As the first step in developing an asset inventory program, conducting an inventory of existing assets is crucial. Good asset inventory management provides a baseline for decision-making, budgeting, and planning future projects. Keep reading to learn the essential practices for conducting an accurate asset inventory.
Gathering Data and Documentation
The first step in conducting an asset inventory is to gather data and documentation. This includes gathering information about the assets from all relevant sources, such as IT, accounting, and facilities. It is also important to collect any supporting documentation, such as purchase orders or invoices. This information will be used to create an accurate list of the organization’s assets.
Developing a Categorization System
The next step is to develop a categorization system with a list of asset categories. Once the data has been gathered, it is important to organize it in a way that makes it easy to use. The inventory should be divided into categories based on the type of asset (e.g., computers, furniture, office supplies) and location (e.g., head office, branch office). This will make it easier to track down specific assets when needed. Some possible categories might include:
- Fixed Assets: Property such as real estate and equipment
- Intangible Assets: Patents, trademarks, and other intellectual property
- Current Assets: Cash, investments, and inventory
- Noncurrent Assets: Long-term investments and property not currently being used in operations
Once you have established your categories, you need to come up with a way to assign each asset to one (and only one) category. One way to do this is by using a numbering system. For example, you could give each fixed asset a unique number and then track it in your inventory system. This would ensure that each asset is accounted for separately.
Another option is to use keywords or brief descriptions instead of numbers. This can be helpful if you want to be able to quickly scan through your assets and get an idea of what they are without having to look them up individually. However, it’s important to make sure that everyone who will be using the categorization system understands the keywords or abbreviations, so there isn’t any confusion about what they represent.
Verifying and Correcting Asset Information
When conducting an asset inventory, it is important to verify and correct any information that may be inaccurate. This includes updating the asset’s location, custodian, and other pertinent information. It is also important to ensure that all assets are accounted for and that no unauthorized assets are listed. By verifying and correcting asset information, organizations can improve their accuracy and efficiency when conducting an asset inventory.
Conducting the Inventory
The next step is to actually conduct the inventory. This can be done in a variety of ways, depending on what works best for your organization. Some common methods include using manual counts or scanning barcodes. Whichever method you choose, it is crucial to ensure that all assets are included in the count. After the inventory is complete, it is important to review and analyze the results so that you can make decisions about how best to manage your assets going forward.
Finally, the inventory should be updated on a regular basis. This will ensure that it remains up-to-date and accurate. The categories can be based on the type of asset, the function of the asset, or any other criteria that makes sense for your organization.
These practices for conducting an asset inventory are important because they ensure that all assets are accounted for and that the inventory is accurate. By following these tips, organizations can more effectively manage their assets and protect their data.