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IASB amends definition of business in IFRS Standard on business combinations

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has today issued narrow-scope amendments to IFRS 3 Business Combinations to improve the definition of a business. The amendments will help companies determine whether an acquisition made is of a business or a group of assets.   

The amended definition emphasises that the output of a business is to provide goods and services to customers, whereas the previous definition focused on returns in the form of dividends, lower costs or other economic benefits to investors and others. In addition to amending the wording of the definition, the IASB has provided supplementary guidance.

Distinguishing between a business and a group of assets is important because an acquirer recognises goodwill only when acquiring a business.

The amendments arose from a post-implementation review (PIR) of IFRS 3, an assessment carried out to determine whether an IFRS Standard works as intended. Following feedback from the PIR, the IASB is also working on another project linked to IFRS 3 in which it is exploring possible improvements to the accounting for goodwill.

Companies are required to apply the amended definition of a business to acquisitions that occur on or after 1 January 2020. Earlier application is permitted.

The IASB’s Press Release can be accessed at www.ifrs.org.

22 October 2018