Wednesday, December 13, 2000

The race for intangibles

The day accountants calculate intangibles accurately, investors will give them a standing ovation.
Gautam Chikermane
"May I speak to Mr Gautam"
Yes, this is Gautam.
"I read your article No future in accounts. It was the worst article I’ve ever read! It shows our profession in bad light. Besides, there are many things that are untrue, inaccurate and written with vested interests in mind."
Vested interest? He had my attention. I’m used to angry calls from readers, but never has anyone accused Intelligent Investor of harbouring vested interests. Who’s?
THIS READER, an accountant with one of India’s leading firms, went on like this for some time. Meanwhile, I was bombarded with similar sentiments on e-mail and through letters (To read a representative sample of these responses, follow this link). The article was written to illustrate how accountants, who are best placed to work out the value of intangibles in a business (intellectual capital, brands, franchisees, and so on), are the least concerned about valuing it, and warned them that if they continued their innovation-free practice, they would become redundant. For lack of space I had omitted an important point: that Indian minds are among the best in the world and I have full confidence that if intangibles have to be valued, an Indian has a great chance of doing it. Wake up, my accountant-countrymen, put your minds to this global problem, and help the rest of us calculate wealth more efficiently.
Opinion in Outlook Money

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