What is AN Operating Asset?

Operating assets are the tangible assets and intangible assets that a company uses in its day-to-day operations to generate revenue. These assets are essential for conducting the core business activities of the company and are not held for investment purposes. Operating assets are crucial for supporting production, sales, and service delivery, and they contribute directly to the company’s operating income.


Here are some common examples of operating assets:

  1. Property, Plant, and Equipment (PP&E): PP&E assets include land, buildings, machinery, equipment, vehicles, and other physical assets used in manufacturing, production, or service delivery. These assets are essential for the company’s operations and are typically depreciated over their useful lives.
  2. Inventory: Inventory represents goods held by the company for sale or production. It includes raw materials, work-in-progress (WIP), and finished goods. Inventory is a critical operating asset for manufacturing, distribution, and retail companies, as it supports production, fulfills customer orders, and generates revenue.
  3. Accounts Receivable: Accounts receivable (AR) represent amounts owed to the company by customers for goods sold or services rendered on credit. AR is an operating asset that reflects the company’s sales revenue that has not yet been collected in cash. Managing accounts receivable efficiently is essential for maintaining cash flow and liquidity.
  4. Cash and Cash Equivalents: Cash and cash equivalents are highly liquid assets held by the company for short-term cash management and liquidity needs. Cash equivalents include short-term investments with maturities of three months or less, such as money market funds, Treasury bills, and commercial paper.
  5. Intangible Assets: Intangible assets include intellectual property, patents, trademarks, copyrights, and goodwill. While intangible assets lack physical substance, they provide economic benefits to the company and are essential for supporting its operations, brand value, and competitive advantage.
  6. Prepaid Expenses: Prepaid expenses represent payments made in advance for goods or services that will be received in the future. Prepaid expenses are recorded as assets on the balance sheet until they are consumed or expire, at which point they are recognized as expenses.
  7. Operating Leases: Operating leases represent the right to use assets, such as equipment or property, for a specified period without transferring ownership. Operating lease assets include leased equipment, vehicles, office space, and other leased property used in the company’s operations.


Operating assets are essential for generating revenue and profitability, and they play a crucial role in supporting the company’s ongoing business activities. Effective management of operating assets is essential for maximizing operational efficiency, optimizing resource allocation, and achieving long-term growth and profitability. Companies regularly evaluate their operating assets to ensure they are utilized effectively, maintained properly, and aligned with strategic objectives.