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Fixed Asset Management Software

Fixed Asset Management software is designed to track the MRO lifecycle and maintain depreciation values on assets such as land, buildings, motor vehicles, furniture, office equipment, computers, and other items, which cannot easily be turned into cash. Fixed Asset Management systems can help any size company convert from spreadsheet record-keeping to streamlined reporting of fixed asset depreciation and is a good fit for companies that need to be valued for tax or acquisition purposes. Fixed Asset Management software is related to Accounting software, IT Asset Management software, Inventory Control software, and Inventory Management software. Find the best fixed asset management software for your organisation in Australia.

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Fixed Asset Management Software Buyers Guide

Introduction

Fixed asset management software is primarily designed to help businesses and other commercially minded organisations track their maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) lifecycle. It also assists with the maintenance of depreciation values on a range of fixed assets such as company cars, office equipment, and computers.

Other fixed assets that asset tracking tools can assess include land, buildings, furniture, plant, machinery, tools, and any other items that cannot easily be sold for their cash value. In other words, fixed assets are fixed while liquid assets, such as securities and saleable stock, have greater liquidity, meaning they can be turned into cash more easily. Consequently, the value to a business of its fixed assets is often hard to determine and not something that can always be accounted for by simply calculating the sum of its potential sales value. Various factors need to be taken into consideration which is why asset monitoring solutions tend to be used.

Both large corporations and smaller enterprises can make use of a software-based asset management system. A key feature is asset lifecycle management. This helps businesses get the best out of their fixed assets from the procurement stage right through to minimising their disposal costs when they are no longer needed. Other features that are common in asset tracking software today include inventory management modules and maintenance management systems. The former helps to keep track of the levels of fixed assets, usually with some sort of barcode system for greater automation, while the latter specialises in planning routine and preventative maintenance schedules for equipment.

Overall, the main benefits of fixed asset management and tracking systems include maximising the potential of all fixed assets a business possesses. Unless they know what they have and the state these assets are in, it is hard to exploit them to their maximum potential. Software systems tend to eliminate human error while speeding up fixed asset management work. In turn, it helps finance directors and other decision-makers to make better-informed strategic decisions about company expenditure on fixed assets. Crucially, this is the case with respect to both new acquisitions and maintaining current assets.

Today, a software-based fixed asset tracking system could be connected to accounting software, especially when assets are constantly being depreciated in value. Other related software systems include IT asset management programs, inventory control software, and inventory management software, to name but three. Overall, the best fixed asset tracking software will offer numerous features and integrations with other software classes. Key things to look out for include:

  • A fixed asset lifecycle management module that helps to establish the total cost of ownership of an asset and to assist with strategic planning and decision making on expenditure
  • A fixed asset check-in and check-out feature creates a log whenever a particular asset is available for use and who, or which department, is currently using it
  • A computer maintenance management system (CMMS), something that nearly all businesses need these days since the use of computer equipment is now so widespread in almost all industrial sectors
  • A maintenance scheduling system that allows senior managers to plan the maintenance schedules of fixed assets, such as plant machinery, company vehicles, or even buildings

What is Fixed Asset Management Software?

Fixed asset management software can best be defined as a computer program—or suite—that is designed to help businesses track, monitor, maintain, and dispose of their fixed assets in numerous classes. This type of software is designed to help a company move away from spreadsheet-based records of its fixed assets and take a more streamlined approach to reporting them, including location, maintenance regime, and depreciation level. As well as helping to track the MRO lifecycle of fixed assets, this sort of software will help to maintain the correct values of assets, meaning that such packages are a good fit for firms that need their fixed assets to be properly valued for tax or acquisition purposes.

Although some asset monitoring solutions are highly specialised, for example dealing only with information technology (IT) assets, others can be utilised for almost all types of fixed assets, from company vehicles to buildings and land in the ownership of a single organisation. Furthermore, some fixed asset software programs might focus on particular tasks, such as providing a real-time asset tracking system, whereas others perform a wider range of functions and would be, therefore, better referred to as asset monitoring solutions. In some cases, asset management programs integrate with accounting software for small businesses, which tends to help when dealing with asset valuation issues for the purposes of annual tax declarations.

Consequently, many people who use an asset management system as a part of their daily work would understand a fixed asset management and tracking system to mean different things in different contexts. After all, different businesses have different classes of fixed assets. Commercial landlords, for instance, tend to have fixed assets tied up in land and buildings, whereas SMEs might have fixed assets that only include a couple of company-owned vans, some tooling, and a small network of computers. Nevertheless, all businesses and commercial organisations can benefit from the range of asset management tools available today in software systems. Indeed, with cloud asset tracking and other mobile solutions, it is even easier for businesses to operate in agile, decentralised ways without losing control of their fixed assets while they are in the field.

