Graduation Year

Fall 2013

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Marcos Massoud

Rights Information

© 2013 Candace L. Filippelli


This thesis proves that intangible assets are impossible to accurately value because of their inherently complex attributes. Intangibles have always existed in the market, but their presence has nearly quadrupled in the last few decades due to the Information Revolution. This technological breakthrough was characterized by the globalization of knowledge, communication, and trade. This dissemination of knowledge due to the infrastructural changes of both the telecommunication and transportation industries transformed the economy from a ‘product-driven’ market to a ‘knowledge-driven’ market. This surge in intangible assets is significant because it proves that “knowledge-driven” elements are now material to company value. As such, accurate measurement of intangible assets is essential to preserving the reliability of financial statements. Current accounting practices largely ignore the value created by intangible asset and this has serious consequences for investors, firms, and the economy as a whole. Insufficient accounting of intangible assets distorts company value, increases the cost of capital, and compromises the reliability of financial statements. While it is utterly impossible to create accounting standards that will, without fail, accurately measure all intangible assets as well as take into account their lifespans, volatility, increasing economies of scale, partial excludability, and lack of tradability, this thesis proposes a way to help mitigate the disparity between what financial statements recognize and what companies actually generate.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.