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What is an Asset Approach?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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An asset approach is a business valuation method that helps to provide a reasonable assessment of the business ownership interest in a given firm. Sometimes known as an asset-based approach or a cost approach, the estimation makes use of data such as the current assets and liabilities held by the company, the cost of replacing those assets, and the amount that could be generated from those assets in the event the company was liquidated. Determining the asset approach is often helpful in measuring the progress or lack thereof of a company from one year to the next, as it helps to provide a snapshot of the financial health of the company at a given point in time.

One of the reasons for calculating the asset approach is to measure any gains or losses in value that the company has sustained since the last business valuation was performed. It is not unusual for even small businesses to engage in this type of valuation on at least an annual basis. By examining each of the assets and liabilities held by the company, it is possible to determine where some sort of net return has occurred with each of the assets, and which liabilities have been decreased or have grown in the interim. The results can help business owners have a better idea of whether the company is moving in a desirable direction or if there is a need to make some changes that would correct any issues and put the company back on track.

Looking closely at both the assets and the liabilities currently held by the company is very important to the asset approach. In general, the idea is to see something of an increase in the net assets of the business. This may mean appreciation of certain assets, such as real estate or stock holdings. At the same time, it can also mean that certain liabilities such as business loans have been retired in the interim, effectively reducing the overall liability held by the company. Under most circumstances, if the asset approach indicates a positive amount of growth in net assets, this is a sign the company is financially sound, or is at least moving closer to that goal.

It is important to note that the results of the asset approach may move upward or downward from one period to the next. This does not necessarily mean that the company is in financial trouble. For example, if during the current period, the company has launched a new project that is not yet producing any type of revenue, there is a good chance that liabilities will be higher for a time, creating a situation in which the net worth of the company is temporarily lower than before. For this reason, it is important to consider all events currently taking place in the life of the company, identify the origin for a negative shift, and determine if the situation will soon correct itself so the net value of the business begins to increase once more.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
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Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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