Asset management software
Asset management software is a piece of computer software that is designed to assist in asset management, which is simply the management of physical assets, i.e. tangible fixed assets. Asset management activities include purchasing, inspecting, maintaining and repairing, renewing and ensuring all fixed assets are safe and secure. In order to do this you need to record the details of all fixed assets. From computer equipment to machinery to vehicles to office fixtures and fittings, each and every business asset must be recorded.
The role of asset management software
All businesses, regardless of their size, the markets in which they operate and the products or services they provide will have some physical assets, although some businesses will be more asset
intensive than others. Fixed assets are key aspects in making the business run smoothly, therefore it is important to control and manage fixed assets.
Asset management software makes asset management a much easier task. By noting down and recording details of all assets owned and used by the business the task of monitoring the assets is made much simpler. Asset management software can hold a lot of useful information about the assets used within the business, and such information includes the cost of the asset, when the asset was purchased, who the asset was purchased from, the useful expected life of the asset, the depreciation charge of each asset, and the service schedule and maintenance program for each asset. Asset management software also allows you to set up alerts and reminders when the assets are due for their next service, which means you can ensure the assets are kept in tip top condition and working as they should. You can also set reminders and alerts for when each asset news replacing, which ensures the business does not get stuck with a high number of old and obsolete assets that could end up costing the business a lot of money.
You need to remember that asset management software is only as good as the information that is put in to it, so when using asset management software it is essential that information is complete and put in on a timely basis. When a new business asset is acquired it needs to be put in to the asset management software package as soon as the purchase invoice is paid to ensure it doesn’t get missed. When assets are disposed of the asset management software needs to be updated as soon as the sales proceeds are banked. If the asset is scrapped or thrown away the asset management software needs to be updated the day the asset is thrown in the trash. If the asset management
software is not updated the business may have many assets that are not accounted for, which could be pinched or there may be a list of assets the business no longer owns, which may also lead to questions being asked.
Asset management software can also be used to record details of intangible assets, such as licenses, patents and quotas. Intangible assets are less susceptible to theft than tangible fixed assets, but they must still be controlled and managed.
What to look for in Asset Management Software
Before buying asset management software you first need to question whether it is actually needed or not. If the business does not have many assets and there is little chance of assets being pinched asset management software may well be a waste of money. This does not mean that the assets do not need to be recorded though. In these circumstances a simple spreadsheet detailing basic information about each asset will suffice.
If you consider asset management software necessary the next points that need to be considered includes, what features do you need? How many users will need to access the software? What is the cost/benefit profile? The answer to these questions will vary from business to business however you need to make sure you answer these questions.
Types of management software
Essentially there are three different types of asset management software and these include automated data collection, repository and inquisitive. It is possible to buy software packages that solely deal with asset management. These software packages are often full of features and very good, however they are also expensive and rarely represent value for money. In addition, there are many businesses that do not need the amount of features these software packages have therefore you will be spending money on features that will never be used, which is wasteful.
Many accounting software packages have an asset management software module and these packages are excellent. Whilst they may not have the same amount of features as standalone asset management software packages they are usually more than good enough for most small business’ needs. Accounting software packages with an asset management software module include QuickBooks Pro, Sage Professional Accounts, DacEasy and CYMA to name but a few. So whenever you are looking at changing your accounting software always choose one with asset management in order to save a bit of money.
In addition to the cost savings of buying an accounting package with an asset management module there is another advantage in that the accounting module and asset management module will be fully integrated and will “communicate” with each other. When you buy separate accounting packages and asset management packages they do not always integrate, which kind of defeats the objective.
The final word on asset management software
Fixed assets are important and they are an important resource they must be controlled and managed and the easiest and most efficient way of doing this is to use asset management software.
There are many different types of asset management software and they all do the same sort of thing. Software integration is important and you need to make sure the asset management software works and communicates with the accounting software. Instead of buying two different sorts of software it is more cost effective to buy an accounting software package with an asset management software module. This should be more than good enough for most small businesses. If your business has a lot of assets and complex service and maintenance schedules you may find a simple asset management software package is not good enough. In this case the only option is to buy a specific asset management software package.
The most important thing to remember is that in order to be useful the asset management software must be kept up to date and edited the day assets are purchased and disposed of.