A Simple Guide to Fixed Asset Registers

A Simple Guide to Fixed Asset Registers

Whether you are just starting out as a business or you have been around for decades- you should be tracking your fixed assets in one way or another. That could mean using paper records, excel, or an automated software solution- but having some sort of fixed asset register is pretty much essential.

At the very least, you need to account for whatever assets you have for tax purposes. Auditing this every year is not only time consuming, it is often inaccurate and means that it will be difficult to keep on top of what is going on with hired or owned assets in real-time.


Why Use a Fixed Asset Register

Before we look at the how, let’s pin down the why! This isn’t an exhaustive list, but should give you a fair insight into the benefits of using a fixed asset register.

Tax Compliance                                                                                                                  

This is perhaps the most obvious and immediately practical reason to track assets. You need to know what you own, and how much assets have depreciated, doing this without asset tracking is extremely laborious and inaccurate!                                                                                    

Respond quickly to problems                                                                                               

You need to trust your assets to run your operation. If mistakes occur, you get a knock-on effect, which negatively impacts profits. This effect can snowball over time and as you grow.  

Protect Profit Margins                                                                                                           

Asset tracking can help you protect profit margins. A reduction in margins can be insidious, as revenue might be up and even profits. However, reducing margins can mean that you are not operating optimally. The basic reason is that systems that once worked are no longer adequate.

Increase the Security of Assets                                                                                       

Asset tracking, when done right, is an effective deterrent for thieves. Asset tracking can also give you recourse when something does go missing. Iif the worst happens, the loss can be effectively investigated. With manual tracking, this is tricky- almost impossible- but at the very least, you should have a decent idea of what assets you should have! With a full software solution, you can protect your investment and guarantee you are maximising the value of your assets.  

Risk reduction                                                                                                                               

Profits and profit margins are at risk as you grow. IT inventory management reduces this risk by alerting leakage issues before they escalate into leaks. By tracking, you can automate the management of your IT assets, which means you avoid additional management costs as you grow.


Types of Fixed Asset Register

There’s a few credible ways of going about asset tracking. The truth is, everyone is asset tracking in some way, really it’s about how well you are tracking assets. Here’s a few ways that you can go about it. Of course, within each of these methods systems and processes can be set up to personalise your asset tracking.


Paper

It’s easier to start a digitally savvy business than to transform paper records. However, if you have a very small operation then paper records might make sense.  For organisations that have been around for a long time, the job of uploading all the data to a new set of software solutions can be onerous to the point of futility!

It’s fair to say that using paper files to track your assets is not the most modern method. It would be unusual to start a business that relies solely on paper records. If you are looking to move from a paper system and you have a lot of data on paper, then one of the challenges you will have is transferring the data over. On the flip side, you will be surprised at the benefits you will get overnight through visibility of data and admin reduction.

Paper - Fixed Asset Registers


Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets are an obvious choice for a lot of businesses. You are probably already using excel to good effect elsewhere, so why not as a fixed asset register?

Well, it’s pretty easy to set up a basic asset with a spreadsheet. It’s just rows and columns. An asset per row and columns for each of the information types you want to capture. Stuff like: date of purchase, normal location, value, maintenance dates, insurance information or similar. There is no need to invest in software, and you have a total blank canvas to set up your own manual system. A lot of office workers have at least a basic understanding of how spreadsheets work, so it should be simple enough (in theory) for multiple people to use the tool.

One of the issues with spreadsheets is that everything is manual. Setting up any sort of automation is advanced and extremely limited. What does that mean? It means that you are totally reliant on data entry for all asset tracking. As you grow, this can become a mammoth task that becomes increasingly effective, and encourages users to track less often and less thoroughly.

That’s not to look down on organisations that are using spreadsheets for asset tracking! It makes sense for a lot of companies to do so, particularly if they are just starting out or have a small network of assets. Limiting expenditure when you are getting going or when you only have a few assets is a good idea. Investing in a software solution can feel like too much too soon. Having said that spreadsheets are seldom the best route in the long-term.


