Universities and Intangible Assets

Michael D. Moberly   October 19, 2009

University ‘schools of business’ should become (more) involved in elevating awareness and providing  guidance to management teams and boards of SME’s (small, medium enterprizes) and SMM’s (small, medium multinationals) regarding the effective utilization of their ‘intangible assets’.  Such an initiative, would involve, among other things, demonstrating how small businesses can:

1. identify, unravel, and determine/assess each assets’ contributory value.

2. apply near – long term strategies to more fully and effectively utilize – exploit their intangible assets to mitigate challenges to (their) viability, sustainability, and profitability exacerbated by this recession

Underlying a university (school of business) based intangible asset ‘awareness – guidance’ initiative, as proposed here, are multiple, inteconnected rationales (realities), four of which are:

1. significant percentages of U.S. workers have, and will continue to ‘get their start’ through employment with a ‘small business’.  Thus, sustaining those opportunities and those SME’s and SMM’s are economic imperatives for a region, state, and/or community, which universities can take a lead and share.

2. 65+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, sustainability, and foundations for growth, expansion, and future wealth creation today lie in – are directly linked to intangible assets. This economic fact is relevant not only to Fortune 1000 types of firms, rather intangible assets are produced by and become embedded-integrated economic/competitive advantage drivers in most SME’s and SMM’s as well.

3. most SME’s and SMM’s will not be direct recipients of U.S. government ‘economic stimulus’ monies. Instead, many must find their own creative means/devices to sustain their business during this recessionary period and await opportunities to re-access (their) credit lines and loans.

4. a significant, but unknown percentage of SME and SMM management teams and boards lack sufficient familiartity and/or guidance (training) about intangible assets, i.e.,

    a. what intangible assets are, and the different forms/contexts they take…

    b. the necessity to protect-preserve control, use, ownership, and monitor the value of intangibles…

    c. current strategies to bundle, position, leverage, and extract value from intangible assets.

Effective utilization of a company’s intangible assets, is not being portrayed here as the proverbial ‘silver bullet’ for small businesses to suddenly regain their standing, recoup their losses, and re-achieve profitability and sustainability undermined by this recessionary period.  And, to be sure, there are strong and sometimes divergent views held by various professional sectors regarding the utilization, valuation, monetization and securitization of intangible assets.

In this increasingly knowledge-based (business) economy, the effective management, stewardship, and oversight of a company’s intangible assets should not be overlooked or neglected especially as they can be potentially viable and lucrative pathways (strategies) to achieve sustainability and opportunities for growth, expansion, profitability, as well as lay foundations for future wealth creation. 

(Adapted by Michael D. Moberly from the work of Dr. Chris Martin and a 2007 report produced by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)


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