Please note that fixed asset management is important for any organisation that wants to keep tabs on the whereabouts of its assets. Equally, however, businesses often need to manage their assets for reasons of regulatory compliance, depending on their sector. Not knowing exactly where a physical asset is in use at any particular moment could cause problems in some industries. Equally, where fixed assets are depreciated—or lowered in saleable value—over their lifecycle, a proper management system needs to be in place, or tax rules on how much value can be depreciated might not be properly adhered to. In other words, fixed asset management systems help with a range of compliance issues and are not simply there to help organisations control the use and availability of certain assets.

What are the benefits of fixed asset management software?

The benefits of fixed asset management software are myriad. Between 2016 and 2020, the size of the fixed asset management market more than doubled, according to some industry estimations. It is easy to see why when taking into account the number of benefits that software-based asset monitoring solutions now offer. The current generation of asset management tools is often feature-rich, designed for every business size, from start-ups to multinational corporations and for every industrial sector, from major landowners to operators in heavy industry. Read on to discover more about the kind of benefits businesses can expect from fixed asset management software today:

  • Centralised fixed asset information: centralise information on fixed assets so that all of the relevant departments and individuals who use them can gain instant access to records. This could range from a fleet manager, for example, knowing the whereabouts and condition of company vehicles to the accounts department having information on the value of certain fixed assets they intend to depreciate in the forthcoming financial period.
  • Simplify asset allocation processes: make asset allocation processes simpler such that it becomes much more straightforward to manage fixed assets on a day-to-day basis. IT professionals, for instance, will know when they can take a particular computer offline to conduct upgrades and maintenance to it. Computerising how fixed assets are allocated to certain tasks or projects makes it easier to charge clients for their usage, perhaps at a daily rate or one that considers the wear and tear caused to the asset itself.
  • Ensure fixed assets remain in use through maintenance cycles: keep a firm level of control on the maintenance regimes of fixed assets. This will help to make sure they are always available for use. There are two ways that an asset management system will typically do this. The first is to provide information about the state and location of an asset when it needs an urgent repair carried out to it. This helps those responsible to undertake a swifter job than would otherwise be the case. Secondly, preventative maintenance regimes can be built around certain fixed assets so that the likelihood of breakdowns occurring in the first place is minimised, thereby avoiding unnecessary interruptions to service or normal business operations.
  • Prolong the life cycle of fixed assets for greater return on investment: take action to prolong the life cycle of any fixed asset. Doing so makes it possible to obtain a greater level of return on investment (ROI). It should be noted that prolonging the life cycle of an asset is not entirely about providing it with a lifetime of preventative maintenance, as mentioned previously. Instead, asset management tools will also provide the necessary system to plan for the acquisition of an asset as well as its operation and maintenance. Furthermore, cost analysis of the asset's disposal, whether it is sold or recycled, will be a key part of helping to understand the ROI of any given asset over its full lifecycle. This helps to improve the acquisition and maintenance of future assets.
  • Improve productivity and strategic decision-making: enhance productivity and decision-making through better-informed asset management. This occurs in two main ways. Firstly, using asset tracking software in real-time helps organisations to make better decisions about asset deployment. Cloud asset tracking systems can permit users of assets—such as company delivery drivers, for example—to update the system remotely, making for better minute-by-minute decisions, which should lead to upturns in productivity. When it comes to more strategic decision-making, an asset management system will be invaluable in providing data and analytics over which classes of assets have been most beneficial to the company concerned and which have generated greater business risk. Furthermore, identifying so-called ghost assets will help overcome the issue of keeping assets on a company's accounts that no longer offer any commercial value.

What are the features of fixed asset management software?

The features of fixed asset management software can be highly specialised. Some deal only with one or two fixed asset classes, such as IT or telecommunications equipment, while others will help organisations manage all fixed assets within a single software package. Overall, the various asset monitoring solutions available today will offer many of the same asset management tools within their array of features. Here are some of the most common features of fixed asset management software:

