Representing intellectual property in LivePlan Follow

If you've spent money on research and development to create a new product, it's tempting to want to represent that intellectual property in your forecast as an asset. Product development expenses like these, however, are actually expenses rather than assets. It's true that the product you're developing has value - and likely very significant value - to your company. But that value can only be realized, in financial terms, by selling the product. Expenses like these do reduce your taxable income, so although they don't seem to look as good on your balance sheet as an asset might, they improve your actual cash flow.

For your forecast, you'll want to account for the actual expenses you've incurred from consultants, researchers, developers, and so on. These are part of your operating expenses, and can be represented in the LivePlan forecast with Expense entries.

Then, to realize the monetary value of your product, you'd forecast its sales with one or more revenue streams.

The one exception to this rule is any legal fees you may incur in establishing that intellectual property as yours - such as copyright or patent filings. U.S. tax code requires that these legal expenses be capitalized as assets (which allows them to be amortized over time). We recommend checking this topic with your own tax professional before building your forecast, especially if you are outside the U.S.

Note: for a real-world story of what can happen when intellectual property isn't correctly accounted for in a business, see this article from our founder Tim Berry: True Story: Missing Assets Equal to a Year's Sales
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