Simple question, if a companies balance sheet shows it has intangible assets of 30,000, does this mean that the company has earned $30,000 by selling lets say software licenses, or the value of that software is 30,000?

1 Answer 1


Intangible assets are trademark, copyrights, patents and goodwill or reputation. You find those in the annual report of the company.

Some companies are involved in takeovers mainly because of their intangible assets: examples are mining rights and claims for a ressource company, patents on drugs for pharmaceutical companies.

The answer to your question is hence that the value of intangible assets is 30000$. It includes software licences but also reputation of the company. It does not involve money received physically.

Consult this report by KPMG an accounting firm on the subject of intangible assets.

  • 2
    This answer is potentially misleading to those less familiar with financial statements / accounting: the value of the intangible assets listed on the balance sheet means the accounting value, often called book value / book basis. The fair value in the real world could be any number. For example: if I create a company, and spend a month creating a patentable idea, I might put a month's worth of costs on the balance sheet as "Intangible Assets". However, the idea could be worth millions - and that would never show up on my balance sheet (but it would on Apple's when they buy me). Jun 22, 2016 at 18:49

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