Putting a value on assets
Since 2003, White County, Ga., had used spreadsheets to track the values of its fixed assets and meet Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) 34 accounting requirements. Beverly Bollefer, purchasing manager, says the process was “very frustrating, because several different spreadsheets were used for vehicle replacement, insurance and other fixed asset tracking. When there was a change in an automobile, for example, that change had to be made on numerous reports.”
The task was daunting enough for newly purchased items, but by next year, the county will have to track the depreciation values and report them retroactively on fixed assets purchased before 2003. White County looked for an alternative to spreadsheets that would automate some of the accounting steps. Using FAS Gov Fixed Assets by Herndon, Va.-based Sage Software purchased in November 2005, the county manages fixed assets automatically. It also can integrate with most accounting packages, Bollefer says. “We’ll likely replace our accounting system in the near future, so that particular feature is very important.”
White County depreciates the value of fixed assets worth $2,000 or more, including buildings, motorized vehicles and office equipment. The county has 500 diverse fixed assets in one fund, and 100 more in another. The new system tracks and manages information on all of them, as well as data for roads and bridges, on which White County will report after its current fiscal year ends on June 30, 2006. “We can change a fiscal year, and numerous data fields allow us to enter as much or little information as necessary. Plus, depreciation reports are simple to create and understand,” Bollefer says.
Asset notes also are stored, so when it is time to dispose of the property, Bollefer knows its history. She also says pictures and copies of the invoice can be scanned into the records. “When the auditors come, I have easy access to information without digging through files,” she says.