Tangible Assets

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Definition of Tangible Assets

Tangible assets are physical resources that a company owns and uses in its operations to generate income. These assets have a concrete, material existence and can be seen, touched, or measured. Examples of tangible assets include land, buildings, machinery, equipment, vehicles, inventory, and furniture. Tangible assets are typically categorized as either current assets or fixed assets, depending on their usage and life span.


The primary purpose of tangible assets is to support a company's operations and contribute to revenue generation. Tangible assets serve as essential resources that enable businesses to produce goods, deliver services, and manage their day-to-day activities.


Tangible assets play a crucial role in a company's financial health and performance. They represent a significant portion of a business's total assets and contribute to the overall value of the company. Tangible assets also serve as collateral for securing loans and financing, as they can be sold or liquidated to cover debts or raise capital.


Tangible assets can be broadly categorized into two groups:

  • Current assets: These are short-term tangible assets expected to be converted into cash, sold, or consumed within one year or one operating cycle. Examples of current assets include inventory, raw materials, and finished goods.
  • Fixed assets: Also known as non-current assets, these are long-term tangible assets used in producing goods and services, with a useful life of more than one year. Examples of fixed assets include land, buildings, machinery, equipment, and vehicles.


Tangible assets are important because they provide the necessary resources for businesses to operate, produce goods, and deliver services. They represent a significant portion of a company's assets and contribute to its overall value. Additionally, tangible assets can be collateral for securing loans or financing, allowing businesses to grow and expand.


Throughout history, tangible assets have been the primary means of creating and measuring wealth. In ancient and medieval societies, land, livestock, and natural resources were the primary tangible assets determining an individual's or a community's wealth. Over time, as businesses and economies grew more complex, tangible assets expanded to include machinery, equipment, infrastructure, and other physical resources.


  • Provide essential resources for a company's operations and revenue generation.
  • Contribute to a company's overall value and financial health.
  • Can be used as collateral for securing loans or financing.
  • Easier to value and sell than intangible assets, as they have a physical existence and a more easily determinable market value.

Pros and Cons


  • Tangible assets are easily identifiable and quantifiable, making them easier to value, manage, and track.
  • Can be used as collateral for loans, enabling businesses to raise capital and grow.
  • Contribute to a company's overall value and financial health.


  • Tangible assets require maintenance and can incur significant costs, such as depreciation, repairs, and insurance.
  • Vulnerable to physical damage, theft, or obsolescence, which can lead to a loss of value.
  • May be subject to fluctuations in market value, potentially impacting a company's balance sheet and financial stability.


  • A manufacturing company's tangible assets may include its factory building, machinery, equipment, raw materials, and inventory of finished products.
  • A retail store's tangible assets may include premises, fixtures, inventory, and cash registers.
  • A transportation company's tangible assets may consist of its fleet of vehicles, such as trucks, buses, or airplanes, as well as maintenance equipment and facilities.

In conclusion, tangible assets are physical resources businesses own and use to generate income and support their operations. These assets are essential for producing goods, delivering services, and managing day-to-day activities. Tangible assets play a vital role in a company's financial health and performance, contributing to its overall value and serving as collateral for loans and financing. By effectively managing and maintaining their tangible assets, businesses can ensure their long-term success, growth, and stability.

See Also

  1. Fixed Assets: A subtype of tangible assets. These are long-term tangible pieces of property or equipment that a firm owns and uses in its operations to generate income. Examples include buildings, machinery, and vehicles.
  2. Depreciation: As tangible assets are used over time, they lose value. Depreciation is the accounting method used to allocate the cost of a tangible asset over its useful life.
  3. Current Assets: These are assets that are expected to be converted into cash within a year. Some tangible assets, like inventory, are classified as current assets.
  4. Capital Expenditure (CAPEX): This refers to funds used by a company to acquire or upgrade physical assets such as property, buildings, or equipment. It's directly related to the investment in tangible assets.
  5. Intangible Assets: The opposite of tangible assets. While tangible assets are physical, intangible assets, like patents, trademarks, and copyrights, lack a physical presence. Understanding the distinction is crucial.
  6. Asset Turnover Ratio: A financial metric that measures the efficiency of a company's use of its assets in generating sales revenue. The inclusion of tangible assets in this ratio is crucial for sectors that rely heavily on physical assets.
  7. Net Book Value: It's the value of an asset after deducting depreciation from its original cost. Directly related to the valuation of tangible assets over time.
  8. Liquidity: Refers to the ease with which an asset can be converted into cash. Some tangible assets, like cash or marketable securities, are highly liquid, while others, like property or equipment, are not.
  9. Amortization: Similar to depreciation but typically associated with intangible assets. However, understanding the depreciation of tangible assets often leads to discussions about the amortization of intangibles.
  10. Collateral: Assets, often tangible, that a borrower offers to a lender to secure a loan. If the borrower defaults, the lender can seize the collateral and sell it to recoup losses.
  11. Impairment: An accounting principle that describes a permanent reduction in the value of a company's asset, usually a fixed asset.