Organizations within the public- and the private sector have different aims with their accounting. Privately held organizations often have the intention to make profit, while authorities within the public sector aim to provide citizens with different services.
The difference between these two sectors is also visible in the legislation, where International Accounting Standards Board set the standards for privately held organizations and Ekonomistyrningsverket do the same for the public sector. Because of the larger demand by the society for knowledge and technology, included in the category intangible assets, these are more emphasized in the accounting for organizations.
Intangible assets are although linked with complexity which is associated with the measurement. The purpose of this study is therefore to see whether there are any existing differences in how to measure and value intangible assets and internally generated ones between listed companies in the private sector and authorities operating in the public sector.
This study is conducted with both a qualitative and quantitative perspective. The data collected for this study is secondary, and is gathered through samples of annual reports from different companies in order to be representative for the whole population. The main results of this study is that there are differences in the measurement and valuation of intangible assets dependent on which sector an organization operates within and this is not due to the standards and regulations.
The differences are visible in the percentage change in value of intangible assets since they fluctuate more heavily in the private sector than in the public sector. Simultaneously, the proportions of internally generated intangible assets compared to intangible assets in general differ between the two sectors.
Source: Jönköping University
Authors: Andersson, Josefin | Johansson, Beatrice