5 reasons to beware of the fixed asset spreadsheet

5 reasons to beware of the fixed asset spreadsheet

Beware of the fixed asset spreadsheet

It is the age old question in fixed assets. Why pay for fixed asset software when you can keep track of it on the trusty office spreadsheet?
We recently came across an article by Liz Fisher in Accounting & Business which dates back to 2003 (view it here) and most of the issues she raised are as true now as they were then. In an age of increasing pressure on budgets, it can be hard to justify the expenditure of rolling out a new fixed asset or asset management system. Here are 5 reasons why it may just be false economy to go cheap.

1. No audit trail

Spreadsheets have no audit trail. Sure you can do some pretty fancy things with macros and Visual Basic in the background, but in the end someone will always find a way round it (I know, I have tried often enough). Any decent fixed assets software will have a comprehensive and secure audit trail, so when the auditors start asking awkward questions about your assets, you don’t get that sinking feeling in your stomach.

2. It doesn’t really save you time

Researching, purchasing and learning a new fixed assets solution can be time consuming, so surely it makes sense to stick with what you know? The truth is, once you add in the amount of time it takes you to start unpicking the gaps in your data every month and manually creating postings back to the general ledger, it soon looks a bit less sensible.
Frustrated with the fixed asset spreadsheet

3. Single point of failure

An accounting friend at a large financial services firm in the UK repeatedly warned me of the risks of using any system that only one person fully understands. Good advice, especially if he had listened to it himself. When one of his team left suddenly, it soon became very clear that no-one else understood the spreadsheets he had been using for the last few years. They had just pressed the ‘report’ button and he looked after the rest. Fixed asset spreadsheets don’t usually come with a very good support plan!

4. Size does matter

It made sense at the time, after all who needs an expensive system to track a few desktops, a photocopier and the microwave? 5 years down the line, business has been good and you now have to try and migrate several thousand assets from your spreadsheet to your new fixed asset register. Most fixed asset software will allow you to do a bulk import, but it is still going to get more complicated the longer you leave it.

5. One size doesn’t fit all

Every area of the business needs to report on fixed assets in a different way. Whilst a commercial solution will do this (to varying degrees), your old fixed asset spreadsheet probably doesn’t. Most often the spreadsheet was started by and designed for one specific department and each area of the business had it’s own one. When you start multiplying that across different offices, divisions and even countries the chances of getting a coherent picture of your fixed asset register rapidly shrink.

For more information on choosing asset management software or FMIS’ range of products, please see our product pages or contact one of the team directly at sales@fmis.co.uk or on +44 (0) 1227 773003.

Choosing asset management software - 10 steps guide

Fixed asset management software guide

fixed asset management software guide- 10 steps guide

Fixed asset management software guide

10 steps to follow and 10 questions you need to ask

10 Steps Fixed Asset Management Software Guidefixed asset management software guide software - Download guide
Choosing the right fixed asset management and tracking software for your business can be a complicated process, so we have put together the 10 Steps Asset Management Software Guide to help guide you it. The number of different solutions and providers can make finding the right option pretty difficult if you are not sure what you need. Over 25 years’ experience in providing a range of leading asset management software and solutions have highlighted the importance of asking the right questions before you start. Now we have condensed all these into one comprehensive guide. We’ll cover the 10 simple steps to take and the 10 tough questions you need to ask when choosing asset management software.

10 simple steps

Changing any system can be daunting, particularly when it needs to be closely integrated with other existing systems. Our experience is that breaking down the process into a number of steps makes the transition manageable, far more likely to go smoothly and easier to schedule. These 10 steps will help ensure that you have considered not only the immediate issues, but that your ultimate asset management system meets the long term needs of your business.

  • Step 1 Understand the need
  • Step 2 Pick a partner not a product
  • Step 3 Map the asset life cycle
  • Step 4 Decide how to code your assets
  • Step 5 Select an asset management system
  • Step 6 Integrate related systems
  • Step 7 Decide how best to use barcoding
  • Step 8 Audit and reconcile
  • Step 9 Implement with care and assistance
  • Step 10 Maintain, maintain, maintain!
10 Tough questions

A good salesman can make almost any product look like a great option in a quick one off demo, but making the right long term decision when choosing asset management software means asking the tough questions that aren’t always answered in the brochure. If the product is really up to the task, the provider won’t mind going through these 10 tough questions:

  • Q1 How easy is it to use and how easy is it to maintain?
  • Q2 Are all depreciation methods supported – for every country, legal entity and requirement?
  • Q3 Is the system multi-company, multi-currency and multi-book?
  • Q4 Can the system be tuned to reflect my own specific requirements?
  • Q5 Are reporting and enquiry facilities comprehensive, flexible and easy to use?
  • Q6 Can the system handle real-life mistakes and problems?
  • Q7 Will it work with my existing systems and be accessible from any location?
  • Q8 Does the system cover each and every aspect of asset management?
  • Q9 Can the system be used for budgeting and forecasting?
  • Q10 How exactly does month end work?

fixed asset management software guide software - Download guide

For more information on asset management software or FMIS’ range of products, please see our product pages or contact one of the team directly at sales@fmis.co.uk or on +44 (0) 1227 773003.

 

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