The Intangible Assets Monitor

ęKarl-Erik Sveiby 1996, 1997, 2001. All rights reserved.

The Intangible Assets Monitor is a method for measuring intangible assets and a presentation format which displays a number of relevant indicators for measuring intangible Assets in a simple fashion. The choice of indicators depends on the company strategy. The format is particularly relevant for companies with large intangible assets, such as Knowledge Organizations. For a more comprehensive discussion about the theory read the article Measuring Intangible Assets - an emerging standard.

The Intangible Assets Monitor can be integrated in the management information system. The Monitor itself should not exceed one page. It should be accompanied by a number of comments. Only a few of the suggested indicators in this chapter should be selected. The most important areas to cover are growth/renewal, efficiency and stability. The purpose is to get a broad picture, so one or two indicators in each category should be designed.

The IAM is a Stock-Flow theory, same as traditional accounting theory. When using the IAM one perceives the three Intangible Assets as "real" assets. We are interested in indicators that indicate change and knowledge flows, i.e. growth, renewal/innovation, efficiency/utilisation and risk/ stability measures. The idea is to get a "peek" into how the intangible asset(s) are developing, by designing indicators that correlate with the growth of the asset in question, its renewal rate, how efficiently we are at utilising it, and the risk of loosing it. 

The IAM's "External Structure" contains customers, suppliers and other "external" stakeholders and one selects the ones that are relevant. In most private companies this will be Customers. Public Sector organisations will use other stakeholders, such as community members and many companies have so valuable alliances with their Suppliers that they must be included too.

The indicators below are suggestions and examples, which must be adjusted to the reality of each company. They do not fit all companies or all circumstances. The Monitor can be used to design a management information system or to make an Audit.

Click on the headings in the table below for descriptions in more detail! I also recommend you to read examples of Monitors from the practice.
I have excluded the Financial indicators from the examples below, since they will not differ from traditional ones.

Intangible Assets

External Structure Indicators

Internal Structure Indicators


Indicators of Growth

Organic Growth.

Indicators of Growth

Investment in IT
Investments in Internal Structure

Indicators of Growth

Competence Index
Number of Years in the Profession.
Level of Education.
Competence Turnover.

Indicators of Renewal/Innovation

Image Enhancing Customers
Sales to new customers

Indicators of Renewal/Innovation

Organisation Enhancing Customers.
Proportion of new products/services
New processes implemented

Indicators of Renewal/Innovation

Competence-Enhancing Customers.
Training and Education Costs.

Indicators of Efficiency/Utilisation

Profitability per Customer.
Sales per Customer.
Win/Loss Index.

Indicators of Efficiency/Utilisation

Proportion of Support Staff

Indicators of Efficiency/Utilisation

Proportion of Professionals.
Leverage Effect.
Value Added per Employee.
Value Added per Professional.
Profit per Employee.
Profit per Professional.

Indicators of Risk/Stability

Satisfied Customers Index.