FASB Clarifies the Definition of a Business

January 2017

The US Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) has issued Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2017-01, Business Combinations (Topic 805): Clarifying the Definition of a Business.

The definition of a business affects many areas of accounting, including acquisitions, disposals, goodwill, and consolidation. The amendments are intended to help companies and other organisations evaluate whether they should account for transactions as acquisitions (or disposals) of businesses or as assets that do not constitue a business. The FASB intends the guidance to promote consistency, reduce the costs of application and make the definition of a business more operable.

For public companies, the amendments are effective for annual periods beginning after 15 December 2017, including interim periods within those periods. For all other companies and organisations, the amendments are effective for annual periods beginning after 15 December 2018, and interim periods within annual periods beginning after 15 December 2019.

The FASB has also issued a FASB In Focus overview of the clarifying guidance, which is available on this link

ASU 2017-01 is available on this link

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