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Accounting for intellectual property?

  • Ghafele, Roya

Accounting constitutes a very specific form of language, which is highly standardized, mathematical in nature and seeks to uniformly and systematically describe events while avoiding expressions of individual creativity or explicit political positions. In this sense, accounting is a social, cultural and historical artefact rather than a natural or technical phenomenon and can therefore be viewed as the decisive instrument to create and maintain imagined business communities. On the balance sheet, IP experiences a specific form of authorization. It is represented in the discourse of accounting by ‘intangibles’, an imprecise term associated with the increasingly observed ‘gap between the market and book value’, while current accounting systems are determined by a tangible assets’ based perspective and offer little scope to document how IP relates to business performance. Accounting may thus be seen as a gate keeper of the status quo that poses significant challenges for IP-rich companies, confronted with the challenge to either communicate around the lingua franca of accounting or accept that under current accounting statements they cannot adequately document how IP relates to their business performance.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/37360/1/MPRA_paper_37360.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 37360.

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Date of creation: 10 May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:37360
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  1. Hines, Ruth D., 1988. "Financial accounting: In communicating reality, we construct reality," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 251-261, April.
  2. Macintosh, Norman B. & Shearer, Teri & Thornton, Daniel B. & Welker, Michael, 2000. "Accounting as simulacrum and hyperreality: perspectives on income and capital," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 13-50, January.
  3. Laux, Christian & Leuz, Christian, 2009. "The crisis of fair-value accounting: Making sense of the recent debate," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(6-7), pages 826-834, August.
  4. David B. Audretsch & Erik E. Lehmann, 2004. "Financing High-Tech Growth: The Role of Debt or Equity," Papers on Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy 2004-19, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy Group.
  5. Meer-Kooistra, Jeltje van der & Zijlstra, Siebren M., 2001. "Reporting on intellectual capital," Research Report 01E50, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
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