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In financial accounting, an asset is any resource owned by a business or an economic entity. It is anything (tangible or intangible) that can be owned or controlled to produce value and that is held by an economic entity and that could produce positive economic value. Simply stated, assets represent value of ownership that can be converted into cash (although cash itself is also considered an asset). The balance sheet of a firm records the monetary value of the assets owned by that firm. It covers money and other valuables belonging to an individual or to a business.
One can classify assets into two major asset classes: tangible assets and intangible assets. Tangible assets contain various subclasses, including current assets and fixed assets. Current assets include inventory, accounts receivable, while fixed assets include buildings and equipment. Intangible assets are non-physical resources and rights that have a value to the firm because they give the firm an advantage in the marketplace. Intangible assets include goodwill, copyrights, trademarks, patents, computer programs, and financial assets, including financial investments, bonds and stocks.
- O'Sullivan, Arthur; Sheffrin, Steven M. (2003). Economics: Principles in Action. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall. p. 272. ISBN 978-0-13-063085-8.
- Siegel, J. G.; Dauber, N.; Shim, J. K. (2005). The Vest Pocket CPA. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0471708759. OCLC 56599007.There are different methods of assessing the monetary value of the assets recorded on the Balance Sheet. In some cases, the Historical Cost is used; such that the value of the asset when it was bought in the past is used as the monetary value. In other instances, the present fair market value of the asset is used to determine the value shown on the balance sheet.
- J. Downes, J. E. Goodman, Dictionary of Finance & Investment Terms, Barron's Financial Guides, 2003
- J. Downes, J. E. Goodman, Dictionary of Finance & Investment Terms, Barron's Financial Guides, 2003; and J. G. Siegel, N. Dauber & J. K. Shim, The Vest Pocket CPA, Wiley, 2005.