Total Assets

When discussing your company's total assets, it is essential to consider a wide array of values, ranging from cash reserves and trademarks to real estate properties and office equipment. In the following sections, delve deeper into the concept of total assets and its significance for your business.

What are Total Assets? 

In the context of eCommerce, total assets refer to the combined value of all the possessions and investments held by a business or individual involved in online commerce. To calculate total assets, one adds the owner's equity, representing the company's overall worth or capital, to its liabilities, which are its financial obligations. Assets can encompass a wide range of items, including inventory, equipment, real estate, and even digital assets like websites and intellectual property. Businesses often acquire these assets with the aim of improving their financial performance, increasing cash flow, and potentially boosting their overall value in the future.

How are Total Assets calculated? 

The formula for calculating total assets is:

Total assets = liabilities + owner's equity

Let us break down the steps:

  1. Determine Equity: Start by adding up the value of everything you own that can be sold for cash in the future. This is often referred to as equity, and it includes both current assets (like stocks, inventory, and accounts receivable) and long-term assets (such as property, intangible assets, or goodwill).
  2. Total Liabilities: Identify the total value of your liabilities, which encompasses ongoing or outstanding costs. This may include expenses like rent, utility costs, or bank debt. Employers should also consider accounts payable (money owed to suppliers), and any wages owed to employees.
  3. Combine Equity and Liabilities: Calculate your total assets by combining your equity with your liabilities. Since liabilities represent a negative value, the simplest way to find the total assets with this formula is to subtract the value of liabilities from the value of equity or assets. The result represents your total assets.

What Types of Total Assets Exist? 

Total assets can be classified into two main categories, each serving different purposes for organizations:

  1. Current Assets: These are short-term assets intended for use or conversion within a year. Current assets include:
    • Cash and Cash Equivalents: The most liquid assets, including currency, bank deposits, and specific short-term investments.
    • Short-term Investments: Assets that can be readily sold for cash, such as stocks and bonds, suitable for companies with excess cash.
    • Accounts Receivable: Money owed by customers for goods or services provided on credit, usually due within one year.
    • Inventory: Comprising raw materials, work-in-progress, and finished goods used or sold during an accounting period.
  2. Long-term Assets: These assets are held for more extended periods, typically beyond one year, and are divided into two categories:
    • Tangible Assets: Physical assets like buildings, vehicles, and machinery that have a tangible, touchable presence.
    • Intangible Assets: Non-physical assets, including trademarks, customer relationships, and licensing agreements, which lack physical form.
    • Goodwill: Arises when a business purchases an entity for more than its stated value, and the additional amount paid is not recorded as a specific asset.
    • Accounts Receivable: In some cases, accounts receivable can be categorized as long-term assets if the repayment period extends beyond one year.

These classifications help organizations track and manage their assets, both short-term and long-term, ensuring a clear understanding of their financial holdings and investments.

Benefits of Calculating Total Assets? 

Calculating total assets offers several advantages for businesses, enhancing financial stability and strategic decision-making:

  1. Liability Repayment: Total assets provide a ready source to repay liabilities. Current assets can be quickly converted to liquid cash when needed, while long-term assets can serve as collateral to support working capital, ensuring timely repayment of debts.
  2. Valuation Enhancement: A company's value or worth is significantly influenced by its asset position. Having more assets than liabilities indicate a more valuable firm, which can boost its attractiveness to investors, creditors, and potential partners.
  3. Building Relationships: Accounts receivables, a crucial component of assets, foster strong relationships with clients. Allowing customers to make purchases on credit and pay later encourages repeat business and client loyalty.
  4. Strategic Decision-Making: Total assets play a pivotal role in various business decisions, such as mergers, acquisitions, tie-ups, and expansions. A comprehensive understanding of a firm's assets is essential when evaluating potential opportunities and assessing the risks involved.
  5. Cost Savings: Leasing or renting assets, like machinery or office equipment, can offer cost-effective alternatives to purchasing outright. This approach minimizes initial expenses, providing more financial flexibility for other essential business activities.

In summary, calculating total assets not only ensures financial stability and efficient liability management but also enhances a company's value, facilitates client relationships, informs strategic decisions, and supports cost-saving measures.

But total assets have their drawbacks. Fixed assets tend to depreciate over time, reducing their book value. For leased assets with a lease period under five years, claiming capital allowances is often impossible. Moreover, in the event of non-repayment, banks may auction mortgaged assets to recover loans, leading to potential losses. Additionally, assets can turn non-performing, incurring high maintenance or write-off costs for companies. These challenges highlight the importance of managing assets effectively and understanding the potential risks and costs associated with them, as they can significantly impact an entity's financial health and stability.

Total Assets: Key Takeaways 

  • Total assets in eCommerce represent the combined value of possessions and investments, calculated by adding owner's equity to liabilities.
  • Total assets are categorized as current assets (short-term) and long-term assets (held over a year), including tangible and intangible assets.
  • Advantages of calculating total assets include liability repayment, increased company value, stronger client relationships, support for strategic decisions, and cost savings. However, challenges like asset depreciation, limited capital allowances for leased assets, and risks associated with non-repayment and non-performing assets highlight the importance of effective asset management.