Fixed assets normally include items such as land and buildings, motor vehicles, furniture, office equipment, computers, fixtures and fittings, and plant and machinery. These often receive favorable tax treatment (depreciation allowance) over short-term assets.
The question above would not be best answered without giving consideration to the meaning of Fixed Asset. Fixed Assets are items of property, plant and equipment engaged by a business entity in the generation and expansion of revenue. According to International Accounting Standard (IAS) 16, Fixed Assets are assets whose future economic benefit is probable to flow into the entity, whose cost can be measured reliably.
It is pertinent to note that the cost of a fixed asset is its purchase price, including import duties and other deductible trade discounts and rebates. In addition, cost attributable to bringing and installing the asset in its needed location and the initial estimate of dismantling and removing the item if they are eventually no longer needed on the location.
Depreciation is simply put to be the expense generated by the use of an asset. It is the wear and tear of an asset or diminution in the historical value owing to usage. Further to this; it is the cost of the asset less any salvage value over its estimated useful life. It is an expense because it is matched against the revenue generated through the use of the same asset. Depreciation is usually spread over the economic useful life of an asset because it is regarded as the cost of an asset absorbed over its useful life. Invariably the depreciation expense is charged against the revenue generated through the use of the asset. The method of depreciation to be adopted is best left for the management to decide in consideration to the peculiarity of the business, prevailing economic condition of the assets and existing accounting guideline and principles as implied in the organizational policies.
The primary objective of a business entity is to make profit and increase the wealth of its owners. In the attainment of this objective it is required that the management will exercise due care and diligence in applying the basic accounting concept of “Matching Concept”. Matching concept is simply matching the expenses of a period against the revenues of the same period.
The use of assets in the generation of revenue is usually more than a year- that is long term. It is therefore obligatory that in order to accurately determine the net income or profit for a period depreciation is charged on the total value of asset that contributed to the revenue for the period in consideration and charge against the same revenue of the same period. This is essential in the prudent reporting of the net revenue for the entity in the period.
Net book value of an asset is basically the difference between the historical cost of that asset and it associated depreciation. From the foregoing, it is apparent that in order to report a true and fair position of the financial jurisprudence of an entity it is relatable to record and report the value of fixed assets at its net book value. Apart from the fact that it is enshrined in Standard Accounting Statement (SAS) 3 and IAS 16 that value of asset should be carry at the net book value, it is the best way of consciously presenting the value of assets to the owners of the business and potential investor.