What Is a Physical Asset? Definition, culate, 10+ Facts

It’s easy to imagine that in the age of plastic and virtual currencies, money has no real worth at all. However, real estate is more than just money in the bank. By investing in these sectors, you can diversify your holdings and even grow your wealth.

This article will define physical assets, discuss the many types of physical assets, and discuss the best options for purchasing physical assets.

What Is a Physical Asset?

A “physical asset” is something that has monetary, economic, or trade value but no digital representation. In other words, tangible assets are those that can be felt or handled. The word “physical assets” refers to a company’s buildings, machinery, and stock.

What Is a Physical Asset?

Intangible assets include brand names, patents, trademarks, leases, computer programs, customer lists, franchise agreements, domain names, and trade secrets, while physical assets are the polar opposite.

Understanding Physical Assets

The balance sheet assets serve as the foundation for a company’s day-to-day operations. An organization’s assets are equal to its total liabilities plus the equity of its shareholders. The majority of a company’s core assets are fixed assets.

Tangible assets are true items of value that are used to generate revenue for a firm. It is conceivable to have both current and fixed physical assets.

Current assets include cash, inventories, and marketable securities. Because these products have a short shelf life (typically less than a year), they are easier to liquidate in an emergency.

Fixed assets, on the other hand, are utilised in a company’s day-to-day operations for more than a year and are thus classified as noncurrent assets. Trucks, machinery, office furniture, and buildings are just a few instances of PP&E on the balance sheet.

Revenue on the income statement reflects the cash earned by the company from the sale of goods and services.

“Physical assets” are often illiquid assets that can be sold to cover financial obligations. In a restaurant, for example, physical assets could include things like tables, chairs, freezers, and food.

Although certain tangible assets can be recorded in an inventory or stored in a warehouse, their worth may diminish over time due to wear and tear.

There is a distinction to be made between financial and physical assets. Financial assets include stocks, bonds, and cash, and while their value fluctuates, it does not depreciate.

Accounting for Physical Assets

The purchase price is used to calculate the book value of physical current assets. The itemized expenses should be included on the bill or invoice you receive from the vendor. If the company spent $200,000 on inventory, the financial statement would show this.

Additional fees for the acquisition of physical fixed assets, such as shipment, set-up, and insurance, may apply. A corporation will deduct $517,500 for machinery purchased for $500,000, plus $10,000 in transportation and $7,500 in installation expenditures.

What Is a Physical Asset?

Because of their longer than annual useful lifespan, physical fixed assets are accorded preferential treatment in the books. Businesses use depreciation to spread the expense of purchasing and maintaining fixed assets across the years that such assets will be productively utilised.

This means that the cost of depreciating the asset over time is accounted for in the annual budget for as long as the machinery or equipment is in use.

Physical fixed assets decline with time in practice. The rate at which a company’s assets depreciate may cause its book value to diverge from its market value. Depreciation is recorded as an outflow on the income statement.

Physical assets’ value can also be reduced through damage or obsolescence. When the fair value of an asset goes below its book value, an impairment write-down occurs. Furthermore, the income statement will indicate a loss.

If the carrying amount exceeds the recoverable amount, an impairment loss is recorded for the period. If the book value is less than the amount that can be recovered, no impairment is recorded.

When a fixed asset’s useful life has expired, it might be sold or disposed of for its salvage value. This is the value of the item if it were sold in pieces.

How physical assets work

One’s asset portfolio may include real estate and other tangible possessions. They function because the owner has control over an easily measurable economic gain in the future that stems from a prior transaction (aka when you bought it from the creator or prior owner).

Your investment portfolio is the sum of all your material possessions. Diversification is recommended because of the inherent uncertainty in predicting the performance of any one asset class.

Because of this, it’s important to diversify your holdings and not put all your eggs in one basket.

Physical assets examples

Investing in real estate, for example, entails making a purchase in the hopes of profiting when the property is finally sold. You’re looking for assets that will appreciate in value.

Another option for increasing the leverage of your asset is to invest in land with the purpose of developing something that enhances your income or the value of your home.

What Is a Physical Asset?