Software Solutions

Unlike spreadsheets or other manual tracking methods, asset tracking software is specialised. That means you don’t need to worry about creating systems and processes to support your asset tracking. Software has been developed in real-life scenarios, so you can feel certain that you are working with processes that offer maximum efficiency.

The other powerful benefit available to those managing their fixed asset register with a software solution, is automation. 

Software - Fixed Asset Registers


What Assets Should You Store?

There is no limit on what you can track, but you may find it too admin heavy to track smaller assets if you are using manual tracking methods. However, what is a false economy when you are using a manual system, becomes a benefit when using a software solution. That’s because you can easily add even low value items, which have an accumulative value and are much more likely to go missing!

Of course, what you will store will depend on the industry you are in.The lists below show some common assets that are tracked in a couple of different industries.


Education

  • Textbooks
  • SmartBoards
  • E-readers
  • Student desks
  • Tablets
  • Laptops
  • Office chairs
  • Cafeteria equipment 
  • Bathroom supplies 
  • Printers 
  • Standing desks
  • Projectors
  • Lab equipment
  • First aid items 


IT

  • Modems
  • Headsets
  • VoIP Phones
  • Desktop PCs
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Routers
  • Servers
  • Network Switches
  • Printers
  • Monitors


Other Examples

Almost every industry can benefit from asset tracking. From construction to antiques. Almost any tool, piece of equipment, machine or vehicle can be tracked- and this has a tremendous value for your business when done right.


What Information Should You Store?

Of course, this depends on your industry and your business. The location of an asset is a fairly universally desirable data point. However, the more manual the tracking system, the less effective location tracking is. So, other than location information, what info should you store?
  • Value
  • Insurance info
  • Warranty info
  • Supplier
  • Owner
  • Maintenance schedules
  • Users
  • State of repair


How to Create an Automated Fixed Asset Register

Record Assets – You may already have a record of your fixed assets in a spreadsheet or on paper. If so, you will need to upload this into a central database. If you don’t, that’s fine, but it’s going to take you a little longer to get your new database up to scratch, as you will need to individually add all your fixed assets to your fixed asset tracking software. Useful features such as cloning and templates streamline this individual upload process if required. However, if you have an existing fixed asset registry, an import service may also be possible.

Add Relevant Information – Next up, you need to assign information so that you can maximise the value of your asset and protect your investment.

The information you add gives you control and insight into your fixed assets- giving you access to feature such as 

Tagging- This step is only really available if you are using an asset tracking software. Tagging means adding a physical ‘tag’ to an item so that information can be updated automatically in your fixed asset register. For example, with a manually scanned QR tag or a RFID tag which can send a location update when the asset passes a fixed point. 

Tagging is surprisingly cost-effective, and means that you have true and total control over your assets.

Automated - Fixed Asset Registers
Monitor Your Assets – This seems obvious, but it is worth expanding on this a little. The main benefit you can get with monitoring your assets beyond what we have discussed, is that you can upkeep and maintain your assets.Well-maintained properties not only have a positive impact on your financial outcomes, but this also has health and safety implications. 

An accessible and effective plan for keeping your equipment in good condition can ensure the safety of your employees and the validity of your insurance!

With a state-of-the-art device management system, you can quickly implement compliance with maintenance schemes that ensure the integrity of your functions. You can make this visible to everyone in your organisation and expand the responsibility for taking care of your equipment.

Understanding the state of all tools and equipment is more about making sure you have everything you need to be able to do what you do, to the standard your customers expect. It also means that you can anticipate failures before they occur. This means you reduce costs and avoid sudden, unexpected repair costs.

Not only that, but you can reduce the impact of depreciation.


Use itemit for you Fixed Asset Register

Itemit is a cloud-based, user-friendly software designed to be onboarded with minimal interference to your operation. The item is distinguished by an easy-to-understand user interface. 

With itemit you can use an unrivalled, in-depth concept with an intuitive interface. Gain full control of your fixed assets quickly and with the least problems. Talk to an asset management expert at team@itemit.com to learn how asset management can help secure the future of your business. Or, if you’re ready to experience the value of asset management software for yourself, you can sign up for a 14-day trial without obligation.

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