Push Down Accounting

What is 'Push Down Accounting'

Push down accounting is accounting for mergers and acquisitions, the convention of accounting of the purchase of a subsidiary at the purchase cost rather than its historical cost. This method of accounting is required under U.S. GAAP, but is not accepted in IFRS accounting standards. Since the subsidiary is consolidated into the parent company for financial reporting purposes, push down accounting appears the same on a firm's external financial reporting.

BREAKING DOWN 'Push Down Accounting'

It is sometimes helpful to think of push down accounting is as if a new company were started using borrowed funds. Both the debt, as well as the assets acquired, are recorded as part of the new subsidiary.

From a managerial perspective, keeping the debt on the subsidiary's books helps in judging the profitability of the acquisition. From a tax and reporting perspective, the advantages or disadvantages of push down accounting will depend on the details of the acquisition, as well as the jurisdictions involved.