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Common business asset checklists

Use these lists to identify the assets you own. You can download and print out document versions and fill in the blanks to help you get the most value from your assets.

Owning a healthy combination of fixed, current and intangible assets means cash in the bank, smooth operations and long-term value.

The quantities you have of each will largely depend on what kind of business you are.

By keeping an accurate record of what assets you own, you can:

  • calculate the value of your business
  • fill out your balance sheet
  • understand what can be depreciated
  • get an idea of what assets you need to start a business
  • manage your assets.
You don’t need to be asset rich to be successful.

You don’t need to be asset rich to be successful.

Resourceful businesses own and maintain only what they need.

Your current assets are your marketable securities. In other words, they are the money that’s in the bank or owed you, or any items that can easily be sold or converted to cash. They are sometimes referred to as non-fixed assets.

How to identify a common asset:

  1. It is cash, or can easily be converted to cash.
  2. You expect to use it within one year.

Common current assets

  • Cash, eg balance of your business bank accounts
  • Undeposited cheques from customers
  • Petty cash
  • Accounts receivable
  • Cash equivalents, eg short-term investments
  • Stock inventory
  • Raw material
  • Manufacturing and packaging supplies
Your people are not your assets.

Your people are not your assets.

From an accounting perspective, employees aren’t considered assets — no matter how valuable they are to your business.

Your fixed assets are the big-ticket items you’ve purchased to run your business. They are sometimes referred to as as non-current assets.

How to identify a fixed asset:

  1. You own the item, or have bought it under a hire purchase agreement. Items leased under certain arrangements, eg finance leases, are also considered fixed assets.
  2. It’s valued at $500 or more.
  3. It has a useful life of more than one year.
  4. The cost can’t be claimed in full as a business expense.

Assets (external link) — Inland Revenue

Common fixed assets

  • Computers and laptops
  • Computer hardware, including printers
  • Computer software programs
  • Some intellectual property, such as patents 
  • Photocopiers
  • Office furniture
  • Tools of the trade 
  • Plant or machinery used for production 
  • Art  
  • Motor vehicles
  • Buildings, including any space you have leased with an option to buy or rent out 
  • Land
  • Long-term investments, eg stocks or bonds

Most of your fixed assets will lose value over time, but you can often claim depreciation at tax time. Depreciation deductions are allowed for most fixed assets — except on most buildings, land and long-term investments. 

Consider any item you purchase for less than $500 an expense, not a fixed asset.

Consider any item you purchase for less than $500 an expense, not a fixed asset.

Intangible assets

Intangible assets are your intellectual property, goodwill and brand. They add commercial value to your business.

How to identify an intangible asset:

  1. It lacks physical existence.
  2. It adds commercial value to your business.

Common intangible assets

  • Patents
  • Trade marks
  • Copyrights
  • Designs
  • Secret formulas or processes
  • Other types of intellectual property
  • Purchased customer lists 
  • Goodwill, or the benefit of a business’ good name and reputation
You can claim depreciation on many of your intangible assets.

You can claim depreciation on many of your intangible assets.

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