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The collapse of Enron and the role of intellectual capital

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The collapse of Enron was almost entirely unexpected and shockingly rapid. While the major cause of this and other mega meltdowns has been determined to be financial manipulation and questionable accounting practices, the fall of these organizations has also raised questions about whether, and to what extent, their intellectual capital/intangible asset intensive business models contributed to their failure. This paper examines three core issues affecting the role of intellectual capital that have been highlighted by Enron's business failure: the linked issues of the effect of moving from a more traditional trading model to an intangible intensive trading model and the requirements for a viable intellectual capital/intangibles business model; changes in the accounting framework to ensure the integrity of an intellectual capital/intangibles-based organization; and the implications of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) mandated changes in measuring and managing for goodwill and intangibles
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Keywords: Financial Accounting Standards Board; Goodwill; Intangible Assets; Intellectual Capital

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 30 April 2003

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