What Does a Fixed Asset Accountant Do?

Mary McMahon

A fixed asset accountant manages detailed financial records on the fixed assets owned and used by a business. This work includes recording purchases and sales, depreciating assets for tax purposes, and making recommendations on the disposition of fixed assets. A large company may retain its own fixed asset accountant for this work, while smaller businesses rely on the services of a contractor who can perform this task as necessary for the company. Pay can vary, depending on experience and the types of services offered.

A fixed asset accountant working.
A fixed asset accountant working.

To become a fixed asset accountant, it is necessary to hold at least a bachelor's degree in accounting, with a focus on fixed assets, also known as capital assets. In some regions, accountancy is a regulated profession and all accountants must take certifying exams before they can start work. Many also join professional organizations to establish a network of connections and keep up with new developments in the field. These organizations issue publications to help members remain in compliance with regulatory changes and also offer continuing education options like conferences.

Fixed assets are assets a company uses for a year or more in the performance of its operations. Examples can include manufacturing equipment, premises, and company vehicles. The company needs these assets to do business, and does not hold them with the intent of selling them to another party as part of a business operation. This distinguishes them from assets like stock on the shelves of a store. The job of a fixed asset accountant is to keep track of these items.

Companies can write off purchases of fixed assets as a business expense and may be able to write off costs for services and repairs as well. These investments can also depreciate over time. A skilled accountant should be able to maximize the tax benefits for the company. She must keep precise and accurate records to monitor the way assets are used. Tax authorities can request copies of the records for review in an audit, and the accountant should be able to demonstrate that any tax benefits claimed are legitimate.

When a company prepares to buy new fixed assets, it may discuss the situation with the fixed asset accountant to get advice on the nature and timing of the purchase. Companies getting ready to sell fixed assets can also discuss their options with an accountant. He can advise the company on the timing of sales and the best market to sell those assets in to generate returns on the sale.

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