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1. Financial reporting - research and development.

The phases of a project generally include:

(1) Research.
(2) Development.
(3) Commercial production or use of the new or improved items in the market.

For the purposes of financial reporting, development is the application of research findings or other knowledge to a plan or design for the production of new or substantially improved materials, devices, products, processes, systems or services before the start of commercial production or use.

Financial reporting standards generally require development costs to be capitalised only after technical and commercial feasibility of the asset for sale or use have been established. This means that the entity must (1) intend and be able to complete the intangible asset and either use it or sell it and (2) be able to demonstrate how the asset will generate future economic benefits.

On the other hand, all research costs are expensed.

Relevant accounting standards include IAS 38 and Section 18 of FRS 102.

2. Information technology (IT).

Design and implementation of IT solutions, generally including writing the related software code.

For example, end user development.

3. International relations - sustainability.

In the context of international relations, development often relates to a particular country or region and includes increasing:

  • Per capita income;
  • Participation in the international financial system; and
  • Diversification of export goods.

4. Real estate.

Real estate development means increasing the value of land and buildings by making improvements or putting up new or replacement buildings.

The block of land and improved - or completed - buildings is also sometimes known as a development.

5. Learning and development.

Enhancing personal skills and behaviours, especially through practice and the application of learning.

6. Business development.

Systematic work to increase business revenues sustainably over time.


More broadly, any significant change, or the activities that bring about the significant change.

See also