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Reporting Intellectual Capital: Four studies on recognition
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis contributes to the reporting of Intellectual Capital (IC) and includes four papers on the recognition and comparability of IC. IC, often called intangibles in the financial reporting discourse, reflects resources which create value in and for organizations. These resources originate out of human knowledge and capacities, which, through their uniqueness, can provide competitive advantages for an organization. As something intangible, IC is a challenge to report as it is not only a matter of reporting value that has been or can be realized but also a matter of reporting the creative processes focusing on present and future value. This challenge is a particular reflection of how and when to recognize IC as something reportable and is intensified if IC needs to be comparable.

The thesis draws on the distinction that is made between mandatory and voluntary reporting when discussing recognition and comparability. Three of the studies relate to firms’ practices of reporting through annual reports. Since these reports contain both mandatory and voluntary sections, reflecting reporting both as a requirement as well as a possibility, different aspects of reported IC is emphasized. Using a wider range of documents, the fourth study relates to the enforcement of the mandatory reporting standards which the firms are required to apply in their reporting.

As the overall finding in the thesis, three categories of recognition of IC are developed which reflect differences related to whether the reporting is mandatory, voluntary or, as this thesis argues, something in between. Reflected through the categories, comparability interrelates differently with recognition. The thesis contributes with the description of IC as a foundation for reporting which makes the matter of recognition of IC in reporting complex. It further highlights that through recognition of IC reporting is continuously expanding wherefore it is not possible to identify an end of an already expanded and demarcated reporting regime. In this expansion, by settling what is mandatory reporting through requested characteristics, voluntary reporting is defined.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala, 2013. , 80 p.
Series
Doctoral thesis / Företagsekonomiska institutionen, Uppsala universitet, ISSN 1103-8454 ; 164
Keyword [en]
comparability, intangibles, Intellectual Capital, mandatory, recognition, reporting, voluntary
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-198246ISBN: 978-91-506-2343-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-198246DiVA: diva2:617915
Public defence
2013-06-13, Ekonomikum, Hörsal 2, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-05-22 Created: 2013-04-10 Last updated: 2013-05-22Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. On the enforceabilityof reporting standards and intangibles
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On the enforceabilityof reporting standards and intangibles
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-198244 (URN)
Available from: 2013-04-16 Created: 2013-04-10 Last updated: 2013-04-16
2. Accounting for intellectual capital:a comparative analysis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Accounting for intellectual capital:a comparative analysis
2009 (English)In: VINE, ISSN 0305-5728, Vol. 39, no 1, 68-79 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

 

Purpose – The aim of this paper is to understand how many and what intangible assets firms from two different contexts disclose in order to comprehend whether an accounting harmonization is actually reached in practice and what are the eventual hurdles to surmount in order to reach it.

Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative and quantitative analysis of the purchase analyses disclosed by the Swedish and Italian listed companies in their financial statements refering to the first year of application of the IFRS3 is conducted.

Findings – The main findings are the following. First, firms do not disclose intangible assets in the same way. Second, contracts become a useful tool to make it possible to account for IC. Third, the disclosure of labels shows a variety. Fourth, differences in behavior are seen.

Research limitations/implications – The main limitation is that only a sample of firms (the listed ones in the SSE and MTA/MTAX) that apply IFRS3 is investigated. The main implication is that the disclosing of IC in financial statements is problematic and makes harmonization difficult to achieve. The empirical deepening of these two conclusions represents opportunities for future researchers.

Originality/value – The research is an investigation of the first year of application of a new accounting principle from an inter-country comparison considering it as an opportunity to disclose more IC and consequently to contribute to the debate about how and what IC should be disclosed.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2009
Keyword
Intellectual capital, Goodwill accounting, Intangible assets
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-131880 (URN)10.1108/03055720910962452 (DOI)
Available from: 2010-10-09 Created: 2010-10-09 Last updated: 2010-10-18Bibliographically approved
3. Defining goodwill: a practice perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Defining goodwill: a practice perspective
2011 (English)In: Journal of Financial Reporting & Accounting, ISSN 1985-2517, E-ISSN 2042-5856, Vol. 9, no 2, 161-175 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify a definition of goodwill related to how companies describe their purchased goodwill. It focuses on whether there is any consistency in how firms define goodwill in practice in the first year of mandatory application of International Financial Reporting Standards 3 (IFRS3).

Design/methodology/approach – The paper builds on an analysis of how companies describe goodwill in purchase analyses related to company acquisitions. The empirical body of this study is represented by the financial statements of Italian and Swedish listed companies.

Findings – The overall finding of this investigation is that, in practice, the concept of goodwill is unclear and therefore there is no reference to one singular definition of goodwill. Moreover, in spite of the idea underlying IFRS3, goodwill still appears to be a "black box", wherefore an accounting inertia is highlighted.

Research limitations/implications – The main limitation of this study is that only a sample of firms (those listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange and the Milan Stock Exchange) that apply IFRS3 is investigated. The main implication of this paper is that it is possible to identify some general classes of descriptions, but these remain vague. Therefore, some accounting policy suggestions are proposed.

Originality/value – First, this paper focuses on a definition communicated by firms, which is different from most other studies, as they tend to focus on a theoretical definition of goodwill. Second, this paper focuses on a goodwill definition in practice, whereas studies of goodwill practice mainly concern impairment testing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2011
Keyword
Accounting standards, Business combination, Financial accounting, Goodwill, Intangible assets, International Financial Reporting Standards, International standards
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-161112 (URN)10.1108/19852511111173112 (DOI)
Available from: 2011-11-07 Created: 2011-11-07 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
4. ‘Is there any potential?’- On disclosing customer relationships
Open this publication in new window or tab >>‘Is there any potential?’- On disclosing customer relationships
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Purpose: In order to understand value creation from IC disclosure, this paper aims to show how firms disclose the link between customer relationships and value creation. It considers the firms accounts of customer relationships as a reflection of potential for the firm.

Design/methodology/approach: The empirical corpus of this paper is the incidences in which ‘customer relationships’ are mentioned in (853) annual reports to get a broad picture of how customer relationships are presented building on an inductive approach to the data collected.

Findings: What emerged from the analysis was that the presentation of customer relationships from a functionalistic perspective can be distinguished into three categories with different aspects of value creation. Further, there is also an interpretation that leads to seeing the disclosure of customer relationships as a legitimacy-building practice that, however, need not contradict a functionalistic view.

Research limitations/implications: The investigation focus on a particular area of IC, i.e. customer relationship, and its relation with value creation. As the approach is inductive, what is a strength is also a weakness as it incorporates more interpretation of the researcher. The findings are based on data from Sweden and any further interpretation of the findings needs to be considered in that context.

Originality/value: The research studies content of IC disclosure with an inductive approach on a large sample allowing a deeper focus on value creation. It further focuses on the disclosure of customer relationships as a particular IC category and considers alternative views on this category.

Keyword
customer relationship, intangibles, intellectual capital, legitimacy, reporting
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-198243 (URN)
Available from: 2013-04-16 Created: 2013-04-10 Last updated: 2013-04-19

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