Modern technology gives us many things.

The Basics of Business Asset Management In A Technological World

What was once a simple tallying of stock and maybe a few calculations for depreciation has become a complex industry of its own. Now assets can be physical or digital, their value can be speculative and volatile. 

For the small business owner this can be confusing and concerning, but it doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re a graphic designer or a cafe owner, you can get your hands on some asset management software and you’ll have half the work done for you. Inventory tracking, lifecycle management, and work orders too can be your computer’s problem. 

Once you know how to use these programs, you’ll find that asset management isn’t half as complex as it sounds, and that you can move on to the next order of business, like considering business contents insurance to further safeguard your company’s assets. 

To help shed light on the dynamic topic of business asset management, we’ll be outlining the main objectives of technological asset management, as well as how businesses can ensure their asset management processes are both effective and aligned with digital technologies and their capabilities.

What is asset management?

Simply put, it’s knowing what assets you own and what they’re worth. The next step from this is knowing where your assets are, what they’re used for, and whether you need more. Asset management is moving and organising everything your business owns and the work will grow as your business grows. This is precisely why it’s so important for companies to routinely revisit their asset management protocols as well as their risk assessments – and for companies to re-evaluate their business contents insurance annually or even more frequently. It goes without saying that the faster you accrue assets, the more likely you are to be underinsured – and it goes without saying that this is a less than ideal situation to be in!

Why is asset management important?

Knowing about your assets means knowing about your business. Understanding your assets tells you what’s eating money, where your interests are, and what has room for improvement. 

For example, seeing that your cafe is spending a chunk of change on coffee machine repairs might mean it’s time to invest in a better one, or to train your baristas differently. Besides this, having the numbers and lists of your company’s items can help creditors see the value of your business, and impress investors.

The evolution of asset management

In the last five years alone, there has been a dramatic shift in the asset management industry. Rates of outsourcing in asset management have been experiencing a decline, and the reason is that many businesses and people have started doing it themselves. Technology has made the once monumental task of asset management increasingly accessible to the average person, and that ease-of-use is only expected to grow as AI is increasingly adopted by Australian businesses. 

Where to start with asset management

Whether you’re planning to manage your assets as a way to understand your business, or as a portfolio for growth, you’ll need to adopt software to do the analysis and calculations. Ditch the Excel spreadsheets and take a look at the management programs on offer. For small businesses, Ninjaone, BlueTally, and Atera are popular, but each has a unique drawback– NinjaOne is complex, BlueTally has no mobile app, and Atera offers little help in terms of learning.

With these apps you’ll log everything your company owns – from furniture to laptops to vehicles – and it will be used to track age, value, ownership and stock levels. On top of these, many offer integrations with communications apps like Slack and Teams, so you can manage assets with your team – whether that’s loaning a work vehicle, or writing off a busted laptop.

What are digital assets?

“Business assets” as a term refers to any hardware or even software that provides value to your business. Besides just items or equipment you can touch, assets can also come in digital form – these being website domains, cryptocurrency, and digital artwork. Many of these are still new to the asset management sector, so their regulation and government are still in the air, but many asset management software allow for the tracking and organisation of these digital assets just as much as they do material assets like computers and industrial equipment. 

Asset management terms to know

Whether you’re financially savvy or not, there will be more than a handful of terms that you’ll meet for the first time when starting asset management. Asset register for example is simply the list of your companies owned items– the cars and computers and such. Besides that, it’s useful to know:

  • A Computer Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is used to organise and plan for recurring repairs and maintenance– for example your air conditioners might need their filters changed every six months.
  • An asset audit requires your team or a third-party to check each owned item’s location and condition. Your management software will make a list for you, and by confirming their condition, you can better understand wear and tear in the workplace, as well as use it for tax purposes. 
  • Cloud computing is optional but most asset management softwares use it. It’s simply having your data stored on servers that can be accessed internationally. The alternative is to set up a local server system for access at your workplace or via a private network setup.

It will take some time to learn the more unusual terms, but so long as you have a grasp of the basics, you’ll be able to start logging your assets. And for related investment terms for investment portfolio management, see JP Morgan’s glossary, which will answer all your questions and more.

Conclusion

The world of asset management is only going to become more accessible as time goes on, but it’s worth trying it today. The savings and data analysis for small businesses can be instrumental in their financial success. But besides that, it simplifies complex systems so that anyone can do them.