Value creation and business models: Refocusing the intellectual capital debate

Vivien Beattie*, Sarah Jane Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

234 Citations (Scopus)


There is currently significant debate worldwide regarding business reporting. The concept of the 'business model' has entered into the discourse, as has the concept of 'integrated reporting', adding to the established debate regarding accounting for intangible assets and, more generally, intellectual capital (IC). Despite the tradition of extensive interdisciplinary borrowing in accounting, relevant literatures on business models and on modern managerial perspectives on competitive advantage have, to date, largely been ignored within the accounting literature. The main contribution of this conceptual paper is to identify and discuss the key features of these literature strands and their linkage to contemporary debates on narrative reporting. These conceptual linkages between IC, value creation and business models are illustrated by means of interview evidence from eleven company cases. It is concluded that the business model concept offers a powerful overarching concept within which to refocus the IC debate. The concept is holistic, multi-level, boundary-spanning and dynamic. The analysis supports the current calls for integrated disclosure around the central business model story. Suggestions for future research are offered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-254
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Accounting Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • Business model
  • Business reporting
  • Dynamic capabilities
  • Integrated reporting
  • Intellectual capital
  • Narrative reporting
  • Story
  • Value creation


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