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A fixed assets register is a record of all of the assets held by a business that are meant to be used for business purposes and not sold off for profit. Such a record is required by law in the United States for taxation purposes. Keeping a fixed assets register includes collecting detailed information on all of the fixed assets in a company's possession. Examples of fixed assets include the machinery and equipment used to produce products and the land and premises on which business is being done.
Throughout the course of its existence, a company must purchase different items that allow it to conduct business. These items are the property of the business and are separate from the goods and services that the company sells to its customers. Also known as fixed assets, these items must be tracked at all times, not just to be compliant with tax laws, but so the company can know the costs attached to all of its assets. As this is the case, a thorough fixed assets register is crucial to the operations of any business.
The most obvious component of any fixed assets register is a detailed list of all the items that qualify as fixed assets. These assets cannot easily be sold for cash, nor are they intended for that purpose. For example, a piece of machinery used in the making of a specific product would be a concrete example of a fixed asset. Fixed assets may also include less concrete items like copyrights or patents, because these items have a value all their own.
Valuing the assets within a company's possession is also a necessary part of a fixed assets register. This is necessary for tax purposes and can also be useful to the company in terms of knowing what type of insurance is necessary to protect the fixed assets. A company doing a valuation of the fixed assets it possesses must also take into account depreciation. Depreciation is the value that an asset loses over the time it is used, and companies are allowed to write off the loss of that value on their tax returns.
An effective fixed assets register will include as much detailed information on the assets as can possibly be included. This should include where the items are located, where they were purchased, and when maintenance is due on the items. Serial numbers and bar codes allow all items to be easily tracked to their sources, and they are usually included on registers for that reason.