Still verifying fixed assets on paper?
Have technology make it simple.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. This is a saying that has been used many times, and it is true. This however does not mean that we must stay the same, just because we believe nothing changes.
One of the benefits of assisting various customers with financial programs, is experiencing the different business processes being used by the different companies.
One of the business processes that seems to have not changed at many customers, is the process of verifying their assets. In many instances, it is still done on paper.
This paper-based process does not only have potential to waste time but also cause the auditors to have a mass of papers, that had to have been signed by the owners of the assets.
There are better ways of getting accurate asset verification information and still freeing up the resources to focus on other business areas.
Lets look at the basic business process of doing a full verification, the pain points and then potential solutions.
The main process starts by taking the data from the current fixed asset module. The data for each asset should contain unique identifiers of the asset, the location and the custodian of the asset.
A person then needs to go to each location, and verify which assets are in that location. Whiles doing so, they need to link the asset to that location, identify the person still responsible for that asset as well as assess the condition of the asset.
Once this is done, the custodians responsible for the asset must sign off and confirm that they know they are responsible for the assets identified.
Once this is completed, the condition assessment data can be used to assist with decision making surrounding the replacement, repairs, disposal and life assessment of the assets.
This information must then be returned to the fixed asset register, so that the register is an accurate reflection of what has happed to the assets.
Some of the main pain points surrounding this process are:
- The printed data out of the register can become to much and some pages will be lost or misplaced during the process.
- Identifying all the assets correctly and linking them to the asset register.
- Producing a coherent report on the fly, that a custodian can pursue, and sign for on the spot.
- Updating information on the paper and then having to enter that data back into the fixed asset register.
- Keeping track of which items were found and which not.
- Time, Time, Time. Al of the problems mentioned above causes a asset controller to spend to much time on trying to work around these problems, rather than solving them.
How does technology help with these challenges?
Looking at the most basic is to say, lets put a unique number on each asset to link them to my asset register, and identify them. Taking it a step further we can add a barcode that can be read by a handheld scanner.
We can even use a 2-dimensional QR code to keep critical information on the asset. We can also have an extra step to take a picture of the asset when it is purchased as well as with each verification, to show the physical condition, and support the condition assessment.
Let’s then add a system that links to our existing fixed asset register, or at least allows us to import from an external file the information we need to verify.
Take an extra step and we can have the system give us a snapshot of the fixed asset register, that we can take to any location, with or without internet access and still do our verification.
Keep on adding functions such as having the system show us how many assets are expected in a specific location, for a specific custodian. Have that number be matched with the assets already scanned, and now have the system allow multiple groups to use multiple scanners and the system is intelligent enough to distinguish what result was the latest.
Allow users to take select a condition, scan a serial number, link the assets to their fixed asset category, pin a GPS coordinate for out of office items.
Add bidirectional synchronisation between the asset register and the scanners.
Give the system a on device place where the custodian can peruse the results, confirm the accuracy of the data and then sign for it on the screen. No pen or paper required.
Lastly, have the system associate the user with their e-mail address, so that once committed, the automatic sign off document with details and their signature are mailed to them in PDF format. This provides both the company and the custodian with proof of the verified assets, and the signature of the acceptance.
And lastly have all these functions without printing one piece of paper.
The nett effect of this will be that the users spend more time managing their assets effective, rather than wasting time on paper-based processes.
Technology, systems and apps are already all around us, helping with business functions to produce employees with more time to focus on what is really needed, rather than following an old process that is a waste of valuable time.
The more things change, the more we should ask ourselves: How can we use that change, and do things better?
Specializing in financial systems and having a dedicated division only for fixed asset management, AccTech Systems has various options to assist with the technological landscape.