The work focus on the comprehensive presentation of accounting for software according to HGB, US- GAAP and IFRS. In order to identify and weigh the problems of software accounting, a basic understanding of the nature and nature of software and its various manifestations is a prerequisite. For this reason, the second chapter highlights the special features of software in technical and accounting terms. The analysis of the accounting treatment of software according to HGB, US-GAAP and IFRS is
reserved for chapters four, five and six. The analysis of the abstract and concrete activation ability of software is supplemented by comments on valuation and revenue recognition.

Here a comparison of the concepts of Anglo-American and continental European accounting principles for software accounting takes place. Based on the various purposes of accounting according to HGB, US-GAAP and IFRS, the advantages and disadvantages of the respective concepts are examined. The work is completed in the eighth chapter with a theses summary. In addition to the differences in content, the internationalization of financial reporting in Germany also entails numerous English technical terms and proper names, which are often only inaccurately translatable into German. These English technical terms are named in each case and identified by italic type if they have not already been used in the German vernacular.

Characteristics of software in technical and accounting-relevant respects Software is characterized by a multiplicity of manifestations and other peculiarities that may influence the balance sheet presentation.

The item under investigation is differentiated by its various manifestations and differentiated from other assets. The technical variants of software categorized under the outline point form the basis for the following remarks on the accounting of software. Definition and nature of software The economic use of electronic data processing systems began after the end of the Second World War and has continued to increase ever since. In the early days of computer development, the software was an integral part of all delivered computer systems.

Only over time did the software industry emerge as its own business sector, developing and marketing its products independently of hardware manufacturers. Entry into the software market was easy at the time of creation, as no high investment was required. Many of the major software manufacturers have emerged in the proverbial “garage”. Today we differentiate the hardware and component industry on the one hand and the software publishers and service providers on the other. The term “software” initially covers a very wide range and accordingly has numerous manifestations: software can be used in mobile telephones, automobiles, production systems, etc. In this work, only software in the narrower sense or PC software is created, which is created for data processing on a PC.

PC software includes all the programs that are used to have a computer system execute commands in the manner desired by the user.

These include control, application, monitoring and translation programs. The term software also includes associated documentation and operating instructions as well as data collections.

Demarcation of hardware and software For computer-aided processing of information and data, the hardware and software components are required. Hardware includes the technical equipment on which
the desired operations are performed. The generic term hardware summarizes all physical units that make up a data processing system. This includes all electronic and mechanical functional units or everything that is “wired”. The core element of a PC is the processor (CPU), which carries out the necessary calculations and whose performance decisively depends on the processing speed of the computer system. In addition to the processor, especially memory modules and the hard disk are essential components of the hardware. Peripherals such as printers, scanners, monitors, etc. are also
subsumed under the term hardware.

The task of the software is to control and coordinate the different elements of the hardware. This is done in the form of command sequences, which are each referred to as a program. The variety of existing computer programs is summarized under the generic term software. In contrast to hardware, software is not physically present, but rather the “ideal, intellectual part” of a computer system. The variety of manifestations of software is referred to in the context of a negative demarcation as the amount of those components of a computer system that is not hardware, but is needed to operate the hardware. In addition to the components hardware and software, the so- called firmware, which proceeds from microprogramming and is integrated into the hardware in the form of a read-only memory (ROM), is to be considered in this connection. This is a special type of program that is firmly installed on a chip and its nature does not allow a clear assignment to hardware or software. Since firmware (also “software in the housing”) must be regarded as an independent part of the acquired hardware, however, an allocation to the hardware is appropriate on a regular basis. The firmware is a typical example that certain functions can be adopted both by software and by hardware.


This shows that a selective demarcation of hardware and software is often not possible. Technically, hardware and software are complementary elements of a data processing system. This also applies to the demand for computer systems and their technical development. For example, only a powerful central computer enables the development of complex software. Conversely, expensive software promotes the demand for high-performance hardware. While hardware development costs were much
higher than software costs at the beginning of the development of electronic data processing, the ratio has been reversed over time. This is due to price reductions associated with hardware miniaturization and higher quality requirements , Reliability and maintenance of software.