Fixed Asset Accounting

Fixed asset accounting can be a specialty by itself, or a part of another job position, such as staff accountant or cost accountant.

This type of accounting will usually involve the following duties:

  • Maintaining a list of the company assets.

  • Identifying each asset with a unique asset number.

  • Tracking and recording new assets as they are added by the company.

  • Recording sales and disposals of assets in fixed asset software.

  • Calculating depreciation for each asset and writing a journal entry each month to record it.

  • Preparing and filing the annual personal property tax statement that is used to determine the amount of property tax due.

  • Representing the company during any property tax audits.

The amount of personal property tax can be considerable at some businesses, especially in manufacturing.  Great care should be taken to keep the asset listing up-to-date and accurate.

Many asset lists become obsolete quickly when machinery is removed or moved and this information is not communicated.  This is usually the largest issue in asset accounting.  The accountant has to take the initiative to keep the asset list current.

The best system I've seen was where a digital picture was taken of each asset and combined with a description of the asset and other information such as cost, date acquired, location, asset number, etc.

Every business with a large amount of assets has what is called a "bone yard"; this is the place old assets wind up for possible later use or for part salvaging. An asset that is not being used, or is non-productive may have a different taxable rate than productive assets.