  • Fixed asset check-in and check-out: improve operational productivity when fixed assets are shared among employees, teams, and even projects with an asset check-in and check-out feature. Today's generation of fixed asset software programs often allows businesses to track the use of assets in the field. Where high-value items are allocated to certain teams or jobs—such as construction equipment—the time they have been in the field can be monitored. This allows for better billing, either internally within a large corporate structure or to the client directly for the use of such equipment. This feature also helps to keep tabs on company assets that are in the field to ensure that they're not being used for purposes other than those they're designed for. A good check-in and check-out feature is ideal for companies with high-value assets, but it also suits smaller ones that hire out or lend equipment to their clients.
  • Inventory management: keep track of fixed and other types of asset with an improved inventory management system. For example, by computerising warehouse operations and stock control, the length of time it takes to find an asset and pick it from storage can be faster. This fact alone can help to shorten lead times and, therefore, improve customer satisfaction ratings. In many cases, asset management solutions provide a dashboard for users to monitor all of their inventory and stock control processes. This feature is common in the best fixed asset tracking software because it means firms are able to view their stock levels of assets at a glance and gain almost instant notifications when certain parts or assemblies are running low. In turn, this can help buyers to order in advance before stock becomes too depleted, allowing manufacturing businesses, in particular, to run with fewer breaks in operation due to low stock levels.
  • Asset tracking systems: understand where assets are and what use they are being put to, if any. These days, asset tracking is a very important feature of many asset management systems. By deploying scanning technology that picks up on encoded information on the side of assets, it is possible for businesses to track assets as they move around. Barcoding technology, for example, means that managers can obtain real-time information about all of their assets in a warehouse, on a factory floor, or even when they are in transit between sites. Knowing where things are is clearly beneficial, but this is not the only advantage of these sorts of asset management tools. With asset tracking systems as a part of the fixed asset management software, it is possible to calculate the costs associated with moving assets. How many times does asset A move back and forth needlessly? Is there a case for the company to purchase a second or third asset to augment the current number? Monitoring the time it takes to move assets around and identifying potential issues associated with such movements helps businesses make better plans for both their immediate and long-term needs.
  • Computer maintenance management system (CMMS): gain an advantage in understanding computer assets with a dedicated CMMS feature. After all, one of the major fixed assets that nearly all businesses have these days is computer equipment. It is not just desktops and laptops, either but tablets, networking devices, smartphones, and video conferencing equipment that comes under this asset class. With much of this equipment deployed in the field or in the homes of employees nowadays, it can become increasingly costly for firms to keep track of it all. A CMMS feature allows IT professionals to see, at a glance, who is responsible for what equipment and where it should be. Equally, it will help them track which software is installed where, which can help greatly when new packages or updates need to be rolled out. Equally, a CMMS module will mean that preventative maintenance work through routine inspections becomes easier to manage. In the end, proper maintenance of IT equipment is not just about maintaining the hardware itself but ensuring it is secure and that data held on it cannot fall into the wrong hands even if it were to be lost. For some companies these days, CMMS is considered to be a business-critical feature for this very reason.
  • Work order management features: obtain better results from field workers with a work order management feature. In many cases, asset monitoring solutions are designed for manufacturing and industrial business, but they can also be of great use in the service sector. For instance, if the asset that makes a business run effectively is an engineer and their equipment in the field, then deploying them more efficiently will lead to greater productivity. Some asset management software provides a work order management functionality that can help to make better use of people in the field who are providing services. Some function on a geographical basis and can even assign new jobs to the nearest available service provider or engineer automatically. Others allow senior managers to assess the productivity of individuals, for example, by producing metrics on their response times and the number of other assets, such as spare parts and consumables, they use up in the process of carrying out fixes.
  • Predictive maintenance functions: gain foresight into when fixed assets need to be maintained. In some cases, fixed asset software programs provide information on when the last time an asset was inspected or used or underwent a repair. Although this can help establish the asset's expected lifecycle, it does not always predict when a maintenance inspection will be of most benefit. In the majority of cases, this would be just before it suffers a failure or requires a new component. What a predictive maintenance feature offers is the chance to take a more proactive approach with asset maintenance. Such features use various metrics, such as when the last time a similar asset failed, to establish when would be the most opportune moment to take an asset offline and carry out preventative maintenance. Like plenty of finance software on the market these days, artificial intelligence (AI) is used to help make such predictions. AI does the big number crunching to keep assets working and for businesses to continue to derive economic benefits from them for longer.

What should be considered when purchasing fixed asset management software?

When purchasing fixed asset management software, there are a number of considerations to be aware of. The global market in asset management software is driven by numerous factors, including technical innovations, an increased focus on driving down energy consumption derived from assets, and demand for fixed assets across numerous industry verticals.

