What is an asset

Last updated: 2024-05-01
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Assets from a business perspective

An asset (or business asset) is anything that has some positive economic value, usefulness or importance for the organization, because it needs it for running the business. While most definitions focus on assets from an accounting perspective, there are other viewpoints to consider, which we will explain here.

  • In general, a company’s assets encompass any useful items, resources, or even individuals that possess value.
  • These assets are essential for the business to operate successfully. 
  • Assets can include finances, products and services, information, specific people, technology, and other tangible or intangible resources. 
  • It doesn't matter if the asset is tangible intangible or if you directly own it.
  • Organizations safeguard their assets in proportion to their significance. 
  • Assets do not need to be owned, for example people are assets because companies need people to keep things running, create products, or offer services
  • Importantly, assets do not always need to be owned; for instance, people are considered assets because companies rely on them to keep operations running, create products, and provide services
what is an business asset

Definitions of assets are different in different areas

Definitions of assets vary across different areas within an organization. Management perspectives on assets may diverge, leading to distinct viewpoints that do not always align.

Finance and Accounting Perspective

  • Financial accounting views assets from an accounting standpoint and categorizes them based on accounting standards.
  • These categories include long-term, short-term, tangible, and intangible assets.

Occupational Safety and Risk Management Perspective

  • Occupational safety considers assets related to buildings, infrastructure, and other elements that impact employee health and safety.
  • These assets are crucial for maintaining a safe workplace.
  • Such assets represent potential risks to workplace safety and must be either improved or protected.

IT Security Perspective

  • Information security focuses on IT assets essential for the operation of information systems.
  • These assets are vulnerable to information security risks and therefore require protection or management.

Examples of business assets

To get a better idea of what business assets are in your organization, try to name anything in your organization about that can say "without this, we won't run". Business assets are therefore.

  • Funds, money, finances
  • Infrastructure, equipment, buildings and other objects
  • Instruments, machines, tools and other movable equipment
  • Technology
  • Specific people, employees
  • Information and data
  • Knowledge of people
  • Hardware, IT equipment, IT services, data media
  • Software
  • Outsourced services
  • Utilities - energy supply, internet connection, water, gas and the like

How Aptien GRC will help with asset management

  • Asset library overview is part of risk management, GRC solution