In general terms, assets are anything of value owned by someone or something. Assets can be anything from a building to a copyright. They are items that can be converted into cash, and assets can be owned by an individual, company, or government.
In this article, we discuss assets, give you lists (really long lists) of examples of assets, and give some tips on how to get the most out of your assets. We also show you what assets you are specifically likely to see while running your SaaS company.
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With Baremetrics, you can get the most out of your assets by putting them to productive work generating more revenue.
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Properties of an Asset
Assets have three main properties:
- Ownership: Assets can be owned by an individual and that ownership is transferable.
- Economic Value: Assets have a real value and can be sold for cash or traded for other assets.
- Resource: Assets can be used to create an economic benefit.
How do you keep track of assets?
Assets make up the left side of the balance sheet, which is one of the three main operating financial statements (along with the income statement and the statement of cash flows). They are all the items owned by a company. Assets can be purchased using owner’s equity or liabilities. While a liability is everything the company owes (including, strangely, your deferred revenue), assets are all the items a company owns.
Assets can be classified in many different ways. Here are some of the ways that they can be classified:
- Convertibility: Assets can be classified by how easy they are to convert to cash, that is into current and fixed assets.
- Physical Existence: Assets can be classified based on whether they physically exist, that is tangible and intangible assets.
- Usage: Assets can be classified into whether they are used in company operations or not. For example, while an office building is being used for operations, a vacant parcel of land is not currently being used by the company in its operations.
- Owner type: Assets can be classified by the type of owner, that is business, personal, and government assets.
Examples of assets
There are many ways to separate assets into different types. Let’s look at some of the ways we can differentiate assets into different classes.
First, assets can be tangible (things you can touch) or intangible (things you cannot touch). Let’s look at some examples of assets in these classes.
1. Examples of tangible assets
Tangible assets are any assets that you can touch. They are physical goods.
Examples of assets classified as tangible include the following: buildings, cash on deposit, cash on hand, certificates of deposit, commercial paper, corporate bonds, corporate stock, debentures held, equipment, federal agency securities, federal treasury notes, guaranteed investment accounts, inventory, land, loans to members of insurance trusts, loans receivables, marketable securities, money market funds, mortgages (receivable) held directly, mutual funds, notes receivables, repurchase agreements, “restricted” cash and investments, savings accounts, state and local government securities, time deposits, and warrants (to purchase securities).
Depending on the stage of your SaaS enterprise, you are likely to encounter buildings, cash and cash equivalents, and equipment as tangible assets. However, for most SaaS companies, especially young ones, your most valuable assets are likely to be intangible.
2. Examples of intangible assets
Intangible assets are non-physical, meaning they cannot be touched. Their value is attributable to the advantage they represent to a business or organization.
Examples of assets classified as intangible include the following: accounts receivable, blueprints, bonds, brand names, brand recognition, broadcast licenses, buy–sell agreements, chemical formulas, computer programs, contracts, cooperative agreements, copyrights, customer relationships, databases, designs and drawings, distribution rights, development rights, distribution networks, domain names, FCC licenses, film libraries, franchise agreements, goodwill, historical documents, joint ventures, laboratory notebooks, landing rights, licenses, loan portfolios, location value, management contracts, manual databases, manuscripts, medical charts and records, methodologies, mineral rights, musical compositions, natural resources, patents, permits, procedural manuals, product designs, property use rights, proprietary technology, royalty agreements, schematics and diagrams, securities portfolios, security interests, shareholder agreements, solicitation rights, supplier contracts, technology sharing agreements, title plants, trademarks, trade secrets, trained and assembled workforce, training manuals, and use rights for air/water/land.
As a SaaS enterprise, you are likely to possess at some point intangible assets such as accounts receivable, brand names, brand recognition, computer programs, copyrights, customer relationships, databases, designs and drawings, domain names, goodwill, joint ventures, management contracts, product designs, proprietary technology, trademarks, trained and assembled workforce, and training manuals.
