Within the wide theme of financial evaluations, this conceptual study carefully scrutinises the past accounting literature on goodwill-related topics. It retains a constructive and historical method, which enables a better development of an individual construal and analysis. In this sense, it opens up new avenues within the Italian accounting tradition, which might also be considered as blazing a trail for modern accounting standards. Therefore, it studies the main trends, which theoretically proved to be a prodromal period for preparing the current financial statements pervaded by the fair value logic. It reviews the historical studies on goodwill in detail, it focusses on how Italian academic literature defined and measured goodwill through the years and it makes a few suggestions for historical International studies. The analysis proves how in almost all of the Italian and international accounting literature there is a deliberate intention to define the goodwill concept, to limit the boundaries for its recognition and to regularly control its value through ad hoc evaluation practices. Since the first definitions, there are a few common features that might be organised according to the schools that influenced the ideas of the authors.
Silvia Ferramosca, Ph.D., CPA, is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics and Management at the University of Pisa. Her research interests include financial and nonfinancial reporting, intellectual capital, accounting history, internal and external auditing, family business, and corporate governance. She has published recent studies on these topics in various journals, including the Family Business Review, the Journal of Intellectual Capital, the Journal of Family Business Strategy, the Journal of Management and Governance.