Automating asset management activities represents an important control. Typically this relates to the capture and reporting of information. However a better approach is to apply automation at the workflow level and as a means to automatically force compliance with policies and regulations. Doing so would also, by design, include data capture activities.
Of particular significance are the areas of overlap that exist within the asset life cycle. The asset life cycle refers to the systematic processing of an asset from acquisition through utilization, maintenance to retirement.
Each of these stages is considered a state of disposition that an asset evolves through. Overlap occurs as an asset transitions from one state of disposition to another.
For example, there is overlap between the purchase of an asset, receiving the asset, and deployment.
Areas of overlap require extra attention and are ideal points for implementing controls as the opportunity to introduce redundancy, confusion, and errors are most likely. One common problem can be avoided here by establishing a naming convention, enabling all parties to refer to the asset in a common, standardized manner.
Careful attention should be placed on the flow of information. This includes; where it is collected, how it is maintained as well as stored. All too often, multiple databases are maintained, each containing information pertaining to an asset. In addition to incurring extra expense and effort, this complicates reconciliation efforts.
Information should flow and grow as moves from one state of disposition to another and be represented in a single database whenever possible.
Detail matters. Detailed descriptions should include the manufacturer make and model, as well as unique identifiers, such as serial and/or asset numbers, that can be reliably aligned to the physical asset.
The location of the asset is also important; property taxes can vary in different regions, auditors will select asset records from the fixed asset register and expect that they are able to be physically verified, are a few relevant examples.