Asset Management

What Is an Inventory Asset?

May 11, 2021 • 3 min read

From law firms to art galleries to boutiques to autoshops, many businesses track some sort of inventory. While some companies may need to track traditional inventory, other companies only need to manage their inventory assets

In this article, we’ll define inventory assets. Then, we’ll explain the three different ways businesses might track those assets.

What is an inventory asset?

An inventory asset is an item your business uses or owns, like a printer, a desk, or a nice piece of art. 

While typical inventory is sellable or consumable, most businesses use inventory assets over and over again. This reality makes tracking them essential. After all, if your company owns something valuable, stakeholders will want to know where it is, what condition it’s in, and who has it. 

Related: Why is asset tracking important?

Here are some examples of inventory assets:

  • Office furniture 
  • Electronics, including laptops, phones, and cameras
  • Art and decor
  • Party supplies
  • Machinery and equipment

How to track inventory assets

Now that you know about inventory assets let’s talk about how you can track them! In general, there are three ways to track inventory assets: using a sheet of paper, using a spreadsheet, or using inventory software

Naturally, each asset management system has its own set of pros and cons. Here’s a little bit more about the three methods of tracking inventory and assets:

Pen-and-paper asset tracking

If you use a sheet of paper or a Word document to track your assets, your company practices the most basic version of asset management. While this method is cheap and straightforward, it’s outdated and quite time-consuming. Tracking inventory manually tends to work only for the smallest businesses that own only a few dozen or so assets. 

Spreadsheet asset tracking

Next, many companies use inventory spreadsheets to track their assets. Inventory spreadsheets are an inexpensive way to manage assets, but they do have some significant shortcomings. Namely, spreadsheets are highly error-prone. It’s so, so easy to jumble numbers and names during data entry. 

Another problem with spreadsheets: it’s hard to differentiate products that sound alike or are similar in other ways. Since spreadsheets don’t display images, barcodes, or QR codes correctly, distinguishing between two similar assets can be quite hard. 

Spreadsheets that aren’t synced to the cloud are also quickly outdated, inaccurate, or corrupted. 

Inventory management software for asset tracking

An inventory app being used on a laptop shows barcodes and QR codes being created, scanned and printed.

Finally, more and more businesses are using inventory management software to track their assets. Modern inventory software and inventory apps are usually easy to use, inexpensive, and built to be customized. 

When looking for inventory software to track assets, insist on a product that:

  • Offers a free version
  • Allows you to test out powerful, paid features in a free trial
  • It makes it easy to customize the product
  • Offers in-app barcodes and QR code scanning–and works with external scanners, too
  • Allows you to generate and print your custom barcodes and QR codes
  • Alerts you when an item is running low or is approaching expiration, warranty, or rental period end
  • Provides customizable, easy-to-generate reports
  • Allows you to track inventory across multiple locations
  • Offers access on phone, tablet, and computer

Ready to track your assets? Why not give Sortly a try, absolutely free!