Asset Structure


In this chapter, we consider the asset structure of the company benchmarked against global averages. The chapter begins by defining relevant terms. A common-size statement or vertical analysis of assets is then presented for the firm and the average global benchmarks. For ratios where there are large deviations between the firm and the benchmarks, graphics are provided (sometimes referred to as a financial “gap” analysis). Then the distribution of ratios is presented in the form of ranks and percentiles.



A resource with economic value that an individual, corporation or country owns or controls with the expectation that it will provide future benefit. Assets are bought to increase the value of a firm or benefit the firm's operations. You can think of an asset as something that can generate cash flow, regardless of whether it's a company's manufacturing equipment or an individual's rental apartment.

Assets are divided into five major groups:

1- Current asset

A balance sheet account that represents the value of all assets that are reasonably expected to be converted into cash within one year in the normal course of business. Current assets include cash, accounts receivable, inventory, marketable securities, prepaid expenses and other liquid assets that can be readily converted to cash.

  • Cash

Legal tender or coins that can be used in exchange goods, debt, or services. Sometimes also including the value of assets that can be converted into cash immediately, as reported by a company.

  • Accounts receivable

Money owed by customers (individuals or corporations) to another entity in exchange for goods or services that have been delivered or used, but not yet paid for. Receivables usually come in the form of operating lines of credit and are usually due within a relatively short time period, ranging from a few days to a year.

  • Receivables (Net) 

Net receivables are defined as the net amount due to the company from private persons, businesses, agencies, funds, or governmental units which is expected to be collected in the form of moneys, goods, and/or services.

  • Inventory

The raw materials, work-in-process goods and completely finished goods that are considered to be the portion of a business's assets that are ready or will be ready for sale. Inventory represents one of the most important assets that most businesses possess, because the turnover of inventory represents one of the primary sources of revenue generation and subsequent earnings for the company's shareholders/owners.

  • Prepayments

The satisfaction of a debt or installment payment before its official due date. A prepayment can be for the entire balance or for any upcoming payment that is paid in advance of the date for which the borrower is contractually obligated to pay it. Examples of a prepayment come in the form of rent or early loan repayments.

2- Long term Investments

An account on the asset side of a company's balance sheet that represents the investments that a company intends to hold for more than a year. They may include stocks, bonds, real estate and cash.

3- Fixed Asset

A long-term tangible piece of property that a firm owns and uses in the production of its income and is not expected to be consumed or converted into cash any sooner than at least one year's time.

4- Intangible asset

An asset that is not physical in nature. Corporate intellectual property (items such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, business methodologies), goodwill and brand recognition are all common intangible assets in today's marketplace. An intangible asset can be classified as either indefinite or definite depending on the specifics of that asset. A company brand name is considered to be an indefinite asset, as it stays with the company as long as the company continues operations. However, if a company enters a legal agreement to operate under another company's patent, with no plans of extending the agreement, it would have a limited life and would be classified as a definite asset.

5- Other Asset

Other assets are a grouping of accounts that are listed as a separate line item in the assets section of the balance sheet and which contain minor assets that do not naturally fit into any of the main asset categories.