Top 5 Ways To Find Money Through Fixed Assets

Wow… today the stock market crashed so big it has probably got us all thinking… where do we go from here? Which also gets me thinking — how can businesses find some cash flow so they have some “rainy day funds” (or for operating expenses) in their back pockets?  Then it dawned on me… if they manage their fixed assets properly and received detailed cost segregation studies or had a proper 3115 study done, then shoot, EVERYONE could have extra cash flow.

If you think about it, there really are many ways to capture extra cash flow through fixed assets.  From very small efforts to large.

Top 5 Ways Fixed Assets Can Capture or Re-capture Cash Flow

  1. Cost Segregation Studies – extra Tax Deductions with properly classified fixed assets.  Money is in the DETAILS, not in bulked entries everyone!  Make sure you capture your 100% bonus depreciation for 2011 – it will go away soon.
  2.  Rev Proc 2007-16 Study – 3115 assets; allows taxpayers to change their method of accounting and claim the allowable depreciation (or amortization) amount they never claimed (i.e. bonus depreciation, etc.).
  3. Physical Fixed Asset Inventories – cost savings all across the board with Property Taxes, Insurance Premiums, Financial savings impact and more.  Have you ever done one of these before?
  4. Asset Appraisals – is it really worth TODAY what it once was?  Probably not.
  5. Automated Depreciation System – if you are still stuck in spreadsheet land for calculations, believe me when I say, YES you ARE missing additional expense and bonus that you are entitled to.  I see it every time I open someones spreadsheet!  Doesn’t matter the size of the organization or spreadsheet, there is ALWAYS calculation error, sometimes in the millions.

Which industries would benefit from these services / studies?  Just about all industries, well, maybe government and non-profit wouldn’t benefit from all five, but certainly from a couple.  Industries that would uncover a ton (always in the thousands – sometimes millions) from one or all five: hospitality, data centers, banks, manufacturing, retail, healthcare to name a few.

Now I know why I love waking up every day to go to work for the past 14 years (and growing)… because everything I (and my associates) do each and everyday help people and their businesses grow.  Who doesn’t like that?  Probably the same people who don’t like furry fuzzy kittens.

 

 

Rolling Out Large Fixed Asset Management Projects

It’s that time of the year again when companies (large and small) are just starting to think about their year-end processes (or just finished with them and their Auditors) when fixed assets come into play.  Property tax season is now coming upon us all and shortly thereafter… tax filing.  

When getting ready to prepare for this type of fixed asset management project, people tend to have a mini (or large) freak out.  I want to remind you all that you don’t have to bite off more than you (and your budget) can chew.  Have you ever thought about breaking your project out into prioritized phases?  Below is an example of the kind of a approach you can take to complete your full fixed asset management project.

Real World Example

Background: Company XYZ is a large fortune 500, multi-location, publicly traded company.  They have well over 50,000 assets within the U.S. 
Current Issues they are facing:

  1. No automated system to calculate their TAX, State and AMT depreciation calculations = hand calculated (spreadsheet formulas) and delayed filing and delayed provisions. (P.S. they are using an ERP solution)
  2. Inaccurate fixed asset listings – due to never performing a physical asset inventory or reconciliation = leads to inaccurate:
    1. Property Taxes and delayed filing
    2. Improper insurance coverage
    3. Financial reporting
    4. SOX 404 Compliance risk
  3. Multiple locations that need an inventory with bar code tagging = thoughts of many, many dollars run through their minds.
  4. Lack of policy/procedures = lack of maintaining accurate fixed asset records.

Recommendations to perform an ACCURATE and MANAGEABLE fixed asset project.

Priorities for this Client were to get their federal Tax, State and AMT calculations automated.  We based their project off of this high priority. 

  1. PHASE ONE: Implement an automated fixed asset accounting solution (Sage FAS 500 Asset Accounting was used).  Finalize this project implementation, work through the data and get it live for use.  Ran their 4562’s, 4797’s, etc.  Receive an immediate return on the software and implementation costs.
  2. PHASE TWO: Start to roll out the physical asset inventory project  through a pilot program.  Starting small — prioritized the PILOT by number of anticipated fixed assets and activity.  Finalize and reconcile this data to observe the findings and obtain an immediate cost recovery on project.
  3. PHASE THREE: Perform the physical inventory on the other locations that were necessary – again, based on priority.  Reconcile results – find and capture the return on investment by property tax savings and insurance premiums. 
  4. PHASE FOUR: Implementation of an automated fixed asset inventory solution that supports the use of bar code readers / technology (Sage FAS 500 Asset Inventory was the solution of choice).  Now the Client can maintain the clean database and keep it maintained with annual physical inventory audits, etc.
  5. PHASE FIVE: Consulting on on-going use / maintenance of the fixed asset solutions and complete management.  Set in place policies/procedures and train staff on the workflow and systems where necessary.

