What Is a Fixed Asset in Accounting? With Examples


Simply put, this means that you need to account for any decrease in value of your fixed asset. Types of fixed assets common to small businesses include computer hardware, cell phones, equipment, tools and vehicles. While noncurrent assets are owned, noncurrent liabilities are long-term debt obligations – such as long-term leases and bonds payable. However, property, plant, and equipment costs are generally reported on financial statements as a net of accumulated depreciation. The primary objective of a business entity is to be profitable and increase the wealth of its owners.

  • This category includes cash, accounts receivable, and short-term investments.
  • Most fixed assets decrease in value–a van gets old, a computer slows down, a tool wears out.
  • These assets are not intended for resale and are anticipated to help generate revenue for the business in the future.
  • There will be separate fixed-asset accounts for land, land improvements, leasehold improvements, buildings, equipment, machinery, furniture, fixtures, and vehicles.
  • For their class project, they started silk-screening vintage album cover designs onto tanks, tees, and yoga pants.

Property, plant, and equipment are also called fixed assets, meaning they are physical assets that a company cannot easily liquidate or sell. PP&E assets fall under the category of noncurrent assets, which are the long-term investments or assets of a company. Noncurrent assets like PP&E have a useful life of more than one year, but usually, they last for many years. Fixed assets—also known as tangible assets or property, plant, and equipment (PP&E)—is an accounting term for assets and property that cannot be easily converted into cash. The word fixed indicates that these assets will not be used up, consumed, or sold in the current accounting year.

The proper classification of fixed assets

Due to operational changes, the depreciation expense needs to be periodically reevaluated and adjusted. In accounting, fixed assets are physical items of value owned by a business. Examples of fixed assets include tools, computer equipment and vehicles. Fixed assets help a company contributions make money, pay bills in times of financial trouble and get business loans, according to The Balance. They are noncurrent assets that are not meant to be sold or consumed by a company. Instead, a fixed asset is used to produce the goods that a company then sells to obtain revenue.

The asset’s value decreases along with its depreciation amount on the company’s balance sheet. The corporation can then match the asset’s cost with its long-term value. The term fixed asset refers to a long-term tangible piece of property or equipment that a firm owns and uses in its operations to generate income. The general assumption about fixed assets is that they are expected to last, be consumed, or be converted into cash after at least one year.

Assets such as equipment, machinery, buildings, vehicles, and more are assets commonly described as property, plant, and equipment (PP&E). PP&E is listed on a company’s balance sheet by adding its value minus accumulated depreciation. PP&E provides key functionality to help generate economic value to a company.


Current assets are reported separately from non-current assets under the “Current Assets” section. They are reported at their book value at the end of the accounting period in different categories based on nature, their use, and the depreciation rate. Equipment and machinery (sometimes they are kept in separate accounts) are those major tools and implements used in the operation of the business.

Depreciation of Fixed Assets

All the amounts necessary to get the asset ready for use are included as part of the cost. These amounts commonly include the cost of the item, sales tax, and delivery and installation costs. In our example, the first year’s double-declining-balance depreciation expense would be $58,000×40%,or$23,200$58,000×40%,or$23,200.

Fixed Assets vs. Current Assets:

In the current example, both straight-line and double-declining-balance depreciation will provide a total depreciation expense of $48,000 over its five-year depreciable life. When capitalizing an asset, the total cost of acquiring the asset is included in the cost of the asset. This includes additional costs beyond the purchase price, such as shipping costs, taxes, assembly, and legal fees. For example, if a real estate broker is paid $8,000 as part of a transaction to purchase land for $100,000, the land would be recorded at a cost of $108,000.

Leasehold improvements are improvements to leased space that are made by the tenant, and typically include office space, air conditioning, telephone wiring, and related permanent fixtures. Land improvements include expenditures that add functionality to a parcel of land, such as irrigation systems, fencing, and landscaping. Besides the materials and labor required for construction, this account can also contain architecture fees, the cost of building permits, and so forth. Plant Accounting began taking digital pictures of capital equipment in 1997. If you would like a picture of an asset, e-mail your request to Plant Accounting. Over 1.8 million professionals use CFI to learn accounting, financial analysis, modeling and more.

It’s often used when comparing more than one company as a potential investment. Fixed assets are tangible (physical) items or property that a company purchases and uses for the production of its goods and services. The furniture and fixtures account is one of the broadest categories of fixed assets, since it can include such diverse assets as warehouse storage racks, office cubicles, and desks. The buildings account may include the cost of acquiring a building, or the cost of constructing one (in which case it is transferred from the Construction in Progress account). If the purchase price of a building includes the cost of land, apportion some of the cost to the Land account (which is not depreciated).

What sort of equipment falls under assets?

Therefore, consider the nature of a company’s business when classifying fixed assets. Although the list above consists of examples of fixed assets, they aren’t necessarily universal to all companies. In other words, what is a fixed asset to one company may not be considered a fixed asset to another. However, land is not depreciated because of its potential to appreciate in value.

Vehicles are the cars, trucks, and other transportation equipment that are owned by the company. Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years. For example, if a company’s competitors have ratios of 2.25, 2.5 and 3, the company’s ratio of 3.75 is high compared with its rivals. Charlene Rhinehart is a CPA , CFE, chair of an Illinois CPA Society committee, and has a degree in accounting and finance from DePaul University. Below is a portion of Exxon Mobil Corporation’s (XOM) quarterly balance sheet from Sept. 30, 2018.