The paper seeks to discuss empirically and contrast the hypothesis of the Theory of Intellectual Capital, which maintains that the difference between the market value of a firm and its book value can be explained exclusively in terms of internal, intangible assets that are peculiar to the firm.
The paper takes the form of a conceptual discussion, graphical analysis, basic descriptive statistics and basic correlational statistics.
Not all overvaluation of corporate assets can be explained by intangible assets of an internal nature. A significant portion can be explained by external factors, unrelated to the management of the firm, such as the general economic cycle or the sector of economic activity in which the firm is active. Hence, any economic importance that intellectual capital might hold for business management is bounded.
The research is limited to the upper echelons of the largest US firms according to their ranking and the database of the Fortune 500 magazine. Subsequent phases in the research will attempt to observe other populations of firms.
The purpose of the new accountancy of the firm in the information and knowledge society must not be to balance financial positions with the market valuation of the firm. There are external factors that are beyond management's control. Prudent accounting practices preserve their value. Corporate leadership must focus its action on the internal assets that are open to management, on those that are a source of value creation.
This article reviews, discusses and empirically contrasts a fundamental hypothesis of the Theory of Intellectual Capital and points to a more reasonable path through which to establish the relation between intangible assets and the difference between the market value and the book value of a firm.
Enrique Valladares Soler, L. and Jesús Cuello de Oro Celestino, D. (2007), "Evaluating the scope of IC in firms' value", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 470-493. https://doi.org/10.1108/14691930710774876Download as .RIS
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