Managing Intangible Assets is a Top Issue for Senior Executives, Accenture Survey Finds

Survey Also Finds Current Systems Ill-Equipped to Manage Intangibles

NEW YORK; Jan. 29, 2004 – Half of senior executives believe that managing intangible assets is one of the top three management issues facing their companies today, according to a global survey released today by Accenture.

As part of the survey, senior executives from companies around the world were asked to share their views on the value they place on the management of strategic assets, both tangible and intangible. Ninety-four percent of the 120 respondents said that managing intangible assets and/or intellectual capital is an important management issue; with 37 percent of respondents saying it was one of the top three issues and 13 percent saying it is the most important issue.

In addition, more than nine out of 10 (96 percent) of the executives said that managing intangible assets and/or intellectual capital is important to the success of high-performing companies. In fact, more than one-third (36 percent) said that the skillful management of intangible assets is "synonymous" with outstanding corporate performance.

Further, nearly half (49 percent) of the respondents said they consider intangibles to be the primary source of long-term shareholder wealth creation for their companies.

Despite this, 95 percent of executives surveyed said they do not have a robust system in place to measure the performance of intangible assets, and 33 percent said they have no such system in place at all. In addition, nearly half (48 percent) said that the stock market rewards companies that invest in intangible assets.

"While businesses used to generate future growth through tangible assets like buildings and equipment, in today’s services-based economy more businesses generate future value based on intangible assets such as intellectual property, corporate and brand integrity, customer loyalty, skilled workforce and leadership capabilities," said John Ballow, a partner in Accenture’s Strategy & Business Architecture practice.

"Yet our survey results show that while there’s been a big shift toward intangible assets, most companies primarily measure only tangible assets. By implementing systems to measure intangibles, there’s a great opportunity for leading companies to enhance their business performance and create additional value," said Ballow.

About the survey
From July to September 2003, the Economist Intelligence Unit conducted an online survey on behalf of Accenture to gauge the views of senior executives at companies around the world on the management of tangible and intangible strategic assets. One hundred and twenty executives, mostly C-suite executives and board members, participated in the survey. Half the respondents were from the United States and United Kingdom, with the remainder from 25 other countries in North and South America, continental Europe and Asia Pacific. Together the respondents represented more than 50 industries, including financial services, professional services, telecommunications, software, computer services, consumer goods, retail, electronics, electrical equipment, healthcare, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.

About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills, and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With approximately 86,000 people in 48 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$11.8 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2003. Its home page is


Lisa Gordon-Miller

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