Accounting for R & D costs
The effect of the accounting treatment in reducing reported profits and balance-sheet asset values could impact on R & D investment in several ways. It can be hypothesized that the required accounting treatment of R & D might contribute to the observed low level of R & D investment. One of the general guiding principles which accountants have chosen to adopt requires benefits and costs to be matched as far as possible so that the net benefit of undertaking a particular course of action can be assessed. There appears to have been little empirical research on accounting for R & D costs in the United Kingdom. The results have interesting implications for policy makers. The accounting treatment of R & D does not appear to prejudice the valuation of companies by analysts, though disclosure of amounts spent or capitalized is, based on the comments received from the analysts, likely to be important.