Working with a Phase approach to fixed asset management works to keep it manageable.  Not only is it manageable for your staff and your business… it’s also manageable for your budget, as each phase pays for itself at the end.  Every step of success opens doors for more.

New FAS Asset Accounting v2012 Coming in September

I am finally back into my humble office after attending the Sage Software Summit 2011 with an immediate trip to some customers out in Boston and Maine, now playing a serious game of catch up.  Ugg, one thing is for sure, when you leave, nothing just stops and goes away. 

What I wanted to bring to everyone’s attention is the new version of Sage FAS (v2012) that will soon be released – starting in mid-September.  Sage FAS division had a handful of breakout sessions @Sage_Summit letting both Business Partners and Customers play around with the latest version – one even showcased the ease-of-use on customizing the new interface and layout.  Feedback was a-m-a-z-i-n-g!  I myself am extremely excited to start implementing it world-wide.

Some of the changes to the Sage FAS Asset Accounting software that I (and my customers) are excited about are:

  • The capability to perform Task Based functionality (like you do in Outlook).
  • Ability to drag and drop columns in the Group View – now appropriately named: Asset ListNew Sage FAS Asset Accounting v2012 Layout.
  • A user can now drag the general field section (in Asset View/Detailed View) down to view all the fields as needed – seriously, this is a HUGE one for every user.
  • Capability to UPDATE asset information through the custom import wizard – this is the big dog!
  • Much, much, much more…

I don’t have all day to type out this blog entry so I am trying my best to keep it short and sweet and highlighting only a handful of things I and you will love about the upcoming release of Sage FAS Asset Accounting v2012.  It may seem a bit young for a facelift… but 14 [personal] years in the business — well, in software years, that facelift is long over due.  To Sage FAS division I say – GOOD JOB and way to be the best plastic surgeon in the U.S.!

Sage Summit 2011 Fixed Asset Management Workshops

Sage authorized consultants from Paragon will team with current Sage FAS customers in three breakout sessions to discuss best practices in fixed asset accounting and management at the Sage Summit 2011 conference.

Chicago, IL – July 5, 2011 – Paragon Systems (www.FixedAssetExperts.com), a nationwide provider of Sage FAS Fixed Asset Management software, has announced participation in the Sage Summit 2011 conference as an exhibitor as well as a workshop host.  In addition to their display in Booth 733, Paragon will also present three breakout sessions discussing the advantages of fixed asset accounting and management with Sage FAS Software.  The conference will be held at the Gaylord National Hotel and Conference Center in Washington, DC.  July 10 – 15, 2011.  Sage Summit 2011 represents a new format that combines both Sage Authorized Business Partners and Sage customers at the same event.

FULL PRESS RELEASE ]

ERP Fixed Assets Workflow To Sage FAS Asset Accounting

It’s obvious that companies utilizing an ERP for their fixed asset depreciation and management are getting frustrated – or perhaps they are just now seeing the benefits of implementing a true fixed asset module.  Because of this many are asking what or how do we update FAS Asset Accounting or keep both systems in tune.  Maybe it’s best to just explain what the choices are and we can move on from there.

With this being said, I thought I would explain the two options in a basic format – without giving away all of our knowledge.  After all, this is why we get paid the big bucks – but not as big as an ERP Consultant. 

When implementing a true fixed asset system to work with your ERP system, you have two options:

  1. ERP Parent—FAS Child: Maintain GAAP/Internal depreciation inside ERP asset management and only Federal Tax, AMT and State books in Sage FAS Asset Accounting.  Activity added/updated in ERP, exported out, format updated, imported into FAS AA.  Recommended that you also maintain the GAAP/Internal book in Sage FAS Asset Accounting but only for reconciliation purposes.
  2. FAS Parent—ERP Child: Utilize Sage FAS Asset Accounting for all depreciation—export entries out of AP/PO in ERP.  Upload into FAS, maintain ALL activity in FAS Asset Accounting (no need for disposal and transfer tagging), book depreciation entries into ERP GL.  No reconciliation necessary between ERP asset management and third-party solution. 

