Types of Assets List of Asset Classification on the Balance Sheet

Your home would be an illiquid asset because even if you have a lot of equity in it, the sale could take a while depending on the local market conditions. People tend to keep assets to build wealth so they can retire or use the assets as a financial resource. “An asset in the form of a dividend stock earns ongoing income for its owner and could be sold if needed, freeing up purchasing power,” says Mark Berger, a CFP and Account Executive at Berger Financial Group. Most things a company owns or controls are assets in one way or another. For example, employees are assets because companies need people to keep things running, create products, or offer services. The building the employees work in is also an asset, as well as any piece of machinery and the inventory employees make or use.

Typically, a company will hold current assets for a year or less before using or selling them. Assets are at the heart of any business’ finances, so business owners and members of a company’s finance team need to understand their company’s assets intimately. Accountants, in particular, must have a strong understanding of assets how to calculate predetermined overhead rate and how they affect a company’s finances. Accounting often involves looking at the relationships between assets and other key metrics of a business’s finances, like revenue, liabilities, and equity. Personal assets can include a home, land, financial securities, jewelry, artwork, gold and silver, or your checking account.

What is a fixed asset turnover ratio?

In accounting, assets are categorized by their time horizon of use. Current assets are expected to be sold or used within one year. Fixed assets, also known as noncurrent assets, are expected to be in use for longer than one year.

There is a lot of overlap between operating assets and nearly every other category of assets. For example, many current assets, like inventory, are necessary for day-to-day operations. Non-current assets, often called fixed assets, are not very liquid — these are long-term holdings owned by the company for many years before they become cash.

  • For example, machinery, a building, or a truck that’s involved in a company’s operations would be considered a fixed asset.
  • Liquid assets are things that can quickly and easily be converted to cash, such as bank accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), stocks, or bonds.
  • It also buys machinery and equipment that costs a total of $500,000.
  • Contrary to a noncurrent, fixed asset, a current asset is an asset that will be used or sold within one year.

Instead, companies’ turnover ratios are very industry specific and other factors must be considered. It’s easy to determine the value of assets like stocks, bonds, and your 401(k) by simply checking their current market prices. For real estate, an appraisal is conducted which is an inspection of the property that also considers how much nearby homes were sold for in the same real estate market. Assets, liabilities, and equity are the building blocks of a company’s finance. They also are the core aspects of the accounting equation — a formula that ensures accuracy in a double accounting system. These types of resources often overlap with current and non-current assets, too.

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That’s because a company needs physical assets to produce its goods and/or services. If assets are classified based on their convertibility into cash, assets are classified as either current assets or fixed assets. An alternative expression of this concept is short-term vs. long-term assets. Assets are resources that either an individual or a company uses.

Intangible fixed assets are those long-term assets without a physical substance, for example, licenses, brand names, and copyrights. They include things such as patents, copyrights, intellectual property, internet domain names, and a company’s brand. You can’t physically touch them, but they have value and can be converted into cash. Fixed assets are resources with an expected life of greater than a year, such as plants, equipment, and buildings. An accounting adjustment called depreciation is made for fixed assets as they age. Depreciation may or may not reflect the fixed asset’s loss of earning power.

Personal Assets vs. Business Assets: An Overview

Different forms of insurance may also be treated as long-term investments. Labor is the work carried out by human beings, for which they are paid in wages or a salary. Labor is distinct from assets, which are considered to be capital. For something to be considered an asset, a company must possess a right to it as of the date of the company’s financial statements.

What Is an Asset? Types & Examples in Business Accounting

For example, someone’s personal assets may include their work experience or a life insurance policy. On the other hand, a business’s assets are things the company can use to generate revenue. Current assets are assets that can be converted into cash within one fiscal year or one operating cycle.


Fixed assets are physical or tangible items that a company owns and uses in its business operations to provide services and goods to its customers and help drive income. These assets, which are often equipment or property, provide the owner long-term financial benefits. It is expected that a business will keep and use fixed assets for a minimum of one year. The value of fixed assets decline as they are used and age (except for land), so they can be depreciated. At the end of their lifecycle, fixed assets are often converted into cash. A fixed asset, or noncurrent asset, typically is an actual, physical item that a company buys and uses to make products or servicea that it then sells to generate revenue.

What Is an Asset? Definition and Examples

A tangible asset could be anything from cash in your bank account, to your car, and the furniture in your home. If you can physically touch and measure it, it’s probably a tangible asset. With companies, on the other hand, assets represent items of value that can be used to promote or sustain growth in the business. This could be machinery used for manufacturing, inventory, annual sales, or receivables. Accumulating assets can mean you are building wealth or acquiring items of value over time.

Assets are the business-owned resources that are utilized by the business for earning profits. They are very important for any business enterprise for its growth and survival. These resources are valued in monetary terms and are reported in the company’s balance sheet at historical cost. Current assets are generally subclassified as cash and cash equivalents, receivables, inventory, and accruals (such as pre-paid expenses).

The valuation of long-term investment assets at each reporting cycle is a key factor in figuring a firm’s worth on its balance sheet. The ratios that you can figure out from these valuations are important, too. Two ratios include return on assets (ROA) and return on equity (ROE). ROA and ROE are different ways of showing a company’s profitability. The balance sheet contains details about the organization’s capital structure, liquidity, and viability. Subtract liabilities from assets, and you arrive at shareholder equity.

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