Asset management is a crucial part of understanding where company-owned items are and making decisions about them. A fixed asset management and tracking system is relevant to rental companies, building contractors, production companies, installation contractors and many other industries. Proper management of assets is crucial for any business, especially those that involve equipment or other assets that may move around.
Whether a small business, government agency, university, hospital or multinational corporation, any organization must keep track of its fixed and current assets. One accurate, efficient and cost-effective way to do this is with asset tracking with barcode labels and scanners. Anything that can be labeled or tagged can be barcoded. Most asset management software can leverage existing barcodes, such as the serial number barcode on computers or other electronics. They can also create custom barcode labels and print them.
With the help of asset tracking software, businesses of all types can achieve effective asset management and reap the benefits.
What Is Asset Management?
Asset management refers to the management of all physical assets in a company. It generally covers fixed assets that a company owns but doesn't sell to customers. Examples of fixed assets might include equipment for a manufacturing plant, medical devices used in a hospital, heavy equipment used on a construction site and laptops distributed to company employees. By identifying and tracking these items, you can collect real-time data about what you own, where it is and how you're using it.
Barcode inventory tracking systems are pervasively used in asset management software. But the barcode system itself is only the mechanism to label and scan items during physical inventory auditing or as they move from location to location. The asset tracking software is the system that employs the labels and scans to give you up-to-date information about where your assets are currently located. It can also help you determine which assets you'll require later based on reservations, and you can use other ways to track fixed assets based on your operational needs.
Asset tracking software provides businesses with a variety of benefits, such as:
- Preventing material loss through theft or asset misplacement.
- Alerting you to where your assets currently are.
- Telling you if you've got enough equipment for future jobs.
- Enabling you to improve your logistics based on asset requirements and availability.
- Lowering on-hand inventory by enhancing material tracking, thereby improving your bottom line.
Ways to Track Fixed Assets
Every business needs to track its fixed assets somehow. For some, all fixed assets remain in one building or office and move between rooms. Others have large volumes of internal resources that travel around buildings and even across state and country lines. Because every company has unique needs, there are a few different approaches to asset tracking. Your business must find the best way to track fixed assets based on your operations. Your options include:
- Inventory management software: One of the easiest ways to track your assets is through inventory management software. The right fixed asset tracking solution makes it easy to input and access data when you need it. If you're shipping fixed assets from one warehouse to another, you can update your records in a few clicks.
- Barcode scanning: Barcode asset tracking is the industry standard because it can eliminate many manual inputs. When assets travel a lot between sublocations, such as computer equipment at an office or university, barcode tracking makes it easy to update records with a few quick scans.
- Spreadsheets: If your company doesn't have too many assets that move from place to place, you may be able to get away with manual tracking via spreadsheet. Even if you use software for asset tracking, a spreadsheet could be a good place to track assets' monetary values and calculate annual depreciation.
- Manual asset audits: Conducting a physical count of your fixed assets across all locations is essential no matter what tracking system you use. Sometimes, team members may forget to scan a barcode or mark an asset's current location. A barcode inventory management application makes it easy to conduct stock-taking of your fixed assets. Workers can scan all the items and their current locations and clear up any discrepancies between the record and the actual count. It's best practice to do these manual checks once or twice a year.
Best Practices for Utilizing Asset Management Software
If you're getting started with assets management for the first time, it's helpful to understand some of the industry standards and practices. As you learn how to keep track of fixed assets in a way that makes sense for your business, you'll encounter many different asset management techniques. Check out a few best practices to keep in mind:
- Use the right software: Dependable, efficient software can make your asset tracking most effective and help your business conduct proper asset management. Make sure your team is well-trained in using the software for the best results.
- Start fresh: If you're moving over to a new system, be sure to conduct an audit and start off on the right foot. You don't want to carry over assets in the books no longer in the company, inefficient systems or incorrect quantities.
- Use well-integrated hardware and software: Not all hardware and software platforms will play nicely with each other. Make sure your scanners, tags, label printers and other tools sync up well with your software.
- Employ your other business tools for optimized asset management: Use your asset tracking software alongside other tools, such as accounting software, to optimize value and better understand your assets.
How Finale Inventory Can Support Equipment Tracking of Fixed Assets
Finale Inventory is an asset management and inventory control system with several features that make it easy to track your assets' locations and other relevant data. This platform includes the following asset tracking capabilities.
Our barcode scanner solution is easy to configure for asset tracking. Once set up, it lets workers log the current locations for your fixed assets by scanning barcodes representing each sublocation involved in a stock transfer. You can use assets' existing barcodes or print your own labels.
When you are shipping fixed assets from one business location to another, you can log the transfer directly from the Finale Inventory app. Once you submit a stock transfer, the number of assets will automatically subtract from the origin and add to the destination.
When you move assets between warehouses, it's usually not instantaneous. Using the Finale Inventory stock transfer feature, you can schedule asset transfers in advance so the records will update upon the assets' arrival in their new location. This feature offers the added advantage of letting you see where your assets will be at a particular time.
Manufacture Date Tracking
When tracking fixed assets, it's often helpful to know how old equipment is. You can figure out what items are old and need maintenance or replacement. This knowledge is particularly handy with assets like audiovisual equipment. Since technology may become outdated within a few years, seeing how old your assets are lets you determine what upgrades and new purchases you'll need to plan for. In Finale Inventory, you can assign items to batch numbers or manufacture dates, making it easy to track how old your assets are.
The Benefits of Asset Inventory Management With Finale Inventory
With the Finale Inventory asset management system, you'll get a range of benefits, including:
- World-class customer service: Our clients get paired with a customer relationship manager, who serves as your point of contact and is there to help with consulting, training and customization needs. We'll teach you the ins and outs of the platform and offer comprehensive support personalized to your company's unique needs.
