How To Conduct an Asset Audit: The Complete Guide

Are you struggling with outdated asset records, compliance issues, or the inefficiencies of manual tracking methods? These challenges can lead to significant financial losses and operational disruptions. But worry not – conducting a thorough asset audit can resolve these problems.

By following a structured and systematic approach to asset auditing, you can ensure accurate records, maintain compliance, and optimize asset utilization. This complete guide will provide you with the essential steps and best practices needed to perform an effective asset audit.

Ready to take control of your assets and improve your organization’s efficiency? Dive into our guide and learn how to conduct an asset audit like a pro.

Main Takeaways From This Article: 

  • Conduct regular asset audits to maintain accurate records and ensure compliance with financial regulations.
  • Leverage asset management software to streamline the internal audit process, enhance data accuracy, and provide accurate tracking.
  • Establish and regularly update asset values to reflect current market conditions and depreciation.
  • Conduct internal audits regularly and prepare for external audits to verify procedures and prevent fraud.
  • Establish a consistent audit schedule to proactively identify issues, maintain efficiency, and ensure regulatory compliance.

What Is an Asset Audit?


An asset audit is a systematic process of verifying and documenting a company's physical and intangible assets. It involves tracking fixed inventory, assessing asset values, and ensuring records match actual assets. This audit provides an accurate overview of assets and helps businesses manage resources effectively, comply with financial regulations, and make informed decisions.

What Does It Include?

The typical asset audit process looks at the following:

  • Physical asset locations (including whether the asset‌ still exists)
  • Current asset conditions
  • Preventative maintenance records 
  • Records of details like serial numbers, purchase receipts, and values post-asset depreciation 

The primary purpose of an asset audit is to ensure that your records are correct and up to date. Your initial audit will establish a record, while subsequent audits will ensure that those records remain current.

Regular asset audits help keep maintenance logs, prevent theft and fraud, and maintain legal compliance. Keeping these records up-to-date maximizes efficiency and safeguards your assets.

Internal vs. External Asset Audits 

Asset audits can be completed by someone in your company (known as an internal asset audit) or by a third party (known as an external asset audit).

You should run internal asset audits regularly. Quarterly should suffice for most businesses, though larger organizations with thousands of assets may want to bump this up to a monthly cadence or stagger audits across departments or branches.

An external asset audit happens when a regulatory or government agency conducts the audit. The purpose of an external audit is to:

  • Verify the company is following proper procedures
  • Investigate potential fraud events
  • Discover assets a company might not be reporting accurately

Why Are Asset Audits Important? Key Benefits


Asset audits are crucial for businesses, providing a clear picture of asset utilization and value. Let's discover why asset audits are vital for success.

1. Ensures Accurate Asset Information

Asset audits ensure accurate asset information by verifying the assets' existence, condition, and location. This accuracy is crucial for effective asset management and strategic planning, helping businesses make informed decisions and optimize resource allocation, ultimately leading to increased operational efficiency and reduced errors in asset records.

2. Confirms Correct Asset Valuations

Asset audits confirm correct asset valuations by assessing the current market value of assets. Accurate valuations are essential for financial reporting and compliance, ensuring that the company's financial statements reflect true asset worth. This transparency builds trust with stakeholders and aids in making strategic business decisions.

3. Identifies Safety Hazards

Asset audits identify safety hazards by inspecting the assets' physical condition and operational status. Detecting and addressing these hazards early helps prevent accidents and ensures a safer working environment. This proactive approach reduces the risk of injury, liability, and associated costs, enhancing overall workplace safety.

4. Prevents Fraudulent Asset Purchases

Asset audits prevent fraudulent asset purchases by scrutinizing procurement processes and verifying asset authenticity. This vigilance helps companies avoid financial losses from purchasing counterfeit or overvalued assets. Ensuring only legitimate and accurately priced assets are acquired maintains financial integrity and operational efficiency.

5. Detects Misrepresented Asset Values

Asset audits detect misrepresented asset values by comparing recorded values with actual conditions and market prices. Identifying discrepancies ensures that financial records accurately reflect the true value of assets. This accuracy is vital for financial reporting, investment decisions, and maintaining stakeholder confidence.

6. Maintains Financial Accuracy

Asset audits maintain financial accuracy by verifying asset records and valuations. Accurate financial records are essential for compliance with accounting standards and regulations. Regular audits ensure that all assets are correctly recorded, valued, and depreciated, providing a reliable foundation for financial reporting and analysis.

