What Is an Asset?

A resource with an economic worth that an individual, corporation, or country possesses or controls with the hope of future gain is referred to as an asset. Assets are bought or generated to raise a company’s value or benefit its operations, and they are reported on the balance sheet. Whether it’s manufacturing equipment or a patent, an asset can be looked on as something that can create cash flow, cut expenses, or increase sales in the future.

Understanding Assets

An asset is a financial resource for a corporation or access that other persons or companies do not have. A legal right or other access indicates that economic resources can be used at the discretion of a corporation, and their use can be prohibited or regulated by the owner.

A corporation must have a right to an asset as of the date of the financial statements in order for it to be present. An economic resource is something that is limited in supply and has the power to generate an economic gain by increasing or decreasing cash inflows or outflows.

Short-term (or current) assets, fixed assets, financial investments, and intangible assets are all types of assets.

Types of Assets

  1. Current Assets

Short-term economic resources that are expected to be transformed into cash within a year are referred to as current assets. Cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable, inventories, and different prepaid expenses are all examples of current assets.

While cash is simple to value, accountants must re-evaluate the recoverability of inventory and accounts receivable on a regular basis. It will become impaired if there is evidence that accounts receivable may be unrecoverable. Companies may also write off inventory if it becomes obsolete.

  1. Fixed Assets

Fixed assets are long-term resources, like plants, equipment, and buildings. Depreciation is a recurring charge that may or may not reflect the loss of earning capacity for a fixed asset. It is used to account for the depreciation of fixed assets.

Depreciation can be done in two ways, according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). 1 The straight-line technique implies that the value of a fixed asset depreciates in proportion to its useful life, whereas the accelerated method assumes that the asset depreciates more rapidly in the first years of usage.

  1. Financial Assets

Financial assets are investments in other institutions’ assets and securities. Stocks, sovereign and corporate bonds, preferred equity, and other hybrid securities are examples of financial assets. The value of financial assets is determined by how the investment is classified and the motivation behind it.

  1. Intangible Assets

Intangible assets are financial resources that do not have a physical location. Patents, trademarks, copyrights, and goodwill are among them. Intangible assets are treated differently depending on their type, and they might be depreciated or assessed for impairment each year.

How Do I Know If Something Is an Asset?

An asset is something that provides an individual or other entity with a current, future, or potential economic advantage. As a result, an asset is anything that you own or that you owe to yourself. As a result, a $10 bill, a computer, a chair, or an automobile are all assets. If you owe someone money, that loan is also an asset because you owe the money (even though the loan is a liability for the one paying you back).

What About Non-physical Assets?

You can’t touch intangible assets, but they provide a financial benefit to someone. Intellectual property (for example, patents or trademarks), contractual obligations, royalties, and goodwill are all examples of this type of asset. Non-physical assets such as brand equity and reputation can be quite valuable. Stocks and derivatives contracts, for example, are intangible financial assets.

Is Labor an Asset?

No. Human labor is defined as work for which people are paid in the form of wages or salaries. Assets, which are called capital, are not the same as labor.

How Are Current Assets Different From Fixed (Noncurrent) Assets?

Companies will categorize their assets based on how long they will be used. Fixed assets, also known as noncurrent assets, are assets that are designed to be held for a longer period of time (one year or longer) and are difficult to liquidate. As a result, fixed assets, unlike current assets, depreciate.

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