From the sounds of it, you would sway towards option 2 – FAS being the asset keeper, organizer, etc.  However, many organizations can’t step away from the ERP being finances Parent / Controller — so then, we are left with implementing option 1.  Either way, it’s far better than what occurs when you DON’T use a third-party solution to run, capture and report on federal tax and state calculations.

SAP to FAS Asset Accounting: Live Update 7

Coming down the home stretch… We are now finalizing the 4562 balances of all six companies!  Guess what happened along the way? 

Through data mining and going through their data output with a fine tooth comb, we discovered millions of dollars worth of discrepancies, for bonus depreciation and mis-appropriated adjustements — in their favor!  What a fun day that was!  As I anticipated, our project has already paid for itself 20 times over and we are 70% finished.  Which leaves a good 30% left for more positive outcomes!

Wow… moving federal tax depreciation and state calculations out of a monster system such as SAP (or any ERP solution) – including to a ton of off-line spreadsheet adjustments, you might actually benefit more than you think!  So… why is it again YOU aren’t making the switch to Sage FAS?  Yes, I know… good question!

Next step in this process, agreeing to State balances and working out Quarterly updates.

Physical Fixed Asset Inventory / Audit: Quick Start

In the past few months, I’ve received about one or two calls a week with questions pertaining to conducting physical inventories.  Which gets me thinking… Oh yeah, it is about that time a year again.  Internal audits of companies fixed assets! 

About this time every year is often when companies start putting deadlines on themselves for gathering their information.  Many times it is sparked by internal audit controls, SOX testing, reorganizing, or better yet, “the auditors just left and said we need to do a better job controlling our fixed assets“.

After having several conversations with all these different companies; their situations running in a variety of flavors… I get a little worried that perhaps, they are still going to venture off in the wrong path.  The one of destruction not success.

 Things to ponder and prepare yourself for BEFORE running willy nilly amongst your assets:

  1. First thing to ask yourself – Is everyone on board internally with this project?  By everyone I mean, departments other than Accounting?  Remember to think of your compadre who work there too.  Example: IT Department, Facilities, Tax Department versus Finance (crazy, but we run into this miss-communication factor quite often).
  2. Second part – where is your data now and what’s it look like?  Are you pulling your fixed asset data from a spreadsheet, home-grown system, IT’s list/system, Facilities listings?  You need to know what data you have and what it looks like so you can better determine what course of action you will be performing with your inventory.
  3. Third piece of the puzzle – AFTER you review your data and data sources, you need to determine if it’s best for you to perform either a Dynamic Inventory or a Baseline InventoryThis is the BIG decision people!  You make the wrong choice here and you could be wasting a lot of precious time and end up taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r on your project.  Or even worse, you may end up doing it all over again!
  4. Moving forward – Labels / Tags… what kind, how many, what are they going to look like?  Order them and provide yourselves with a couple of weeks turn around.  It’s all about scheduling.
  5. Tag em’ – by now you should have already determined what you are tagging, where your putting the tag and who is tagging.  Also, you should have already decided by now WHAT information you will be gathering.  Seize the day and attack!
  6. The BIG Bear of Inventory – reconciliation time folks!  Keep in mind and be prepared that this CAN and WILL take some work.  Especially if your company is a first timer (meaning – you’ve never performed a physical asset inventory – ever).  However, this is where the fruit of your exhausting labor comes into play.  You get to find out what you have, what you don’t have (ghosts… BOO), where it is and who is responsible for it. 
  7. Last but certainly NOT least – keep up the good work my friend!  Now that you’ve cleaned up your data, keep it clean.  Now is the time to determine when you will be performing the next one to ensure that your data stays accurate.

Whew, I feel better getting that off my chest.  I know what you are thinking and I agree, that does seem like a lot to think about and plan before running like a crazy person through the field of assets.   Knowing about fixed assets is one thing… Trying to find them and clean them up is another! 

P.S. did you know that Paragon Systems offers an array of physical asset inventory services and consulting?  Yeppers… ala carte or full load.  Email me.

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