What Are the Main Asset Classes in Bookkeeping?


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asset classes


Are you confused by the different asset classes in bookkeeping? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Keeping track of your company’s assets is crucial for financial management and decision-making. Knowing the main asset classes can help you understand where your money is going and how to allocate funds effectively. In this blog post, we’ll break down the four main asset classes in bookkeeping and explain why they matter. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s dive into the world of accounting!


What Are Asset Classes?


Asset classes are the categories in which assets are classified. The three main asset classes are real estate, personal property, and intangible assets.


Real Estate 


In bookkeeping, real estate is considered one of the main asset classes. This includes both commercial and residential properties. When it comes to bookkeeping, real estate can be a complex area. There are many different types of bookkeeping systems that can be used to keep track of real estate transactions. However, no matter what type of system is used, there are certain elements that must be included in order for the records to be accurate. Some of the key elements that must be tracked in a real estate bookkeeping system include:


  1. The purchase price of the property
  2. The date of purchase
  3. The mortgage balance
  4. The property taxes owed
  5. The insurance payments made
  6. Any repairs or renovations made to the property
  7. The monthly rental income received
  8. Any expenses related to the property, such as advertising or management fees


Personal property


In bookkeeping, personal property is classified as an asset. Personal property can be either tangible (physical) or intangible (nonphysical).

Tangible personal property includes items such as furniture, vehicles, jewellery, and collectibles.


Intangible personal property includes items such as patents, copyrights, and trademarks. For example, a home is a type of tangible personal property, but it may also have an intangible value if it has been paid off. Personal property can have both monetary and non-monetary value. Monetary value is the amount of money that could be received if the item was sold.


Non-monetary value is the sentimental or emotional value that an item has to the owner.


Intangible assets


Intangible assets are non-physical assets that provide long-term economic benefits. Examples of intangible assets include patents, copyrights, trademarks, and goodwill. Intangible assets are typically acquired through acquisition or investment and are recorded on the balance sheet at their historical cost.


The value of an asset can change over time due to a variety of factors such as inflation, market conditions, or changes in the underlying asset. For this reason, it’s important for businesses to keep track of their assets and monitor their performance so they can make informed decisions about how to best use them.


Why Are Asset Classes Useful?


asset classes


There are a few key reasons why asset classes are useful in bookkeeping:

1. They help to categorise assets so that you can easily see which ones are performing well and which ones need improvement.
2. Asset classes provide valuable information for making investment decisions.
3. They can be used to measure the performance of a portfolio over time.
4. Asset classes provide an easy way to allocate funds between different types of investments, such as stocks, bonds, and cash.
5. They are a useful tool for tax planning and reporting.


What Are the Types of Asset Classes?


There are five main asset classes in bookkeeping:

  1.  Equity
  2. Cash
  3. Fixed Income
  4. Real Estate
  5. Derivatives


1. Equity


There are many different types of equity, but the most common are stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Each type of equity has its own characteristics, which bookkeepers must be familiar with in order to accurately record transactions.

Stocks represent ownership in a company and can be bought and sold on stock exchanges. Bonds are loans that investors make to companies or governments, and they earn interest on their investments.


Mutual funds are a type of investment vehicle that allows investors to pool their money together and invest in a variety of different securities.


2. Cash and Cash Equivalents


Cash and cash equivalents are the most liquid of all asset classes. This means they can be easily converted into cash without affecting the value of the investment. Cash equivalents include checking account balances, savings account balances, money market mutual fund balances, and certificates of deposit.


3. Fixed Income


Fixed income refers to investments that pay a set rate of return over a period of time, such as bonds and other debt instruments. These investments are typically less volatile than stocks, but they also offer lower potential returns.

For investors looking for stability and income, fixed income can be an attractive option. However, it’s important to remember that fixed-income investments are still subject to interest rate risk – meaning that if rates rise, the value of your investment will fall.


4. Real Estate


Real estate is one of the most important asset classes in bookkeeping. It includes both commercial and residential properties. Commercial real estate includes office buildings, retail space, warehouses, and industrial buildings. Residential real estate includes single-family homes, apartments, and condominiums. Real estate can be an excellent investment for bookkeepers because it is a tangible asset that can appreciate in value over time.

5. Derivatives


Derivatives are financial contracts whose value is based on an underlying asset. The most common types of derivatives are futures, options, and swaps. Derivatives can be used to hedge risk or to speculate on the future price of an asset.


Bookkeepers should understand how derivatives work and how they can affect the financial statements of their clients. Derivatives are complicated and risky, so bookkeepers should only use them if they fully understand the risks involved.


What Is Diversification of Asset Classes?


asset classes


One of the most important aspects of bookkeeping is the diversification of asset classes. This simply means that you should not put all of your eggs in one basket, so to speak. You should have a mix of different types of assets to balance out your risk and potential return.

The most common asset classes are stocks, bonds, and cash. But there are many other types of assets that can be part of a diversified portfolio, including real estate, commodities, and even collectibles.

The key is to find the right mix of asset classes for your individual situation. You may want to consult with a financial advisor to help you determine the best allocation for your needs.


What Are the Most Popular Asset Classes?


There are four main asset classes in bookkeeping: cash, accounts receivable, inventory, and fixed assets. Each one represents a different type of financial resource that a business has at its disposal.

Cash is the most liquid of all assets, meaning it can be quickly converted into cash without losing its value. This makes it ideal for businesses that need to cover short-term expenses or have a lot of day-to-day transactions.


Accounts receivable are funds that are owed to a business by its customers. This asset class is important because it represents potential future income for the business.


Inventory is the stock of goods or materials that a business has on hand. This can be anything from raw materials to finished products.


Fixed assets are long-term resources used in the operation of a business, such as buildings or machinery. They are typically not as easy to convert into cash as other asset classes, but they can be used as collateral for loans or lines of credit.


What Are Alternative Asset Classes?


The main asset classes are cash, stocks, bonds, and real estate. However, there are other asset classes that can be used in bookkeeping. These include alternative assets such as commodities, derivatives, and private equity.


Commodities are physical goods such as gold, oil, or wheat. They can be traded on exchanges and are subject to price fluctuations.

Derivatives are financial instruments whose value is derived from the underlying asset. Examples of derivatives include options and futures contracts.

Private equity is an investment in a company that is not listed on a stock exchange. Private equity funds tend to be other investments but can offer higher returns.


Are There Additional Factors in Classifying Assets?


There are a few other factors that can come into play when classifying assets. For example, some assets may be considered current assets, while others may be considered long-term assets. Additionally, some assets may be classified as intangible assets, while others may be classified as physical assets.


Finally, assets may also be classified according to the type of ownership. For example, some assets may be owned by an individual or family while others may be held by a corporation or other organization. Additionally, some assets may be owned by the government or public entities.




Bookkeeping is an essential part of running any business and the main asset classes are important components of that process. Understanding each of the main asset classes can help you manage your finances more effectively and ensure you have a clear understanding of where your money is going. Knowing how to classify your assets properly also helps protect against potential risk, as it will make it easier to identify if something goes wrong with one or more of them. With this information in hand, you should be well-equipped to take control of your financial future!

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Kayla Bloom

Kayla Bloom is a freelance Finance Writer specializing in topics related to Accounting, Bookkeeping, Taxes, and Business Finances. She lives in Miami, Florida.

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