6 Types of Business Assets and How to Record Them

Personal assets belong to the individual, and often hold emotional or sentimental value. On the other hand, business assets are tools that fuel a business’s performance and profitability. If assets are classified based on their convertibility into cash, assets are classified as either current assets or fixed assets. An alternative expression of this concept is short-term vs. long-term assets. Whether cash, inventory, or property, businesses need to know how to use their assets to generate revenue and profit.

  1. Whether cash, inventory, or property, businesses need to know how to use their assets to generate revenue and profit.
  2. A tangible asset that is a safe asset is real estate property, as it normally only appreciates in value.
  3. Current assets include cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable, inventory, and various prepaid expenses.

Since all businesses are different, the assets they rely on will also vary. Each type of asset has its own unique characteristics and purpose. The most important thing to remember is that all business assets contribute in some way to the company’s success. In the journal entry above, the asset is a current asset since it’s affecting your cash account and your accounts receivable account. If you had purchased machinery for your factory for $5,000, the asset would be recorded as a fixed asset. The term “convertibility” refers to how easy it is to convert an asset into money.

Business assets and expenses are classified differently based on the concept of useful life. The «useful life» of an asset is the estimated length of time that the asset can be used effectively for your business. Business expenses are goods or services with a useful life of less than one year.

Properties of a business asset

In other words, the company does not intend on selling or otherwise converting these assets in the current year. Non-current assets are generally referred to as capitalized assets since the cost is capitalized and expensed over the life of the asset in a process called depreciation. Fixed assets include things like property, equipment, buildings, and machinery. While they may not be as liquid as current assets, they are still crucial to the running of the business. Another term for fixed assets is non-current or long-term assets. Always make sure that your assets are properly categorized and are not duplicated.

Labor is the work carried out by human beings, for which they are paid in wages or a salary. Labor is distinct from assets, which are considered to be capital. The IRS distinguishes types of “property” or assets depending on whether or not these items can be expensed or depreciated.

Business assets also need to be included in financial statements and have a specific way they need to be accounted for, which includes marking their historical cost and any depreciation. Personal assets do not need to be reported every year on taxes nor do they need to be accounted for. Current assets are assets that can be converted into cash within one fiscal year or one operating cycle. Current assets are used to facilitate day-to-day operational expenses and investments. Unlike liabilities, equity is not a fixed amount with a fixed interest rate.

Understanding how assets work

Non-operating assets, on the other hand, are assets that are not necessary for the primary operations of a company but can still generate income or facilitate financial transactions. Examples of non-operating assets include investment properties or securities, idle machinery, or non-strategic subsidiaries. The assets are listed according to their liquidity, a term that relates to the ease of transferring the asset to cash because cash is the most «liquid» asset. Current assets include cash, accounts receivable, and inventory that’s most quickly converted to cash.

Financial Investments

A $10 bill, a desktop computer, a chair, and a car are all assets. If you loaned money to someone, that loan is also an asset because you are owed that amount. These types of assets are used to grow the net worth of an individual.

The cost is then more evenly applied after the first year or two. They include things such as patents, copyrights, intellectual property, internet domain names, and a company’s brand. You can’t physically touch them, but they have value and can be converted into cash. These may include tangible assets like land, vehicles, machinery, and stocks or even intangible assets such as copyrights, franchises, and even software. The combination of these assets is what enables a business to function day-to-day and deliver value to customers. Business assets are valuable resources owned and controlled by a company, which have the potential to produce economic benefits.

As a business owner, you can do a few things to increase your business assets. Though not all assets are used for the same purpose, they all have the potential to create value. Whether it’s through generating income, cost savings, or creating efficiencies, they should be managed accordingly. It is no secret that businesses worldwide rely on their assets to function and make a profit.

Alternatively, you can find their value by subtracting a company’s liabilities from its assets. Then, you would need to subtract the resulting number from the asset’s market value. When businesses amortize and depreciate expenses, they help tie an asset’s costs to the revenues it generates. They can be physical, tangible goods, such as vehicles, real estate, computers, office furniture, and other fixtures, or intangible items, such as intellectual property. While countless things can be considered assets, they don’t all fall into the same class. The four main types of assets are liquid assets, illiquid assets, tangible assets and intangible assets.

Of course, the best way to track assets is by using accounting software, but even if you’re recording transactions manually, it’s important that they’re managed properly. For the assets on a balance sheet to be accurate, your total assets should always equal your total liabilities and equity combined. How you record what are business assets an asset depends on the type of asset that you’re purchasing. Some assets, such as accounts receivable, are recorded every time you make a sale, while others, such as machinery or equipment, will need to be recorded differently. While intangible assets can hold significant value, they have no physical properties.


We’ll also look at two additional types of assets that are important for businesses. Another way to determine the value of a real estate asset is with the cost approach. This focuses on replacement value, which is an estimate of the cost to rebuild an equivalent property if it was destroyed. Companies keep track of their assets with a balance sheet and might use a formula to determine each asset’s value.

Businesses that deal with physical products have inventory, including raw materials, finished goods, and on-hand supplies. As their name implies, current assets are essential for businesses to maintain their day-to-day operations. A business asset is any resource owned by a company that holds economic value or potential for future benefits. Therefore, items or elements that do not contribute to a company’s value or ability to generate revenue are not considered business assets. Examples of items that are not business assets include personal expenses, individual employee-owned tools, and funds utilized for non-business purposes. Current assets are those that can be easily converted into cash or cash equivalents within a short period, typically a year or less.

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