What are Non-Current Assets?
Non-current assets are assets whose value will not be realized within a period of one year since they are not easily converted into cash. The assets are recorded on the balance sheet, and they include property, plant and equipment, intellectual property, intangible assets, and other long-term assets.
Property, plant, and equipment (PP&E) refers to fixed assets such as land, buildings, motor vehicles, etc., whereas intangible assets are the products that lack a physical form.
Non-current assets are capitalized rather than expensed, and it means that the value of the assets is allocated over the number of years that the asset will be in use. Companies purchase non-current assets with the aim of using them in the business since their benefits will last for a period exceeding one year. The assets may be amortized or depreciated, depending on the type of asset.
Types of Non-Current Assets
The following are the key types of non-current assets:
1. Tangible Assets
Tangible assets refer to assets with a physical form and those with a finite monetary value. The actual value of a tangible asset is obtained by taking the current value of the asset less depreciation.
However, not all physical assets are depreciated. Assets, such as land, are revalued after some time since they tend to appreciate in value. Depreciation is a non-cash notation that reduces the value of an asset over time.
Tangible assets differ from intangible assets in that the latter comes in a non-physical form, and it is difficult to assign them a value due to the uncertainty of future benefits. Tangible assets are central to the core operations of a company and are often considered when calculating the net worth of a company.
2. Intangible Assets
Intangible are assets that lack a physical form but offer economic value to the company. Examples of such assets include goodwill and intellectual property, such as trademarks, patents, and copyrights.
A company can acquire intangible assets from another entity or create them from within the business. The assets created by the business lack a recorded book value and are, therefore, not recorded on the balance sheet.
Intangible assets can be definite or indefinite. An example of an indefinite intangible asset is brand recognition, which remains for as long as the company stays afloat. On the other hand, a definite intangible asset comes with a limited life, and it only stays with the company for the duration of a contract or agreement.
An example of a definite intangible asset is a legal agreement to operate the patents of another entity. The company is required to operate the patent for an agreed period of time, and the creator of the patent remains the owner of the patent. Even though an intangible asset lacks physical value, it can significantly contribute to the long-term success of a company.
3. Natural Resources
Natural assets are the assets that occur naturally, and they are derived from the earth. Examples of natural resources include timber, fossil fuels, oil fields, and minerals. Natural resources are also called wasting assets because they are used up when they are consumed. The assets must be consumed through extraction from the natural setting.
For example, natural gas is an example of a natural resource that must be consumed in order to be used. It means that the asset must be mined or pumped out of the ground for it to be used. Natural assets are recorded on the balance sheet at the cost of acquisition plus exploration and development costs and less accumulated depletion.
Examples of Non-Current Assets
The following are some examples of non-current assets:
1. Property, Plant and Equipment (PP&E)
PP&E are long-term physical assets that are an important part of a company’s core operations, and they are used in the production process or sale of other assets. The assets come in a physical form, and they are not easily converted to cash or liquidated.
The total value of PP&E is equal to the total value of property, plant, and equipment recorded on the balance sheet less accumulated depreciation. Accumulated depreciation is the total depreciation expense charged to an asset since it was put into use. Investments in PP&E paint a positive future outlook of the company.
Goodwill is an intangible asset that is attributed to the purchase of one company by another entity. It is assigned where the price paid for the asset exceeds the fair value of all identifiable assets and liabilities assumed in the transaction.
Goodwill is attributed to buying some intangibles, such as the reputation of the company, brand name, good customer relations, solid customer base, and the quality of the employees.
3. Long-term Investments
Long-term investments include assets such as bonds, stocks, and notes that investors buy in the financial markets with the hope that they will appreciate in value and earn a good return in the future. The assets are also recorded in the company’s balance sheet.
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