Scotland - simpler fixed assets | FMIS

Simpler together? Fixed assets in a new Scotland

Scotland - simpler fixed asset tracking | FMIS

3 big changes an independent Scotland would make to fixed asset management

Whether you agree with the Better Together campaign or not, one thing is clear, from an accounting point of view it would certainly be simpler to stay together. Much has been made of big banks such as the Royal Bank of Scotland’s proposed move out of Scotland if there is a yes vote, but the impact for many smaller businesses will be significant as well. Overnight, businesses across the country could become multi-nationals just by virtue of having a branch in Scotland.

Victoria Stanley, Senior Consultant at FMIS, talks about 3 key issues that will need to be considered by fixed asset accountants and management teams in the event of an independent Scotland.

Multi-currency

Bank of England governor Mark Carney and leading figures in Downing Street have made it clear that a straightforward currency union is unlikely. A new Scottish currency could create the need for valuing assets in multiple currencies. For firms using simple Excel based registers or even some off the shelf products, this would be a big challenge.

Multi-company

Having business units in different countries can mean the creation of multiple companies within a group. In addition to the initial complexities of restructuring a business, the changes will need to be reflected in a company’s asset register as well. Simple fixed asset actions like moving an item from one branch to another will now require an inter-company transfer and all the assets will need allocating to one of the companies. Again this is going to get complex when working with a spreadsheet or basic asset management system.

Tax-rules

The SNP has certainly positioned itself as a left of centre party, and as the Guardian points out, a new government would need to fund the creation of new systems and structures, all of which seems to point to increasing not decreasing taxes. Different tax rules mean that assets will need to be treated differently depending on where they are.

Where to now?

At the time of writing, the outcome of the vote is too close to call and any changes may take months or years to come into full effect. The reality is, however, that an independent Scotland would mean significant changes to how businesses record their fixed assets and the nice simple spreadsheet is unlikely to be an option.

FMIS asset management software is multi-company, multi-currency and flexible enough to handle international tax reporting requirements. For more information on FMIS Fixed Assets and other products, please see our product pages or contact one of the team directly at sales@fmis.co.uk or on +44 (0) 1227 773003.

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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Barcoding in Hospitals : NHS Bristol case study

Barcoding in hospitals: Bristol NHS trust uses FMIS software

Barcoding in Hospitals : NHS Bristol case study

Barcoding in hospitals

NHS Trust required a flexible solution

The technician team in the Trust Services division within University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust uses FMIS Barcoding and Equipment modules to keep track of everything from high-end human patient simulators through to laptops and even syringes. The department not only need to be able to track and identify a wide range of fixed assets and inventory across different departments, but also require the flexibility to loan many of them out for periods to other areas of the Trust and beyond.

“We are very unique when it comes to asset management. Three medical departments, very expensive high fidelity human patient simulators, resus manikins, training limbs, flat screen televisions, laptops and MacBooks, other IT and A/V equipment, plus a whole host of other kit right down to boxes of syringes!”

Rob Kozlowski
Technical Support Manager
Equipment and Maintenance

FMIS Equipment and Maintenance module allows a full log of any maintenance work carried out to be logged and future work planned for and scheduled ensuring that maintenance plans are adhered to. The module’s full life cycle tracking functionality combined with the simple creation and disposal of fixed assets means that the purchase, warranty, repair, maintenance, assignment or transfer of equipment is centrally logged and easily accessible to staff members within the team at any time.

 

Integrated barcoding

Integration of FMIS Barcoding with the Equipment and Maintenance module simplified the process of data collection and attribution significantly. FMIS arranged for the scanners and durable branded labels to be sent directly to the Trust in Bristol and worked with their IT departments to ensure that all hardware, IT security and sourcing requirements were met within budget. Even after implementation of the project, FMIS developers worked with the team to provide additional functionality to enable the handling of more complex equipment loans. The ongoing support package means that an experienced developer or consultant is available to answer queries and handle any issues.

For more information on FMIS Equipment, Maintenance and Barcoding products, please see our solutions page or contact one of the team directly at sales@fmis.co.uk or on +44 (0) 1227 773003.

FMIS fixed asset software case study: Express Newspaper Group

Fixed assets audit at the Express

Fixed asset audit at the Express

Fixed assets audit at the Express

The Daily Express Newspaper Group needed to reconcile their fixed asset register entries in PeopleSoft through regular barcode audits. FMIS provided a mechanism where data was extracted using core PeopleSoft routines to identify asset groupings, scope and boundaries. These extracts were loaded into the FMIS Barcoding module and then used to produce a set of automated matching criteria. A set of keywords, codes and classifications were downloaded onto barcode readers which were then used for the final audit at different sites. The key requirement was to audit high-value asset categories.

Express flow diagram

Express flow diagram

Planning and preparation

A number of key boundaries, scopes and objectives are set for sections of the fixed asset register. The key words are analysed from the field asset categories and description fields and used to build up a set of key markers on the barcode scanners.

Extract from PeopleSoft

PeopleSoft has in-built facilities to provide downloads for the fixed assets barcode audit exercise. Some particular audit runs are taken from the test system to prove the concept. Some developer time is required to ensure the pre-built routines are optimised.

Load FMIS matching routines

Using customer and location knowledge, a set of algorithms are loaded into their fixed assets register, allowing the system to automate the matching of items loaded into the barcode scanner with the details uploaded from the fixed asset register.

Conduct audit

Barcode scanners are used to load approximately 250 assets per day. Each asset is barcoded, and certain information entered from operator prompts on the barcode scanner. All data is uploaded through synchronisation.

Find matches and produce mismatch reports

Once the audit is complete matches are run and fine tuned until at least 90% of all equipment items are matched back to the fixed asset register using the intelligence built into the matching algorithm.

Produce bulk adjustments for PeopleSoft

Fixed Assets produces the results file in the correct format for PeopleSoft. This file is uploaded into PeopleSoft and a mass changes batch is run.

Produce final financial account in Fixed Assets

The fixed asset register within PeopleSoft has updated barcode, serial numbers and location information. Any disposals required are also processed. A match has been achieved between the physical barcode register and the fixed asset register.