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Fixed asset tracking is a process used by businesses and organizations to keep tabs on all long-term, or fixed, assets. Companies use fixed asset tracking as part of their accounting process and for theft prevention, depreciation purposes and inventory control. Trying to best keep track of fixed assets means identifying those assets, determining what system to use in tracking them, and keeping asset information in the tracking system up to date at all times. Making sure all employees within a company are familiar with the system also can ensure that information about fixed assets stays current.
Identifying everything that requires fixed asset tracking can be the first challenge. Perhaps the easiest way of doing this is to begin tracking all assets as they come into the company, starting with Day 1 of business, if not before. Adding a new fixed asset’s information to a tracking system before the asset leaves the purchaser’s hands is recommended. This ensures that an asset doesn’t disappear before its presence has even been acknowledged.
Fixed asset tracking also involves picking a system to use for the tracking, whether it’s a simple computer software program, a barcode system or a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag system. Such systems can simplify tracking by setting up a depreciation schedule and producing reports and information necessary to accounting processes. The best tracking system for a particular company will be one designed to handle the amount of fixed assets being tracked, whether a large quantity or small.
One key to successful tracking of fixed assets is keeping information on assets up to date. For example, if a truck is listed as a company asset but is totaled in an auto accident, it is no longer an asset. It should be removed from the tracking system. Failure to do so could lead to the vehicle continuing to be counted as a taxable asset. If the company is large enough and communication breaks down, the lack of up-to-date tracking information could lead to other problems if, for example, an employee thinks he will be able to use the company vehicle for a work-related trip, unaware that it is no longer available.
An easy way to be sure tracking of fixed assets is at its best is to involve the company’s employees. If an employee is going to use a company asset, make sure he or she can’t take it without officially checking it out in his or her name. Establish consequences for failing to officially check in the asset when done with it, and emphasize the importance of pointing out any problems with the asset as soon as they are noticed. Otherwise, the tracking system might inaccurately reflect who last had the car and where it was, and that defeats a significant purpose of fixed asset tracking efforts.