Course Outline
Join PRO

What is an intangible asset?

Harold Averkamp, CPA, MBA

Definition of Intangible Asset

An intangible asset is an asset that you cannot touch, since it lacks physical substance. Accountants record intangible assets at their cost when they are acquired. Some intangible assets have a limited life and are amortized to expense over that life.

Other intangible assets have an unlimited life and are not amortized. However, their reported cost is reviewed annually. If there is an impairment loss, the amount on the balance sheet is reduced and the loss is reported on the income statement.

Intangible assets can be some of the company’s most valuable assets. However, if they were developed by the company (as opposed to purchased from another company), there may be no amount to report on the balance sheet.

Examples of Intangible Assets

Intangible assets include the following and more:

  • Copyrights
  • Patents
  • Mailing lists
  • Franchises
  • Trademarks, brand names, logos, etc.
  • Domain names
  • Goodwill

Often the market value of a company’s intangible assets is far greater than the market value of the company’s tangible assets such as its buildings and equipment. (Think logos, trademarks, and brand names of Coca-Cola, Nike, Apple, etc.)

Join PRO to Track Progress
Must-Watch Video

Advance Your Accounting and Bookkeeping Career

  • Perform better at your job
  • Get hired for a new position
  • Understand your small business
  • Pass your accounting class
Watch the Video

Join PRO or PRO Plus and Get Lifetime Access to Our Premium Materials

Read all 2,645 reviews



PRO Plus

Lifetime Access (One-Time Fee)
Word Scrambles
Bookkeeping Video Training
Financial Statements Video Training
Visual Tutorials
Quick Tests
Quick Tests with Coaching
Cheat Sheets
Business Forms
All PDF Files
Progress Tracking
Earn Badges and Points
Certificate - Debits and Credits
Certificate - Adjusting Entries
Certificate - Financial Statements
Certificate - Balance Sheet
Certificate - Income Statement
Certificate - Cash Flow Statement
Certificate - Working Capital
Certificate - Financial Ratios
Certificate - Bank Reconciliation
Certificate - Payroll Accounting

About the Author

Harold Averkamp

For the past 52 years, Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has
worked as an accounting supervisor, manager, consultant, university instructor, and innovator in teaching accounting online. He is the sole author of all the materials on

Learn More About Harold

Certificates of

Certificates of Achievement

We now offer 10 Certificates of Achievement for Introductory Accounting and Bookkeeping:

  • Debits and Credits
  • Adjusting Entries
  • Financial Statements
  • Balance Sheet
  • Income Statement
  • Cash Flow Statement
  • Working Capital and Liquidity
  • Financial Ratios
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Payroll Accounting
Badges and Points
  • Work towards and earn 30 badges
  • Earn points as you work towards completing our course
View PRO Plus Features
Course Outline
Take the Tour Join Pro Upgrade to Pro Plus