- Flexibility: Finale is light, fast and highly adaptable. Wherever your business moves in the future, Finale can move with it, thanks to scalability in the cloud and no need for on-site servers and IT equipment. Plus, with customization options and a huge selection of features, we can help you configure your platform for evolving requirements.
- Low commitment: Finale pricing runs month-to-month with no commitment or set-up costs, so you can pay for what you need as you need it.
- Reliable data access: Encrypted, up-to-date information allows you to trust its accuracy and security. Cloud-based access also provides a seamless experience, centralizing your data into a server that you can access from any device.
Asset Tracking Capabilities
Finale Inventory supports tracking for equipment and other fixed assets that may change locations. This short video shows the asset tracking capability using the transfer stock operations.
Hi, this is Will Harvey of Finale Inventory. I'm gonna give a quick demonstration of using Finale Inventory to do asset tracking of fixed assets. Switching over to Finale Inventory's homepage, the example that I'm gonna go through just involves changing the location of assets from one location of another. And I'm gonna make it a little bit complex by having to choose some assets that have a specific lot number that I'm keeping track of.
As I said, I'm gonna be dealing mostly with fixed assets here and with transfers, so I clicked on transfers there. I'm going to do a transfer from the origin. I'm choosing a particular origin that I'm going to transfer from. And I'm choosing another origin that I'm going to transfer to.
And now I'm going to add the items that I'm going to transfer. I'm seeing down below here the items that are at that location specifically. I have a filter set which is showing only the items that have positive quantities. If I wanted to see all the items, I'd see a much longer list, but I only want to see the items that are actually at this location. And I'm going to choose the — I have one particular item of this asset, this is a single type of asset that has a serial number.
And then I have this other asset called The Mortar. I'm gonna transfer 50 Mortars, but specifically, I'm going to choose 50 Mortars of a particular manufacturing date. I have at this location, I just click this little turny-downy arrow on the left to show me details.
If you see here in the center is saying that I've got 700 of these. But if I say show me details, then it's telling me what comprises the 700. I have 525 with the manufacturing date of October 25, and I have 175 others with a manufacturing date of November 9.
I'd like to move 50 of the November 9 items and move them from where they're currently located. Oh, excuse me. Move them to the destination that I want to send them to. Save it. And it's not letting me ship it yet because I haven't specified where I'm going to move this item to, the same place.
Now, with all items having declared where they are going, I can ship the shipment. The shipment is now is shipped, meaning it has gone from one location on route to the other. When I click the receive shipment button, which if the shipment takes, you know, it's not instantaneous, there may be time in between. When I click the receive button and specify the time, that memorializes the fact that the shipment has been received.
If I now go back to the homepage and look at my items, and again, I'm looking at the location that I was shipping from at this point. Now, if you remember that there were 700, and now there are only 650 here. If I switch to the location that I was shipping to here, well, they're quite a few of them there because there were some already there before I began this operation.
So, that's an example of how you can transfer the location of an asset from one location to another via a shipment and then easily see how many items you have at all of your locations.
The Importance of Professional Assistance and Expert Integrations
A lot of the principles involved in asset tracking are similar to those involved in inventory management. But because you are not usually selling and replenishing these items, you'll use the software a little differently. You also need to track different information on your fixed assets.
You may want to capture information about your assets' service history or whose possession they are in at any given time. Adding custom fields to your inventory management software can let you track more details about your assets at the individual level. To get the most out of your asset tracking software, it pays to work with a consultant who understands the software well. They can recommend ways to make your asset tracking workflow more manageable and valuable.
Tracking fixed assets has particular importance for accounting and tax purposes. That's because there are different types of assets in inventory control. Fixed assets are tracked separately from current assets like inventory. For accounting purposes, your inventory control assets are items your business plans to unload and turn into cash within the next 12 months. Fixed assets will serve a useful, income-generating purpose within your business for at least one year.
Because fixed assets last longer than one year, they will appear on your taxes differently, factoring in depreciation for each year you've owned them.
This distinction and added complexity make an expert integration with QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online essential. If your business has traditional inventory and fixed assets, you must ensure the information flows down into your accounting software correctly. Working with an inventory management platform that supports custom application programming interface (API) integrations is critical. Flexible software architecture and a helpful support team can ensure your accounting and asset tracking software communicate with each other correctly. This integration can simplify and eliminate manual data entry.
If you transfer fixed assets between locations, you may also need your software to integrate with a shipping management solution. Again, since you'll be shipping property between business locations rather than from your warehouse to a customer, your information must flow down correctly. An expert support representative and software consultant can help you ensure fixed asset transfers flow down to any shipping management software and vice versa. They can also guide you through a custom integration if necessary.
Finale Inventory can work with you to ensure smooth, seamless integrations with your other business tools. We can recommend third-party developers and act as consultants to help you get the most out of your asset tracking software. We offer free training with any paid plan and can help you learn how to track fixed assets using our inventory management software.
Sign up for a Demo or Free Trial From Finale Inventory
Finale Inventory is a powerful inventory management software that's flexible and adaptable for many use cases. We also have a turnkey barcode management solution that lets you scan and track your assets as employees sign them out or they get transferred to new locations. Our expert support team can guide you in implementing our software to track your assets most effectively. We also offer low-commitment month-to-month plans with no costly setup fees, making it easy to start using Finale Inventory as your fixed asset tracking system.
If you want to see if Finale Inventory is the best fixed asset tracking software for you, you can test out our service for 14 days. Or, schedule a live demo to see our barcode solution and asset tracking capabilities in action.