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Asset

In business and accounting an asset is anything owned, whether in possession or by right to take possession, by a person or a group actiong together, e.g. a company, the value of which can be expressed in monetary terms.

Assets may be classified in many ways. The principal distinction normally made for business purposes is between:

  • fixed assets and
  • current assets.

Other business subdivisions include intangible assets, that is, those assets which, though not visible, add to the earning power of the business, e.g. goodwill[?], patents, copyrights, etc. (also called invisible assets); liquid assets, which are a subdivision of current assets and also categories labelled trade investments,quoted investments, etc.

In the balance sheet of a company certain divisions are required by law, which varies from country to country.

Current assets

Those are assets continually turned over in the course of a business during normal business activity. Examples: debtors, stock, cash and work in progress. The phrase net current assets (also callled working capital) is often used and refers to the total of current assets less the total of current liabilities.

Fixed assets

Assets which are purchases for continued and long-term use in earning profit in a business. Examples: land, buildings, machinery, etc. They are written off against profits over their anticipated life by charging an annual amount calculated so as to eliminate the original cost (historical cost), less scrap value, over that period. (see depreciation[?]).

See also: Financial markets, Finance, Liability, Property


In economics, an asset is defined as a resource used to create economic wealth.

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