Accounting for Intangibles and the Theories of the Firm

Giuseppe Marzo

University of Ferrara - Department of Economics and Management

August 5, 2011

This paper elaborates on the fundamental role that a theory of the firm can play in order to develop a clear and consistent proposal on accounting for and reporting on intangibles.

Departing from some criticisms addressed against IAS/IFRS and SFAS, the paper analyses how intangibles could be consistently accounted for and reported on within four different theories of the firm, namely the Agency Theory, the Transaction Cost Economics, the Resource-Based View, and the Dynamic-Capabilities View of the firm.

The paper focuses on some specific problems related to the definition and identification of intangibles, to their recognition and finally to their valuation and measurement, and offers a critical understanding of the different proposal on accounting for intangibles developed within the five theories of the firm.

So doing, the paper helps to better understand some critical issues, such as the different importance of internally generated intangible asset, their fair-value versus cost-based valuation, and the relative importance of balance sheet and income statement.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 20

Keywords: accounting theory, intangibles, intangible assets, theory of the firm

JEL Classification: D22, D80, M41, M2

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Date posted: September 14, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Marzo, Giuseppe, Accounting for Intangibles and the Theories of the Firm (August 5, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1926641 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1926641

Contact Information

Giuseppe Marzo (Contact Author)
University of Ferrara - Department of Economics and Management ( email )
Via Voltapaletto, 11
Ferrara, 44100
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