A really interesting article here from Professor Adam Leaver of the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute, looking at how goodwill can give companies a specious appearance of strength; as was possibly the case with Carillion. A timely reminder of the importance of annual impairment reviews of goodwill.
"Goodwill therefore no longer needs to be amortised (gradually expensed) on an annual basis and is instead subject to periodic impairment assessments. Goodwill therefore forms a larger part of large firm assets on average than they did before the accounting change. Many firms have levered up against that larger asset base."