|Accounting Principles and Practices
Adoption of New Accounting Standards
Cloud Computing Arrangements
In August 2018, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued new accounting guidance on implementation costs incurred in a cloud computing arrangement that is a service contract. The new guidance aligns capitalization requirements for certain implementation costs incurred in cloud computing arrangements with existing requirements for capitalizing implementation costs for internal-use software. These costs will be deferred over the term of the hosting arrangement, including any optional renewal periods the entity is reasonably certain to exercise. An entity may apply the new guidance on either a prospective or retrospective basis. The new guidance was effective for Aon in the first quarter of 2020 and was adopted on a prospective basis for all implementation costs incurred after the date of initial adoption. The adoption of this guidance had no significant impact on the Financial Statements.
Simplifying the Test for Goodwill Impairment
In January 2017, the FASB issued new accounting guidance on simplifying the test for goodwill impairment. Currently the standard requires an entity to perform a two-step test to determine the amount, if any, of goodwill impairment. In Step 1, an entity compares the fair value of a reporting unit with its carrying amount, including goodwill. If the carrying amount of the reporting unit exceeds its fair value, the entity performs Step 2 and compares the implied fair value of goodwill with the carrying amount of that goodwill for that reporting unit. An impairment charge equal to the amount by which the carrying amount of goodwill for the reporting unit
exceeds the implied fair value of that goodwill is recorded, limited to the amount of goodwill allocated to that reporting unit. The new guidance removes Step 2. An entity will apply a one-step quantitative test and record the amount of goodwill impairment as the excess of a reporting unit’s carrying amount over its fair value, not to exceed the total amount of goodwill allocated to the reporting unit. The new guidance does not amend the optional qualitative assessment of goodwill impairment. The new guidance was effective for Aon in the first quarter of 2020 and was adopted on a prospective basis. The adoption of this guidance had no significant impact on the Financial Statements.
In June 2016, the FASB issued a new accounting standard on the measurement of credit losses on financial instruments. The new standard replaces the current incurred loss impairment methodology with a methodology that reflects expected credit losses and requires consideration of a broader range of reasonable and supportable information to inform credit loss estimates. The Company adopted the new standard as of January 1, 2020 using the modified retrospective approach. Under this approach, prior periods were not restated. Rather, the cumulative effect of initially applying the new standard was recognized as an adjustment to retained earnings. Upon the adoption of this guidance on January 1, 2020, the Company recognized a cumulative adjustment of $6 million to decrease retained earnings.
The Company’s estimate for allowance for credit losses with respect to receivables is based on a combination of factors, including evaluation of forward-looking information, historical write-offs, aging of balances, and other qualitative and quantitative analyses.
Accounting Standards Issued But Not Yet Adopted
Simplifying the Accounting for Income Taxes
In December 2019, the FASB issued new accounting guidance that simplifies the accounting for income taxes by eliminating some exceptions to the general approach in the existing guidance. It also clarifies certain aspects of the existing guidance to promote more consistent application. The new guidance is effective for Aon in the first quarter of 2021, with early adoption permitted. The Company is currently evaluating the impact that the guidance will have on the Financial Statements and the period of adoption.
Changes to the Disclosure Requirements for Defined Benefit Plans
In August 2018, the FASB issued new accounting guidance related to the disclosure requirements for employers that sponsor defined benefit pension and other postretirement benefit plans. The guidance requires sponsors of these plans to provide additional disclosures, including weighted average interest rates used in the entity’s cash balance pension plans and a narrative description of reasons for any significant gains or losses impacting the benefit obligation for the period, and eliminates certain previous disclosure requirements. The new guidance is effective for Aon in the first quarter of 2021, with early adoption permitted and will be applied retrospectively. The Company is currently evaluating the impact that the guidance will have on the Financial Statements and the period of adoption.
Securities and Exchange Commission Final Rules
Financial Disclosures about Guarantors
In March 2020, the SEC passed changes to the disclosure requirements in Rules 3-10 and 3-16 of Regulation S-X to better align those requirements with the needs of investors and to simplify and streamline the disclosure obligations of registrants. The amendments are effective January 4, 2021, with early adoption permitted. The Company is currently evaluating the impact that the guidance will have on the Financial Statements and the period of adoption.