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e-Disclosures and the trail of electronic footprints

The title is not a detective novel for techies and lawyers, but an issue which every business manager needs to be aware. Never before has there been such a trail of written and voice communications to evidence the fact, or intention, of an organisation or person entering into contracts and commitments, some of which may be unintended or unauthorised.

Today 60 billion e-mails are sent every day, and that figure is increasing by the day! Although half of these are unwanted spam, the rest are a cocktail of formal, informal, serious and humorous writings, all sent for different reasons and different motives. In a business context, those e-mails, and all the other electronic records that form part of business activity, are a permanent record of events. Read the rest of this entry »

Human capital and valuing workforces

In the age of the knowledge economy, the competition for talent exists in both new and old economy business sectors. Today human capital in the forms of the talents, skills and knowledge of the workforce is being recognised as having a capital value in a very tangible way. A trained and assembled workforce is an integral part of the revenue stream of a business, and so is an important asset class in its own right.
There have been numerous court cases (particularly in the US) confirming that the workforce can be properly identified as having a separate measurable value. But how can a work-force be valued as an asset?
It is a fundamental principle of valuation theory that the value of any asset or liability is the present value of future economic benefits or losses that can be anticipated to accrue to the owner of that asset or liability. Read the rest of this entry »

Raising funding for intangible assets

The biggest challenge for knowledge based businesses is raising funding for intangible assets

The infamous ‘equity gap’, where an investment opportunity is too small for institutional and corporate investors but which can appeal to business angels, is no more obvious than for knowledge based businesses who have an innovative product or service and who need to raise finance. How many times has UK plc been the place of invention, only for an overseas company to turn it into a mass market product and to reap the rewards of commercial exploitation? Read the rest of this entry »