Friday, 17 April 2015

Should national accounts stick close to business accounts?

My friend and co-author @carolcorrado makes a very valuable point.  
  1. People say that national accounts should stick close to business accounts.  So national accounts should not capitalise intangibles since business accounts don't do so.
  2. But, that's not so clear. When companies merge, and intangible value is realised in e.g. pricing goodwill, that is put on the balance sheet.  So, in fact, the treatment of intangibles in business accounts is inconsistent between merging and non-merging companies.  
  3. Thus to say that national accounts should stick to business accounts could mean capitalising intangibles but equally not capitalising them.