Internal control is a subset of the accounting system to aid in proper reporting of existing assets and liabilities. Internal controls over fixed assets alleviate two distinct risks. The primary risk is physical in nature and relates to the asset getting lost, stolen or damaged thereby affecting the value as reported on the financial statements. The second risk is financial in nature related to errors in determining cost basis, useful life, and depreciation assigned; all of which can affect value.
Each risk uses a separate set of controls to minimize or eliminate the exposure and reduce management’s concern that the financial value as reported is incorrect. This article explains the standard set of controls for each risk group.