An examination of the value relevance and bias in the accounting treatment of intangible assets in Australia and the US over the period 1994-2003 using the Feltham and Ohlson (1995) framework

Firas Dahmash

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

[Truncated abstract] The primary aim of this study was to examine, and compare, the value relevance and any bias associated with the reporting of intangible assets in Australia and the US over the ten-year period 1994 to 2003. The study adopts a disaggregated form of the Feltham and Ohlson (1995) valuation model and associated linear information models (LIMs) to allow goodwill and identifiable intangible assets to be separately examined using unbalanced panel regression analysis. The results for the Australian sample suggest that the adaptation of the Feltham and Ohlson (1995) valuation model used in this study is particularly useful in examining Australian equity securities. For example, the pooled sample analysis results in an adjusted R2 of 71%, which is consistent with similar US studies by Ahmed, Morton and Schaefer (2000) and Amir, Kirscenheiter and Willard (1997). Further, the results from the disaggregated Feltham and Ohlson (1995) valuation models suggest that the information presented with respect to intangible assets (both goodwill and identifiable intangible assets) under Australian GAAP is value relevant. However, the results from the valuation models also suggest that (for the average Australian company) the market believes goodwill is reported conservatively and identifiable intangible assets aggressively. ... As noted earlier, the increasing importance of intangible assets in the 'new-economy' suggests that (wherever possible having regard to the measurement difficulties) all intangible assets should be recognised in financial statements to maximise the value relevance of those statements. It should be noted, however, that there was some evidence to suggest that certain Australian companies (that is, those not consistently reporting positive abnormal operating earnings) might be reporting goodwill and/or identifiable intangible assets aggressively and this is an area that standard setters might need to carefully consider in future. I trust that the findings presented in this study will prove helpful to both researchers and those involved with formulating international accounting standards in this particularly difficult area of intangible assets. I also hope the results will help to allay any fears regulators (and others) might have that providing managers with accounting discretion will (necessarily) lead to biased reporting practices; based on the findings of this study for the majority of Australian and US companies, any such fears appear unwarranted.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2007

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