7. Enhances Management Efficiency

Asset audits enhance management efficiency by providing detailed insights into asset utilization and condition. These insights help optimize asset performance, reduce downtime, and improve resource allocation. Efficient asset management supports strategic planning and operational excellence, driving overall business performance.

8. Schedules Preventive Maintenance

Asset audits help schedule preventive maintenance by identifying assets that require servicing or repairs. Timely maintenance extends asset lifespan, reduces unexpected breakdowns, and minimizes downtime. This proactive approach ensures continuous operation and maximizes the return on investment for each asset.

Asset audits help log preventive maintenance by identifying assets that require servicing or repairs. Keeping detailed records of maintenance activities extends asset lifespan, reduces unexpected breakdowns, and minimizes downtime. This proactive approach ensures continuous operation and maximizes the return on investment for each asset.

9. Minimizes Theft and Loss

Asset audits minimize theft and loss (ghost assets) by tracking and verifying asset locations and conditions. Regular audits deter unauthorized access and misappropriation, ensuring assets remain secure. This vigilance helps maintain accurate records, reduce financial losses, and promote a culture of accountability within the organization.

10. Improves Regulatory Compliance

Asset audits improve regulatory compliance by ensuring asset records and valuations meet legal and industry standards. Compliance with regulations prevents legal penalties and enhances the company's reputation. Regular audits demonstrate a commitment to transparency and accountability, fostering trust among regulators and stakeholders. 

How To Audit Your Fixed Assets Step-By-Step


Learn how to audit your fixed assets with this step-by-step guide. We'll cover everything from rules and regulations to creating inventory lists, ensuring a thorough and accurate audit process for your business.

1. Define Audit Objectives and Scope

Defining audit objectives and scope is a crucial first step in the asset audit process. Audit objectives outline what the audit aims to achieve, such as verifying asset existence, accuracy, and compliance with financial regulations. 

They help auditors focus on key areas that need evaluation. The scope defines the boundaries of the audit, including which assets will be audited, the time period under review, and specific procedures to be followed. 

Clearly defining objectives and scope ensures a systematic approach, preventing overlooked areas and ensuring thorough coverage. 

2. Consider Rules and Regulations

Your organization may already have internal procedures that restrict and require certain methods of performing fixed asset audits. 

If so, you must follow these requirements before starting the audit. Furthermore, there may also be state or federal regulations that could impact your auditing process. 

Identify relevant regulations and ensure compliance with them as you plan and execute your audit.

3. Gather Documentation and Assign Responsibilities

To start an asset audit, gather all relevant documentation, including purchase records, receipts, maintenance logs, and previous audit reports. 

Next, assign responsibilities to team members, ensuring each person understands their role in the audit process. 

By organizing documentation and delegating tasks, you set a strong foundation for a successful asset audit, minimizing errors and ensuring accuracy throughout the process.

4. Create an Asset Inventory List

Creating an asset inventory list is a crucial first step in auditing your fixed assets. Start by compiling a comprehensive list of all assets, including physical items like equipment, machinery, and furniture, as well as intangible assets like patents and trademarks. Use asset tags or serial numbers for easy identification. 

Include details such as purchase date, original cost, current value, location, and condition. Utilizing asset management software can streamline this process, ensuring accuracy and efficiency. 

Regularly update the inventory list to reflect changes, additions, or disposals.

5. Collect and Verify Asset Information

Collecting and verifying asset information is critical in the asset audit process. Start by gathering comprehensive data on each asset, including purchase details, serial numbers, location, and current condition.

Use asset management software to streamline data collection and ensure accuracy. Cross-reference this information with physical records and invoices to verify authenticity. 

Conduct a physical inspection to confirm the existence and condition of each asset. Document any discrepancies or missing assets for further investigation.

6. Establish the Value of Your Assets

Establishing the value of your assets is a crucial step in the audit process. Begin by identifying and categorizing each asset, whether tangible, like machinery, or intangible, like patents. 

Use current market values, purchase prices, and depreciation rates to determine their worth. Consult professional appraisers for high-value or complex assets to ensure accuracy. Regularly update these valuations to reflect any changes in condition or market trends. 

