The Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management publishes original articles on topics relevant to studying, implementing, measuring and managing knowledge management and intellectual capital.

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Journal Article

Alternative Accounting to Manage Intellectual Capital  pp7-18

György Boda, Peter Szlávik

© Mar 2007 Volume 5 Issue 1, ECKM 2006, Editor: Charles Despres, pp1 - 130

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The connection of intangible assets to cash flow generation is a major management issue. In addition, a majority of the investment is made in the intangible capital items. This paper intends to present an approach that supports the continuous measurement of intangible assets and allows an extended value based management framework that considers both tangible and intangible elements. The value of a company includes significant elements that are not described by the generally accepted accounting methods such as relationship capital, organizational capital, and knowledge and competence of employees. These elements are possible to be presented in an expanded balance sheet. We face challenges when we try to quantify the elements for a concrete date or when we intend to capture the exact changes throughout a certain period. Based on generally accepted accounting standards, the investment into intellectual assets is mostly handled as cost. This cost is accountable against the revenue of the period therefore decreasing the period's profit. This approach does not allow the carrying forward of any cost element for future periods, even in the case of a long term cost. If we reconsider our cost management framework and the costs that serve the development or replacement of intellectual capital items we manage as capital expenditures in intellectual capital items and not as a period's expense, we could build up a ground‑up approach to the handling of intellectual capital items. This approach results in the compilation of two balance sheets and profit & loss accounts that are alternative versions of each other. The visualization of intellectual assets and intellectual capital might significantly change the decision making process and the general thinking of the management. The authors suggest further research in order to support the development of the conceptual framework and the operational rules of practice.


Keywords: intellectual capital value based management measurement alternative accounting intangible balanced sheet


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