The survey, which questioned 300 finance managers found that over 90% of UK companies are predicting larger asset registers – some doubling in size by 2005.
One reason for the growth was that auditors had advised finance managers to split major assets into separate accounting elements to cater for differing life spans depreciation methods. This produces a more a accurate charge against the profit and loss account, and a fairer reflection of value in the balance sheet.
It is now calculated that between now and 2005 there are likely to be an additional nine million assets on the registers of the top 5,000 companies in the UK. Overall the average finance department is thought to be managing over 7,300 items.
Mark Johnson, marketing manager at Britannia Software which carried out the 21st Century Asset Management Survey, said: ‘We are not surprised by these findings, nine million is a conservative estimate and only takes into account capitalised items. You must also take into consideration the potential explosion in non capitalised or attractive items like low cost IT equipment, mobile phones and software which many companies want to track and hold on a separate register.’
Last September the Treasury revealed it was to carry out a comprehensive survey of fixed assets to provide an accurate picture of capital investment by UK industry and introduced penalties for firms who failed to cooperate.
However, the survey was slated as adding another tier of unnecessary bureaucracy for business.
The Forum of Private Business said it would ‘do little to lift the burden of red tape’.
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