Accurate asset valuation aids in financial reporting and compliance and helps make informed decisions about asset management, insurance, and potential sales. 

7. Reconcile Records

Every fixed asset audit concludes with asset reconciliation. 

Here, the collected data from the audit is compared against inventory reports to identify the ledgers' accuracy. It is also at this stage that irregularities and fraud can be uncovered. 

If an inaccuracy or inconsistency is found, your auditing team must investigate it thoroughly to determine whether negligence or fraud caused the root cause.

8. Schedule Future Audits

Establishing a regular audit schedule is vital for maintaining ongoing accuracy and compliance. Regular audits ensure asset records are consistently updated, reflecting ownership, condition, or value changes. This practice helps prevent discrepancies and fraud, providing a reliable foundation for financial reporting and decision-making. 

Additionally, routine audits ensure compliance with regulatory requirements, reducing the risk of penalties and legal issues. Businesses can proactively identify and address issues by scheduling future audits and enhancing operational efficiency and asset management.

Generally, most organizations conduct these kinds of inventories on a 3-to-5-year cycle. If your business holds many volatile fixed assets, you may also decide to hold limited asset management audits annually.

Challenges of Fixed Asset Auditing

Businesses tend to avoid conducting fixed asset audits because they can be expensive and complex. For many organizations, these inventories are nothing more than a hassle; some don't even attempt them. 

When faced with a lack of proper documentation, incorrect asset identification barcodes, and irregular physical inventories, it is no surprise that fixed asset audits have built a poor reputation in the industry. 

An additional challenge with running audits is that most organizations still rely on paper-based approaches that can be inefficient and disorganized. 

The Solution: Asset Management Software


Fortunately, there is a way to eliminate these challenges and conduct fixed asset audits with relative ease and simplicity: asset management software.

Here are some key advantages and features to look for in the best asset management software, with a spotlight on RedBeam’s offerings: 

Advantages of Asset Management Software

  • Increased Accuracy: Automated data collection and reporting ensure that your asset information is always accurate and up-to-date, reducing human errors and improving data reliability.
  • Time Savings: Streamlined processes for inventory management, tracking, and maintenance logs save significant time for your team, allowing them to focus on more critical tasks.
  • Enhanced Compliance: Ensure that all regulatory requirements are met by maintaining comprehensive records and generating necessary compliance reports effortlessly.
  • Improved Decision Making: Access to data and advanced analytics helps make informed decisions about asset utilization, procurement, and improvement strategies.
  • Cost Reduction: Efficient asset tracking and logging of maintenance activities help reduce downtime and avoid costly repairs, leading to significant cost savings over time.Predictive maintenance alerts and efficient asset tracking help reduce downtime and avoid costly repairs, leading to significant cost savings over time.

Key Features of the Best Asset Management Software

RedBeam's asset management software stands out with its comprehensive suite of features designed to optimize your asset management processes: 

  • Barcode Scanning: Easily track assets using barcode scanning capabilities, reducing manual entry errors.
  • Cloud-Based Accessibility: You can access your asset data anywhere, anytime, ensuring your team can work efficiently without geographical limitations.
  • Inventory Reconciliation: Simplify inventory counts with features that support easy reconciliation and audit trails.
  • Integration with ERP Systems: RedBeam integrates seamlessly with major ERP systems, ensuring consistency and integrity of asset data across platforms.
  • Customizable Dashboards: Tailor your dashboards to display the most critical metrics and insights at a glance.
  • Support and Training: Get the most out of your asset management software with comprehensive support and training provided by RedBeam experts.

Create an Efficient Asset Audit Process with RedBeam

Regular asset audits are essential for maintaining accurate records, ensuring compliance, and optimizing resource utilization. Implementing an asset management system streamlines the audit process, enhances data accuracy, and provides comprehensive tracking and reporting capabilities. By leveraging such software, businesses can efficiently manage their assets, reduce risks, and make informed decisions.

With RedBeam's asset tracking software, you can automatically track all of the vital details about your assets, including depreciation, current value, location, and use history. 

Instead of wasting time tracking down paper reports and filling out spreadsheets, you can quickly get the data and information you need. In fact, RedBeam enables you to decrease the time spent on auditing and inventories by up to 70%.

Ready to revolutionize your asset management strategy? Opt for RedBeam! Try it now, or schedule a demo to see the benefits for yourself.