Tangible assets

Tangible assets refer to physical items or properties that have a clear, measurable value and can be seen or touched, such as buildings, machinery, inventory, and cash.
Updated: Jun 5, 2024

3 key takeaways

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  • Tangible assets are physical items with measurable value, crucial for the operational and financial health of a business.
  • They can be classified into various types, including fixed assets, current assets, and inventory.
  • Understanding tangible assets is essential for assessing a company’s financial position, operational efficiency, and investment potential.

What are tangible assets?

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Tangible assets are physical assets that have a finite monetary value and can be seen, touched, and measured. These assets are vital for the daily operations and long-term viability of a business. Tangible assets are recorded on a company’s balance sheet and can include everything from buildings and machinery to inventory and cash.

Tangible assets are often contrasted with intangible assets, which are non-physical assets like patents, trademarks, and goodwill. Both types of assets are important, but tangible assets are particularly critical for companies in manufacturing, retail, and other sectors that rely heavily on physical goods and infrastructure.

Types of tangible assets

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  • Fixed assets: These are long-term assets used in the production of goods and services. Examples include buildings, machinery, vehicles, and equipment. Fixed assets are typically depreciated over their useful lives.
  • Current assets: These are short-term assets that can be converted into cash within one year. Examples include cash, accounts receivable, and inventory.
  • Inventory: This includes raw materials, work-in-progress, and finished goods that are held for sale in the ordinary course of business.

Examples of tangible assets

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  • Buildings and real estate: Offices, factories, warehouses, and retail stores owned by a business.
  • Machinery and equipment: Manufacturing equipment, office equipment, computers, and vehicles used in daily operations.
  • Inventory: Products available for sale, raw materials, and work-in-progress items.
  • Cash and cash equivalents: Physical cash, bank deposits, and other highly liquid assets.

How are tangible assets used in business?

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  • Production: Tangible assets like machinery and equipment are essential for producing goods and services. Efficient use of these assets can improve productivity and profitability.
  • Collateral: Tangible assets can be used as collateral for securing loans and other forms of financing, providing lenders with a tangible guarantee.
  • Depreciation: Businesses can depreciate tangible assets over their useful lives, which reduces taxable income and provides a more accurate picture of an asset’s value over time.
  • Financial analysis: Tangible assets are a critical component of a company’s balance sheet and are used to assess the company’s financial health and operational efficiency. Investors and analysts examine the value and condition of tangible assets to make informed investment decisions.

Understanding tangible assets is crucial for evaluating a company’s financial position, operational capabilities, and investment potential. For further exploration, consider studying how tangible assets are valued, managed, and reported in financial statements, as well as the role of asset depreciation and maintenance in business operations.

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AI Financial Assistant
Arti is a specialized AI Financial Assistant at Invezz, created to support the editorial team. He leverages both AI and the Invezz.com knowledge base, understands over 100,000... read more.