What is Fixed Asset?

A fixed asset, also known as a non-current asset, is a long-term tangible piece of property or equipment that a company owns and uses in its operations to generate income. In the UK, fixed assets are a crucial part of a company’s balance sheet and play a significant role in the overall financial health and performance of the business.


Key Aspects of Fixed Assets:

  1. Definition:
    • Fixed assets are long-term resources that a company expects to use for more than one year. They are not intended for resale in the ordinary course of business but are used to produce goods, provide services, or for administrative purposes.
  2. Types of Fixed Assets:
    • Property: Land and buildings owned by the company.
    • Plant and Equipment: Machinery, factory equipment, and industrial tools.
    • Vehicles: Company cars, trucks, and other transport vehicles.
    • Furniture and Fixtures: Office furniture, fixtures, and fittings.
    • IT Equipment: Computers, servers, and other technology hardware.
  3. Capitalization and Depreciation:
    • Capitalization: The process of recording the cost of acquiring a fixed asset on the balance sheet rather than expensing it immediately. This cost includes the purchase price and any costs necessary to bring the asset into use (e.g., installation, delivery).
    • Depreciation: The allocation of the cost of a fixed asset over its useful life. This reflects the wear and tear, obsolescence, or reduction in value of the asset over time. Depreciation is charged as an expense on the profit and loss account.
  4. Valuation and Revaluation:
    • Fixed assets are typically recorded at their historical cost (the purchase price plus any additional costs to bring the asset into use). Some assets may be revalued to reflect their current market value, depending on accounting policies and regulations.
  5. Impairment:
    • If a fixed asset’s carrying amount exceeds its recoverable amount (the higher of its fair value less costs to sell and its value in use), the asset is considered impaired. The company must write down the asset to its recoverable amount and recognize an impairment loss.
  6. Disposal:
    • When a fixed asset is sold or retired from use, the company must remove its cost and accumulated depreciation from the balance sheet. Any difference between the asset’s net book value and the sale proceeds is recorded as a gain or loss on disposal.

Example of Fixed Asset Accounting:

A UK-based manufacturing company purchases a new piece of machinery for £100,000. The machinery has an expected useful life of 10 years and no residual value at the end of its useful life.

  • Capitalization: The £100,000 cost is recorded as a fixed asset on the balance sheet.
  • Depreciation: The company uses straight-line depreciation, spreading the cost evenly over 10 years.

Reporting Requirements:

  1. Balance Sheet Presentation:
    • Fixed assets are listed under non-current assets on the balance sheet, usually broken down into categories such as property, plant, and equipment.
  2. Notes to the Financial Statements:
    • Detailed information about fixed assets, including the basis of valuation, depreciation methods, useful lives, and movements during the period (additions, disposals, and revaluations), is provided in the notes to the financial statements.
  3. Regulatory Compliance:
    • In the UK, companies must follow accounting standards such as the UK Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (UK GAAP) or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) when accounting for and reporting fixed assets.


Fixed assets are a vital part of a company’s financial structure, representing significant investments in long-term resources necessary for business operations. Understanding the accounting and reporting requirements for fixed assets, including capitalization, depreciation, valuation, and impairment, is crucial for accurate financial reporting and effective management of a company’s assets in the UK.