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Goodwill and its Importance to the Business

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What exactly does the term “goodwill” mean when it comes to buying or selling a business? Usually, the term “goodwill” is a reference to all the effort that an individual(s) puts into a business over the years that he or she has operated that business. In a sense, goodwill is the difference between an array of intangible, but important, assets and the total purchase price of the business. It is important not to underestimate the value of goodwill as it relates to both the long-term and short-term success of any given business.

According to Wikipedia, goodwill in accounting is an intangible asset that arises when a buyer acquires an existing business. The goodwill amounts to the excess of the “purchase consideration” (the money paid to purchase the asset or business) over the total value of the assets and liabilities.

An intangible asset can be thought of as an asset that is carried on the balance sheet, which may include a company’s reputation or a recognized name in the market. If a company is purchased for more than its book value, then the odds are excellent that goodwill has played a role.

Goodwill most definitely contrasts and should not be confused with “going concern value.” Going concern value is usually defined as the fact that a business will continue to operate in a fashion that is consistent with its original intended purpose instead of failing and closing down.

Examples of goodwill can be quite varied. Listed below are some of the more common and interesting examples:

  • A strong reputation
  • Name recognition
  • A good location
  • Proprietary designs
  • Trademarks
  • Copyrights
  • Trade secrets
  • Specialized know-how
  • Existing contracts
  • Skilled employees
  • Customized advertising materials
  • Technologically advanced equipment
  • Custom-built factory
  • Specialized tooling
  • A loyal customer base
  • Mailing list
  • Supplier list
  • Royalty agreements

In short, goodwill in the business realm isn’t exactly easy to define. The simple fact is that goodwill can, and usually does, encompass a wide and diverse array of factors. There are, however, many other important elements to consider when evaluating and considering goodwill. For example, appraisal standards require that companies which have intangible assets, including goodwill, be valued by an outside expert on an annual basis. Essentially, a business owner simply cannot claim anything under the sun as an intangible asset in a purchase price allocation setting.

How can American Business Appraisers Help?

Our experienced staff recognizes and quantifies a business’ intangible asset (goodwill) value. Every individual situation is different and not everyone requires our certified appraisal services and sometimes just talking with one of our appraisers is all that may be necessary. With our initial consultation, there is no cost or obligation to you. We promise you two things; first, to invest a reasonable amount of time to gain an understanding of your specific requirements, and second, our communication will be kept confidential.

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