading to discern the potential rhetorical functions of the different accounts.

Findings
Seven account types are identified and discussed, namely, excuse, justification, refocusing, concession, mystification, silence and wordification.

Research limitations/implications
There is a need for further research that explores the process of authorship (i.e. writing, editing, negotiating and revising) through which the texts of financial communication are produced.

Practical implications
The findings have implications for the future formulations of standards regarding qualitative explanations in financial reporting in general and explanations of goodwill impairment in particular.

Originality/value
The paper contributes to the knowledge about the use of natural language and rhetoric in financial communication. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
financial reporting, rhetoric, goodwill, impairment, accounts, write-downs
in
Qualitative Research in Accounting and Management
volume
14
issue
1
pages
22 pages
external identifiers
  • scopus:85018483061
DOI
10.1108/QRAM-04-2015-0045
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
ba9ae2d2-1a65-4d4b-847d-568868357bce
date added to LUP
2016-08-01 11:12:52
date last changed
2017-05-28 04:51:20
@article{ba9ae2d2-1a65-4d4b-847d-568868357bce,
  abstract     = {Purpose<br/>The aim of this paper is to study the rhetoric of goodwill impairment, more specifically rhetoric, as it is constructed in the form of accounts (i.e. statements that explain unanticipated or untoward behavior). The authors argue that goodwill impairment is not only a technical matter but also a rhetorical practice by means of which external scrutiny is responded to.<br/><br/>Design/methodology/approach<br/>The data corpus consists of explanations provided by corporations regarding impairment of goodwill. Data were collected from annual reports from companies quoted on NASDAQ OMX Stockholm, Sweden. The impairment explanations were analyzed according to a taxonomy of account types. The explanations were subjected to close reading to discern the potential rhetorical functions of the different accounts.<br/><br/>Findings<br/>Seven account types are identified and discussed, namely, excuse, justification, refocusing, concession, mystification, silence and wordification.<br/><br/>Research limitations/implications<br/>There is a need for further research that explores the process of authorship (i.e. writing, editing, negotiating and revising) through which the texts of financial communication are produced.<br/><br/>Practical implications<br/>The findings have implications for the future formulations of standards regarding qualitative explanations in financial reporting in general and explanations of goodwill impairment in particular.<br/><br/>Originality/value<br/>The paper contributes to the knowledge about the use of natural language and rhetoric in financial communication.},
  author       = {Sandell, Niklas and Svensson, Peter},
  keyword      = {financial reporting,rhetoric,goodwill,impairment,accounts,write-downs},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {81--102},
  series       = {Qualitative Research in Accounting and Management},
  title        = {Writing write-downs : the rhetoric of goodwill impairment},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/QRAM-04-2015-0045},
  volume       = {14},
  year         = {2017},
}