What is a Fixed Asset Register?

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A fixed asset is an item owned by a business and used to generate its income. For example the building from which a business can operate or a piece of machinery to create a product that is sold onto customers.

Depending on the type of business there may be a large amount of fixed assets or assets of particularly high value. In these cases a fixed asset register can help a business track what fixed assets it owns, changes in fixed assets, location of assets and asset values for insurance purposes.

What is a Fixed Asset Register?

A fixed asset register put simply is a list of fixed assets owned by a business.  It includes details of each asset, its cost/value, location and depreciation method. Here are some examples of fixed assets that would typically be included on the fixed asset register:

  • Office equipment;
  • Computers;
  • Furniture;
  • Property;
  • Equipment;
  • Cars, vans, lorries.

Why Keep a Fixed Asset Register?

A fixed asset register can be a useful piece of information to keep because it helps business owners track all of the fixed assets they have purchased, assisting them to:

  • Ensure the correct value of fixed assets is registered on their balance sheet;
  • A fixed asset register is a single document to use in reviewing the assets a business owns, their value and can help draw out the potential for fixed asset revaluation which strengthens the balance sheet;
  • Act as a checkpoint to ensure an appropriate level of insurance is in place;
  • Provide accountants with a complete list of fixed assets for tax purposes so they can check all capital allowances are claimed;
  • A fixed asset register is a separate check point to help business owners detect fraud, theft and misappropriation of company funds;
  • Help stay organised and avoid headaches at a later date for example when year end time comes or in the event of a tax inspection;
  • Helping business owners track what they own to avoid buying twice or raise cash by selling off old or unused assets.

Example Fixed Asset Register Template in Excel

A fixed asset register in excel can take many different formats and designed to suit the specific needs of the business.  Here is an example fixed asset register template in Excel.

Sample Fixed Asset Register

First Steps to Building a Fixed Asset Register

Here are some steps you may want to take if you are building your Fixed Asset Register for the first time:

  1. Perform a physical audit by walking around and identifying every asset you own and noting them on your register.
  2. Decide on the base way to classify your assets and organise on your fixed asset register for example you may want to group asset according to location or type.
  3. Contact your accountant for a breakdown of fixed assets disclosed on your balance sheet and reconcile your Fixed Asset Register to check your accounts are correctly stated, depreciation is being calculated correctly and you have received capital allowances you are entitled to.

Maintain a Fixed Asset Register on Your Accounting System

Accounting systems such as Xero or Quickbooks offer Fixed Asset Register functionality, avoiding the need to maintain a separate fixed asset register in excel.  However, depending on your needs, the information held in these accounting systems can be limited so you may not be able to not down things like location.  Also maintaining a separate list which is easily accessible be different people in the business may be more helpful.
Review the functionality in your accounting system and consider the needs of the business to work out whether a separate fixed asset register in excel may be more suitable.

Do You Need a Fixed Asset Register?

For a fixed asset register to be useful it needs to be updated on an ongoing basis, which requires time and effort.  For some businesses this may be a worthwhile exercise due to the large amount of fixed assets they own and their business intentions such as getting ready for sale or obtaining fundings.  However if your business does not have a large amount of fixed assets it may not be a useful document to spend time maintaining.
A nursing home for example will have a large amount of fixed assets – a building, land, nursing equipment, beds and furniture. So the owners may find it useful to track what is owned and value for decision making, buying and revaluation purposes.  However a consultancy business may only require laptops and phones for each staff member so a fixed asset register may not provide much added value to the business.

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