Blog Post

Don't Use a Spreadsheet for Fixed Asset Tracking

Published on

October 3, 2022

Ira Apt

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Sage Fixed Asset software, many of our clients are still using it and even a few new ones buying it.

As you’ll see below, it definitely makes sense to stop using a spreadsheet for Fixed Asset tracking.  But before investing in a legacy software product it makes more sense to do a technology review on your whole accounting system.  Don’t keep your FA data in a separate system, improve accuracy and simplicity by including FA in a cloud-based ERP system like Acumatica.

Why Use the Spreadsheet Strategy for Your Fixed Asset Management?

It might get the job done, but the shift to digitizing business workstreams for improved efficiency and cost savings has long since started. Managing fixed assets is no different. So why procrastinate?

Fixed asset depreciation is one of the most important financial processes in any business and a good, fixed assets tracking system is so much more multi-dimensional than any spreadsheet can be. 

The bigger the organization, the bigger the strategy requirements, which can definitely weigh heavily on a spreadsheet and show the cracks in the system.

Here are reasons you are going to want to consider for using an automated software solution instead of sticking to your spreadsheet strategy:

  1. Incomplete Reporting. Missing data of any of your assets can lead to tax penalties and/or insurance issues for the company.
  2. Security Risk. Using spreadsheets to track inventory and depreciation expenses is a huge security risk. Financial reporting should be safe from prying eyes and hackers. Spreadsheets lack that. Using a fixed asset management software is a much safer route for protecting your assets.
  3. Growth and Scaling. Tracking business inventory on cumbersome spreadsheets can lead to data entry errors by users and communication breakdowns that can and will negatively impact business. Real-time data tracking and inventory management will help you make better decisions.
  4. User Errors Create Headaches. Have you discovered errors in your formulas when using a spreadsheet for your financial accounting? Manually entering formulas into spreadsheets comes with an average margin of error of at least 1%. Don’t let that percentage cost your business more money. 
  5. You Already Wear Too Many Hats. Intangible assets, capital expenditures, preventative maintenance, and life cycles. Feeling like you’re doing multiple people’s jobs? Imagine being able to scan inventory into your system with a barcode scanner. Time, money, – and headaches – saved.
  6. Running Out of Time During Tax Season. You won’t need to rush at the end of the year to prepare for tax season because the data in your software will be up to speed and compliant with regulations.

How Using Fixed Asset Management Software is Better

Here are some of the major benefits of switching to using fixed asset software versus keeping your outdated spreadsheet strategy:

Tax Compliance Updates Applied Automatically

Tax laws grow more complicated and complex every year. For a growing business, it can be  overwhelming to manage assets correctly, being sure they are properly depreciated and reported. Doing this work manually using spreadsheets can be costly if mistakes are made through human error.

Software solutions include automatic updates of recent legislative tax changes, so calculations are always accurately depicted. By trying to keep up with all of the new tax equations in a spreadsheet by hand, you leave the possibility open for incorrect calculations and the possibility of heavy penalties.

Software helps you ensure you’re always on top of all the changes at all times, without worry. Some software providers even include details about each tax law change as part of the update so you can learn more about them without having to dig for the information on your own.

Smoother Tracking and Depreciating

Legislation can be tough to understand and to follow, and so can some important details about assets be difficult to manage using spreadsheets.

Tracking items such as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) transfers, labor, locations, disposals, materials, and capital investments are a few examples of pertinent information you’ll need and want to easily access and filter on one platform for a quick look at how things are moving.

With an automated solution, you can customize the specific data points you’d like to track, giving you the confidence in the reporting and saving time searching for what you want. 

Some of the best software solutions will allow you to create custom depreciation methods so you can track different types of assets easily, in detail, and in most cases, in real-time.

Easily Reconcile Physical Inventory

15% to 30% of fixed assets were disposed of but inadequately or improperly tracked and tracking data across multiple spreadsheets can make it difficult to spot these discrepancies.

Software solutions offer tools to easily reconcile disposals and transfers so your inventory is always reflected accurately and there is no over- or underpayment of insurance - saving you more time and money.

Automated Planning and Tracking for Projects and Replacements

As it’s time to replace assets or depreciate new ones, you’ll need to start planning for budgets and other resources to make that happen.

Looking at this workflow using an automated software solution, you can easily track assets through their entire lifecycle:

  1. The asset is planned from the beginning; from budgeting to being placed into service.
  2. Depreciation is automated as the asset moves throughout its useful life. 
  3. Manage the physical location of your assets through the lifecycle. This will be much easier with software versus a spreadsheet especially if you relocate or add a new location.
  4. Customizable reporting can generate some insights that are not available via the spreadsheet strategy.

Efficient Workflow Integration

Spreadsheet formulas can break and these inaccuracies can lead to even bigger problems. 

Fixed asset management software integrated with your own purchasing or accounting software will add one more layer of control and simplicity that you simply cannot get from using spreadsheets, alone.

Purchasing data automatically loaded from one area to the other reduces human error and ensures accuracy. An integrated The need for duplicate entries or exporting data between different platforms is negated by an accounting system coupled with fixed asset tracking.

Having this sort of information readily available and easily trackable in cases of burglary, vandalism, or natural disaster can streamline any insurance claim processes you’ll encounter.

Fixed assets may seem complicated at first, particularly because they can be subject to so many depreciation methods, rules, and regulations. If the assets vary in their physical locations, it can be difficult to keep tabs on them all, especially utilizing spreadsheets. 

Enhanced software intelligence gives us a better way to manage the data which ensures cost savings and even enhanced productivity for everyone.

While useful in many ways, spreadsheets can only do so much when it comes to managing fixed assets. After a point, it’s worth much more investing in tracking software that can streamline the process.

Give your company insights into its fixed assets and simplify operational and financial workflows.

If this sounds like something you’re interested in learning more about, contact us. Our team is more than happy to discuss what is best for your organization and what makes sense for you.

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