You could start a business, farm the land, or build a family home that would last for many years.

These are some of the most common sorts of tangible investments available to the average person.

Paper assets

The “traditional” types of investing are common stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. These resources may already be available to you as a result of your retirement savings and other assets.

Real estate

Another straightforward and accessible investment choice. Both the equity you accumulate and the money you can obtain when you sell your primary property are assets.

You may hold investment property, farmland, or simply a parcel of land with the assumption that its value would increase over time.

Business assets

This is an additional asset choice for those with an entrepreneurial attitude. Whether you choose to maintain a physical shop or conduct your entire business online, you stand to gain and retain significant value from your endeavor.

People frequently form businesses with the intention of eventually selling them, together with all of their assets (physical and intangible), to the highest bidder.


Antiques are valuable for reasons other than their history. Tangible assets might include everything from pieces of art and antiquities to exotic autos and other unusual items.

However, one should proceed with caution because the valuation of such items is more subjective than that of other asset groups. The effect on the property’s resale value could be significant in either direction.


Nonrenewable resources include oil, precious metals, maize, and lumber. Their value is almost entirely controlled by current market supply and demand.

While it is feasible to dabble in this asset class, it is definitely best to understand as much as possible about each industry before investing large sums of money.

Currency assets

Bitcoin and other kinds of investment denominated in a different currency, for example. Some investors find them reassuring because they are not as dependent on the US market or government.

Because they are not as common as US stocks or real estate, they may require further examination.

The best physical assets to buy

The best investment is one that meets your needs and long-term goals. Similarly to how you would diversify your stock holdings, you should diversify the types of physical assets in your investing portfolio.

One of the most significant considerations is whether you’re making a long-term investment or a short-term one in the hopes of profiting quickly. If you buy in a new firm, you may have to wait years before you see a return on your investment in the form of dividends or the sale of your shares.

Commodity investments, such as gold, allow you to buy low and sell high without having to commit to retaining your money for an extended period of time.

Finally, you must strike a balance between accumulating assets and avoiding debt. It is preferable to invest in assets that improve in value rather than depreciate over time.

Why Does a Physical Asset Matter?

Although tangible assets are the most commonly considered, not all assets are substantial. Intangible assets include goodwill, trademarks, and patents.

Asset information, in whatever form it takes, is critical for accurate financial reporting, firm valuation, and in-depth financial analysis.

Companies must report their assets in accordance with guidelines established by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other regulatory bodies.

However, there are a number of generally accepted methods for recording, depreciating, and disposing of assets, so analysts should read the notes to the financial statements as well.

Why is Physical Asset Management Important?

The significance of physical asset management can only be understood if the assets’ purpose within the organization and the procedures taken to maximize their usable life span prior to retirement are well understood.

Products in stock must be checked to ensure they do not expire before being sold. Downtime may be prevented by servicing and maintaining equipment on a regular basis.

Your organization will be able to minimize total cost of ownership while eliminating all of these possible hazards as a consequence of embracing physical asset management.

What Is a Physical Asset?

It’s a complicated operation that must be managed by specialists who are constantly searching for ways to improve things.

When properly executed, you will obtain a long-term advantage that improves not just your bottom line but also the security and reliability of all your personal goods.

What are the Greatest Challenges to Managing the Physical Asset?

Even though physical asset management provides certain challenges, they may be easily overcome with thinking and preparedness.

The greatest challenge for every firm, especially those operating in today’s global globe, is maintaining and growing efficiency while keeping expenditures low and customer satisfaction high. One method is to analyze and maybe alter outdated methods.

Companies striving to meet financial objectives will discover that labor cuts, employee furloughs, and job outsourcing give only a temporary relief.

Physical asset management suffers when there is insufficient employees to do normal maintenance and upkeep. Failures that are unnecessary and otherwise avoidable will continue unless regular maintenance is conducted.

What are Some Key Issues in Physical Asset Management?

1. Physical asset management spans all stages, from the initial concept or acquisition through final disposal. The value of physical assets must be safeguarded by regular maintenance, which is a component of the discipline known as physical asset management.

