That leaves some pretty valuable assets unlisted on a company’s financial statements. Reputation, or "goodwill," is one such oft-omitted asset. And yet, our reputation is precious.
Volkswagen lied about the emissions coming from their diesel engines. They were busted, and so far the bill - as expressed solely in fines and legal judgements - is over $25 billion.
And now Kobe Steel, previously a Japanese icon for high quality metals used in aircraft and the like, has admitted its quality reports were faked. What this moral lapse will cost the company in yen is anybody's guess.
No matter the size of the checks these companies will write to pay penance for their sins, the true costs may never be measured.
While the value of goodwill cannot be found on a balance sheet, the tarnishing of these iconic companies' reputations will no doubt make an ugly showing on their income statements.