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Recent Developments in Intellectual Capital Reporting and their Policy Implications

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  • W. Richard Frederick
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    This paper provides a survey of recent developments in the reporting of intangible assets. It finds that rather than the wholesale restructuring of the accounting model that was proposed years ago, the trend has been to address gaps in reporting with new forms of reporting. New forms of reporting appear better suited to capture the type of information that users of intangibles data seek. Financial reporting standards continue to change both at the national and the international level with the result that they are better able to capture some types of intangibles data. Even so, some areas such as human capital remain difficult to reflect in traditional financial statements. Users interested in human capital information are much better served by reports that are tailored to their needs, and by reporting techniques that take into account the specificities of human capital. On the policy front, companies are receiving considerable encouragement to provide more information on the intangible drivers of corporate performance than ever before. In Europe, part of the impetus has been the Accounts Modernisation Directive, which requires an “enhanced director’s report” that can include a discussion of human capital to the extent that directors feel that it is important for a full understanding of the business and its performance. La présente étude s’attache aux évolutions récemment observées dans la diffusion d’informations sur les actifs incorporels. Selon les conclusions de cette étude, plutôt que de procéder à la restructuration globale du modèle comptable proposée il y a plusieurs années, la tendance a plutôt consisté à combler les lacunes en matière de publication d’informations à l’aide de nouvelles formes de diffusion. Ces nouvelles formes apparaissent en effet mieux adaptées pour appréhender le genre de renseignements que recherchent les utilisateurs de données relatives aux actifs incorporels. Les normes de publication d’informations financières continuent à évoluer, au plan national comme international et de ce fait, elles sont aujourd’hui mieux à même de saisir certaines catégories de données incorporelles. Cela étant, même dans ces conditions, il reste difficile de refléter dans les états financiers traditionnels certains domaines tels que le capital humain par exemple. Les utilisateurs intéressés par des informations sur le capital humain trouvent davantage ce qu’ils recherchent dans des rapports conçus en fonction de leurs besoins et à l’aide techniques de publication d’informations prenant en compte les spécificités du capital humain.

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    Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Education Working Papers with number 17.

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    Date of creation: 19 Jan 2009
    Handle: RePEc:oec:eduaab:17-en
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