Qwest faces $22bn accounting write-off

The rule says that companies must carry out regular reviews of the goodwill – representing the company’s intangible assets such as market reputation and brand name – on their balance sheets and adjust accordingly.

Similarly, Stern Stewart believes long-distance carrier WorldCom may have to reduce the goodwill on its balance sheet by $37bn.

Earlier this month, Qwest along with collapsed telecom giant Global Crossing, admitted it had been contacted by chief US financial watchdog, the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Qwest was asked to provide the SEC with documents relating to its dealings with Global Crossing, which is under a probe by the regulator.

Both companies, audited by Andersen, said at the time they would cooperate with the financial regulator.

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