2. When it comes to managing physical assets, accurate data is critical for making informed decisions. Bad decisions may be prevented by using common sense, experience, and high-quality data.

3. The right physical asset management software will help with asset data gathering and analysis, enabling for better informed decision-making. When it comes time to replace an asset, keeping precise records from acquisition through disposal helps you to compare the pricing of various brands.

What Is a Physical Asset?

4. You should also make certain that your physical asset management system can be used in a range of business contexts. All users are using the same software version and have access to the same real-time data. As a consequence, both your starting and operational expenses may be reduced.

Why is Physical Asset Management Necessary?

Consider having to manually manage the asset lifespan of every PC and laptop in your company. Alternatively, every item in your warehouse. Some items will be misplaced. This is why your firm should have a defined procedure.

Using appropriate physical asset management software can help you achieve this aim more successfully. As a result, it may be useful to you in the following ways:

  • This enables you to manage all of your company’s assets through a single interface.
  • If the program has a mobile component, you will be able to manage your assets no matter where you are.
  • Recognizing and mitigating potential dangers to your property in order to reduce their impact as soon as possible
  • Asset provisioning lifecycle analysis
  • Assisting in the discovery and deletion of inactive assets
  • Creating a preventative maintenance schedule system for all assets to ensure ongoing operation
  • Giving you detailed reports and audits without spending your time
  • Easing the burden on assets that require ongoing repair and care
  • This will free up your time to evaluate the trustworthiness of the materials available.
  • Improving the effectiveness of your resources

Why Use Physical Asset Management System?

At first glance, using an asset management system may appear superfluous. It has the following potential applications:

Increase the revenue generating rate of the asset.
Inform your audience on the steps you’ve taken to improve operational efficiency.

The first step in conserving money is distinguishing between useful and useless goods.

Reporting is more efficient and less time-consuming.

Increase compliance for better results.

Improve your approach to dealing with danger.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Should I have a list of my physical assets?

It is critical to have an up-to-date inventory of your tangible things. Your company’s tangible assets, such as buildings, furniture, automobiles, machinery, and supplies, should all be included.

When should I start my facilities and grounds preparations?

The size and complexity of your infrastructure should dictate your decision on when to begin preparations. If you must get permission before beginning any type of remodeling because you rent the space, you may have to wait until the landlord approves.

You should be aware of your landlord’s or property manager’s goals and expectations. Check out the Decisions/Actions Timeline component for more information.

What should I do about any hazardous materials stored on my grounds?

Hazardous materials include those that are flammable, combustible, explosive, toxic, noxious-corrosive, oxidizable, radioactive, and irritating.

What Is a Physical Asset?

Both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) keep comprehensive lists of potentially hazardous substances that can be obtained for free.

Know what types of hazardous products are stored on your premises and take every precaution to keep them safe. It’s also a good idea to find out if there are any nearby hazardous material storage facilities that might endanger your company’s safety.

What should I do about all the materials and equipment that I have stored outside on my grounds?

Bring in or lock up any supplies and tools you have stored outdoors. If this is not a possibility, they must be relocated to a secure, off-site storage facility.


A physical asset, often known as a tangible asset, can be used to hold value. A physical asset is anything that has value on its own or because of the revenue it creates. Intangible assets, on the other hand, have value but are not physically existent.

Cars are examples of tangible assets since they are physical objects with monetary value. A patent is an example of an intangible asset since it serves to legally protect intellectual property while also generating cash without being physically present.


Oil, also known as black gold, is a tangible asset that can increase in value. Like it or not the global economy still runs on oil. It is a volatile commodity, but over the long run, oil has been an important physical investment asset. Supply and demand determine the price of oil
The main difference between the two is that physical assets are tangible and financial assets are not. Physical assets usually depreciate or lose value due to wear and tear, whereas financial assets do not experience such reduction in value due to depreciation.
The four main types of assets are: short-term assets, financial investments, fixed assets, and intangible assets
What are Physical Assets? Physical assets are tangible assets and can be seen, touched and held, with a very identifiable physical existence. Physical assets include land, machinery, buildings, tools, equipment, vehicles, gold, silver, or any other form of material economic resource.
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Pat Moriarty
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