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The relevance of intangible assets in German SMEs

Susanne Durst (Institute of Entrepreneuership, Hochschule Liechtenstein, Vaduz, Principality of Liechtenstein)

Journal of Intellectual Capital

ISSN: 1469-1930

Article publication date: 25 July 2008




The purpose of this paper is to study the perceptions of the advisors and valuers of German associations regarding the relevance of intangible assets in general, and for the purpose of company succession in particular.


To perform this study German associations were examined, which play an essential role in company succession in Germany, from both sides of the process. Conducting a web‐survey, 51 answers were received (response‐rate = 42.5 per cent) which could be used for the analyses.


Amongst others, the study showed that intangible assets are of a moderate relevance. However, a large proportion of respondents expect intangible assets to be of greater relevance in the future. The study highlighted that intangibles do have a great impact on the decision‐making process of an investor.

Research limitations/implications

The total population of German Association is 135. The author received answers from 51 associations, which did not fulfil the statistical size to conduct advanced statistical methods. The specific relationship of German associations with small‐ to medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) is rather unique compared to similar institutions around the world, therefore, the results may not be replicable in other countries.

Practical implications

The results of this study will help practitioners as well as academics to better understand the relevance of intangible assets in SMEs.


This paper is pioneering in the analysis of the influence of intangible assets in German SMEs for the purpose of company succession.



Durst, S. (2008), "The relevance of intangible assets in German SMEs", Journal of Intellectual Capital, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 410-432.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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