Intangible Asset

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An intangible asset is an identifiable non-monetary asset without physical substance (IFRS, IAS 38). Intangible assets cannot be physically seen or touched.

Examples of intangible assets:

  • computer software;
  • patents;
  • copyrights;
  • motion picture films;
  • brand recognition;
  • customer lists;
  • mortgage servicing rights;
  • licenses;
  • franchises;
  • customer and supplier relationships;
  • marketing rights;
  • goodwill.

Intangible fixed assets are shown separately on the balance sheet (statement of financial position) from tangible fixed assets. While goodwill is technically an intangible asset, according to the IFRS it is listed as a separate item on a company's statement of financial position. As a distinct type of intangible asset, goodwill typically comes into play only in an acquisition, and represents the amount of money a company has paid or would pay over the fair value of the net assets to acquire another company.

Intangible assets are the part of non-current assets. An intangible asset shall be measured initially at cost (IFRS, IAS 38). 

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