  • What functionality does fixed asset management software offer? The level of functionality that a software-based asset management system provides is likely to differ from developer to developer. Some are very feature-rich and will provide just about every type of function that could be wished for. Obviously, these tend to come with a higher attendant cost and will often be suited to very large organisations which have many assets to manage. Smaller businesses and those with fewer bases of operation may not need this level of sophistication, and consequently, a simpler fixed asset management package may be a better option. Some SMEs will find that a basic asset tracking system is all they need to manage their equipment, while others will need to budget for some of the best fixed asset tracking software available. It is important to identify the key business needs before purchasing any fixed asset software programs so that the functionality offered in the application will truly meet all of the firm's commercial requirements.
  • Are tailored asset monitoring solutions preferable to off-the-peg software? Both bespoke asset monitoring solutions and standardised software systems are available for fixed asset management purposes, and both have their pros and cons. Standard systems tend to be simpler to operate, easier to get up and run with and have fewer installation issues. They will also often integrate with other software systems that a company might already be using, such as their accounts package. On the other hand, a bespoke solution means being able to perform asset management activities in highly specialised industries that may have uncommon asset classes to take care of. Although a tailored approach is likely to be more expensive than a standard one, the cost reductions involved can mean that this is a more productive way forward, depending on the nature of the company concerned.
  • Would cloud-based asset management tools be useful? Using cloud-based asset management tools is very useful in certain circumstances. As opposed to on-premise software, a cloud-based approach means that employees will be able to update the system from any location. This is likely to appeal to firms with assets in the field, such as those which send repair engineers to customers' sites or deploy heavy plant machinery on building sites. That said, cloud-based asset management software is also useful in organisations that have shifted over to hybrid forms of working and no longer require employees to always come into the office, a working practice that an on-premise solution could potentially hamper. In some cases, a cloud-based fixed asset management system will mean that lower maintenance and upgrade costs are associated with the software since the developer rolls out to all of its clients in one fell swoop rather than on a case-by-case basis. Nevertheless, some firms still prefer on-premise solutions, so a cloud-based alternative is not always the right way to proceed in all cases.
  • Is it possible to schedule a demonstration of the asset management system? It should be possible to trial a fixed asset management software package or, at least, to see a demonstration of it in action before buying it. Some software developers will allow potential new clients to try out the full version of their software for a limited period of time before giving them the option to pay for it. Others will offer one or two licenses freely, but more will need to be paid for, or they won't be renewed. Many organisations will trial at least two or three different software systems to work out which is the best fit for their current needs. However, it is important to also have at least some understanding of the other asset management tools on offer. After all, commercial priorities can change, and firms that have tied themselves into a software system that cannot be upgraded with further modules or features may end up regretting their decision.

Fixed asset management software trends have an ongoing impact on the evolution of this software. It is not just asset managers and IT professionals who are calling for more functionality with their asset monitoring solutions today. These days, a project manager is just as likely to use asset management software even if it is only a part of their job to track and monitor company assets. This means that software developers have sometimes pushed their asset management products in certain directions, often to fulfil particular market niches. That said, some discernible trends in asset management system development are identifiable. Here are some of the latest advancements:

  • Greater use of the internet of things (IoT) in CMMS: Firstly, the IoT extends the capabilities of many types of software, including asset management solutions. However, it is especially effective in CMMS where it is now being used beyond the usual assets of company-owned computers and mobile devices. These days, asset management systems focussing on CMMS will also be able to offer management of when and how apps are accessed. Smart fridges and TVs, for example, are as likely to be audited with an advanced CMSS system as a laptop. Furthermore, with the latest sensing devices and appropriate software layers, IoT allows such systems to track hardware as it moves around a facility or even outside, thanks to global positioning system (GPS) technology. This means asset tracking software can work virtually anywhere. Indeed, some CMMS can now communicate with equipment and record relevant data about its performance remotely, thereby assisting with end of life and maintenance schedules.
  • More focus on software integration and configuration possibilities: Asset management software developers can call on some advanced protocols in the form of application programming interfaces (APIs) to improve software integration and increase the number of configuration possibilities. This is something that more and more developers are taking seriously since—if their platform can integrate with others—it is more likely to be purchased alongside a legacy system. So long as users can configure their asset management system themselves or have the developer do it for them, it could make for a much more impressive option without the need for a fully bespoke solution. In short, by making it possible for different programs to work with one another, greater functionality can be achieved in asset management. Moreover, a well-designed API will often add another level of security. This is an important consideration when importing data from one system to another, whether it is to streamline supply orders, update inventory control databases, or help decide on appropriate ongoing maintenance operations.
  • Mobile-friendly design for handheld asset scanning: In common with many business-use software systems nowadays, fixed asset management systems are becoming more mobile-friendly—a trend that looks set to remain. The ability to view and input data from a mobile device is particularly noteworthy with asset tracking software. This is because fixed asset software programs that track assets usually do so by scanning them. A handheld barcode scanner would traditionally be used, then have its data uploaded to the software system via a computer terminal. However, mobile devices can scan assets just as easily nowadays and—even better for many fast-moving firms—they can upload their data to a centralised asset management system without any unnecessary delay. Furthermore, other technologies used by mobile devices can also be used to scan information on close-by assets, such as Bluetooth or radio frequency identification (RFID). This means that securely encrypted asset management data becomes available to all as assets move, are used up or replenished, making for a much more streamlined operation thanks to devices that are now commonplace in the workplace.