It’s Year end, How can I efficiently begin to inventory our Fixed Assets?
Every year someone in your organization is wondering that very question. Whether it’s I.T., Finance or Facilities, the task remains the same, but the results vary considerably. For example, I.T. usually needs to inventory assets for tracking laptops, or servers that may also have secure data on them. The results of the inventory findings can reduce the purchasing pool and identify loss or theft. Facilities will often tell me that knowing what assets are in storage or in areas not getting used, such as furniture and fixtures, helps them with moves and transfers of staff. While Finance typically has the main burden of tracking the costs so they can report Property tax accurately to the tax specialists with the inventory results.
The tasks of conducting a physical inventory can help all those areas that ultimately result in financial benefits for an organization. My clients have always expressed that the process of conducting a fixed asset review or inventory is painful. Does any of this sound familiar?
- I have no idea where to start?
- The assets aren’t tagged in our system?
- It is a very manual and tedious process.
If so, you’re in the same boat as many of the clients we help daily. In the words of Julie Andrews, in the Sound of Music “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.”
An efficient Inventory process begins with the database preparations. If your process is still manual one, that entails handing off a report of assets to a responsible party to “check off”, then data on the report needs some key elements. If you have scanners that can scan the serial number or the asset tag for verification then the database fields need to be consistent for updating easier.
- The Asset Description is a great field to sort a report by – to begin finding the assets in a department or area. Clean up the database so that like kind assets share the same description.
EXAMPLE: DELL LAPTOP Intel I3 730 Dual Core 3M Cache 2.7GHZ, 15 We often see too much detail in that one field. We suggest using other fields for the Make/Model/Manufacturer.
- Serial Number Field can often times help you identify those costly I.T. assets but often times the number on the invoice isn’t exactly what is on the asset. Sometimes the invoice shows the number with an extra Alpha S00112223 – “S” meaning Serial. Or SN00112223. Review that field for extra digits or alphas if you are scanning it – so that only the numbers populate during scanning.
- Bulk purchase asset detail is a huge obstacle to this process being tedious. If you have a line item that says: DESKS AND CHAIRS you will want to either pull any original documentation you have to identify the Quantity of each to count or tag. OR we suggest inventorying all the desks and chairs creating a new line item that correlates to the Parent Asset line item and cost.
These were just a few key fields we see time and time again that clients need to clean up. If you don’t have time to do this internally, you can hire an external source that can dedicate the time and resources. Once the database has some structure to the fields for your scanner or on a report, the planning phase can begin. That sets me up nicely for the next blog – Stay tuned.
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