Asset management: are you doing it right?

Asset management is used to determine the most cost-effective way of utilizing a specific asset throughout its useful life cycle. The process begins from the day management begins to consider purchasing a fixed asset, such as land, buildings and equipment; it looks at the projected cost effectiveness of the asset over its entire life, taking account of the expected improvement in efficiency it is likely to bring to the company, right through to how it will be disposed of and whether there will be any costs incurred in its disposal. One of the key objectives is to ensure the correct decisions are taken in order to minimize the cost of the asset throughout its useful life, thereby optimizing its value to the company.

In terms of liquid assets, in order to minimize unnecessary pressure on your company’s cash flow, strict control of inventory is required; having stock worth many thousands of dollars sitting in a warehouse is incredibly inefficient. Asset management, when implemented correctly, balances out production levels against order intake and delivery schedules.

Cash in hand is the most liquid form of assets and if your company is fortunate enough to have sufficient available to invest over either the short or long-term, a skilled asset manager will be able to suggest various options. The most commonly used and tax-efficient investment vehicles are 401k’s and IRA’s, though real estate should also form an important role in any asset manager’s portfolio.

Asset-managementIn recent years, real estate prices have fallen, but as the US economy begins to show real signs of recovery, it can only be a short time before prices begin to rise once more. Now is therefore the ideal time to invest in property and take what may be a once in a lifetime opportunity to buy cheap. It is worth bearing in mind that banks are still happy to provide loans to purchase real estate, making it possible to maximize leverage capital and make the most of your return on investment. It should also be remembered that you might be able to enjoy tax-free cash flow when depreciation and loan repayment interest are taken into account.

As an entrepreneur, your asset management strategy should include real estate rental, which is treated as a business for tax purposes. As a result, you have the opportunity to transfer some of your expenses into business deductions; visits to rental properties are claimable and you could employ family members to undertake management and maintenance of your properties.

Your time should be spent managing and monitoring your company, rather than attempting to manage its assets. This is a challenging and highly specialized role and is best left to experts such as Peter Briger, the Principal and Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fortress Investment Group. Founded in 1998 and with some $67.5b of managed assets, this is one of the most reputable and highly respected investment firms in the country.

Asset management is one of those roles that some business owners and entrepreneurs may believe they are capable of undertaking themselves. If you are one of them perhaps you should think again. It does not make sense to work hard building up your company, striving to save every cent, and then neglect to make the profits you have generated work as hard as possible. Instead, employ the services of an asset management firm and concentrate on running your business.


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