Indeed, especially if you rent your premises or have taken the pandemic cue to go permanently work from home, it is likely that most of your assets are the platform you’ve built and the contracts you’ve accumulated.
This is why Baremetrics is so important. It monitors how effectively you are using your resources by measuring your MRR, LTV, and more. It also helps you manage those valuable contracts by preventing involuntary churn.
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3. Examples of non-recognized assets
While most assets appear on your balance sheet, not all of them are permitted by the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). This is usually because they are internally generated and their value on the open market is nil, if they are transferable at all.
Examples of assets that are not recognized include the following: internal quality control processes, internal research and development processes, staff training investments, and the value of a brand image.
Assets can also be separated into personal assets and business assets. Let’s look at some examples of assets in these categories.
4. Examples of personal assets
Of course, individuals or households can also own assets, and they include the following: cash and cash equivalents, certificates of deposit, checking and savings accounts, money market accounts, physical cash, treasury bills, property, land, buildings, collectibles, furniture, jewelry, vehicles, annuities, bonds, the cash value of life insurance policies, mutual funds, pensions, retirement plans, and stocks.
Indeed, as the founder of your SaaS enterprise, your stake in the company (i.e., your equity) is also a personal asset.
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5. Examples of business assets
We do not need to repeat those massive lists above (Though we have some more information for you below), but the assets of your business can be intangible or tangible, recognized or not recognized, and current or fixed.
Current assets are cash and anything that can be turned to cash quickly, while fixed assets are the things that stick around for a longer time and help generate revenue long into the future.
6. Examples of current assets
Current assets are assets that can be converted into cash within a year, and they usually are converted into cash within one fiscal year. They are used to manage the day-to-day operations of your company.
Examples of current assets can be placed into the following categories:
- Cash and cash equivalents: This includes your petty cash, cash in bank accounts, treasury bills, certificates of deposit, etc.
- Marketable securities: These are generally stocks and bonds purchased on open exchanges and can be sold easily.
- Accounts receivables: This is money owed by your customers. (Note that accounts receivable are only used in accrual accounting and not cash accounting.)
- Inventory: These are the physical goods you have on hand for sale. As a SaaS enterprise, you might not have any need for inventory.
7. Examples of fixed assets
Fixed assets are held by the company for a longer period and are usually difficult to sell in a timely manner. They are sometimes grouped together on the balance sheet under the section “property, plant, and equipment”.
Examples of fixed assets include the following: vehicles (such as company trucks), office furniture, machinery, buildings, and land.
Another major difference with fixed assets is that you can often use depreciation to slowly recognize fixed assets as expenses. We discuss this further when considering the income statement.
What is the difference between assets, recurring revenue, and cash?
Assets are everything your company possesses, even if you don’t own it. That is, assets can be purchased with equity or liabilities.
A simple personal example would be your house. Your house is your asset whether you have a mortgage or not. If you have a mortgage, the part you own is your equity while the mortgage amount is a liability. Whatever share you own, the asset is in your possession.
Recurring revenue is a stream of revenue and not an asset as recognized by GAAP. However, the “gap” between GAAP and the boots-on-the-ground reality of the SaaS world means that you likely track your MRR and ARR as closely as traditional companies track their contract assets, and certainly your customer relationships and their contracts are intangible assets.
Cash is the simplest asset. It is the most current, most tangible asset available, and it deserves your attention. Cash problems can often precede other financial issues, and in the SaaS world they are often caused by credit card failures.
Use Baremetrics to measure your assets, recurring revenue, and cash
As easy as it is to write up a company’s MRR or ARR once the variables are extracted, the numbers are messier before they get to that point. Your SaaS company likely uses payment processing software, and the data required to compute all required MRR values can be all over the place. Baremetrics can help with this by computing your MRR, ARR, and many other metrics automatically.
Baremetrics can help you keep track of your most valued assets—your customers and their contracts. The crystal-clear dashboard gives you a holistic view of your expenses, profit, and forecasted cash flow for specific timeframes.
Baremetrics’ dunning tools can even help keep the cash flowing into your company by monitoring dunning.
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