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Intangible Assets on Balance Sheets and Audit Fees

The paper by Gnanakumar Visvanathan studies about the auditors view on the intangible assets recorded on balance sheet of the company. The importance of intangible assets is growing and so is its value on the balance sheet of companies. Intangible assets are more complex to deal for the auditors than tangible assets. Intangible assets have the similar issue as of tangible assets but the difference lies in the future benefits which are much less for intangible assets. Intangible assets do not have a substance that is physical. Their presence is evident in the documents that are legal. Intangible assets are amortized if the life is limited, while they are not amortized if life is indefinite. Auditors have a set method to perform the audits that include verifying the assets existence and also to ensure that the transactions that are done with respect to assets are recorded appropriately and the rights for ownership are established. Since the method of calculation for Intangible assets are complex auditors fees may vary. On this basis hypothesis of research paper has been formed. The first hypothesis states that there is a positive relationship between the fees of auditor and the proportion of intangible assets mentioned on balance sheet. While the other hypothesis states that there is a positive association between proportion of intangible assets and audit fees with respect to high book to market ratio. The results of the hypothesis indicates that high book to market value shows a probability of higher fees of auditors. This is because of the risk that is attached where the assets are overstated. Several other factors may also lead to higher fees of auditor but the valuation concern play a role that is significant for all intangible assets. The result that higher fees is charged for higher intangible assets shows the riskiness of calculation of intangibles. Also, it is applied to all the intangible including goodwill. So, overall paper results are of interest to various investors and regulators and also to the auditors. Auditors can consider their fees as per the valuation of intangible assets and the proportion of intangible assets on the balance sheet. The research can be extended to another researcher for looking at ways to minimize the cost by doing the disclosures that are appropriate in the balance sheet. Overall, the research suggested about the valuation but impairment cost results were robust in the paper. 

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