Accounting for Intellectual Property?
On the balance sheet IP experiences a specific form of authorization. Life is brought to IP by providing a system of stable semiotic orders and discursive selectivity that serve a specific reproduction of complex socio-economic orders. IP is represented in the discourse of accounting by ‘intangibles’, an imprecise term associated with the increasingly observed ‘gap between the market and book value’. For a discourse analyst the phrase ‘closing the gap between the market and the book value’ in and by itself reveals that current accounting systems are to a large extent 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, which are 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.