What's what in finances: Asset

A resource with economic value that an individual, corporation, or country owns or controls with the expectation that it will provide a future benefit.

An asset represents an economic resource for a company or represents access that other individuals or firms do not have. A right or other access is legally enforceable, which means economic resources can be used at a company's discretion, and its use can be precluded or limited by an owner.

Assets are reported on a company's balance sheet and are bought or created to increase a firm's value or benefit the firm's operations. An asset can be thought of as something that, in the future, can generate cash flow, reduce expenses, or improve sales, regardless of whether it's manufacturing equipment or a patent.

For an asset to be present, a company must possess a right to it as of the date of the financial statements. An economic resource is something that is scarce and has the ability to produce economic benefit by generating cash inflows or decreasing cash outflows.

Another term related to asset is net.

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