The Difference between Furniture & Office Equipment Classifications

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Office furniture, equipment and supplies are often listed as individual line items in a an office budget. When extra money is leftover at the end of the year in a particular line item, those funds are the first to be reduced or eliminated during budget cuts. It's important to research office furniture design, office equipment durability and office supply discounts so that you can best utilize all of your allocated budget under specific line items before the end of the fiscal year.

Office Furniture

The term office furniture comprises furniture that is part of the office's design and includes all large furnishings, such as desks, tables, chairs and book shelves. These large items generally cost hundreds or thousands of dollars per item and last a minimum of five years. The budget for office furniture can be inconsistent, because most of an office's furniture expenses are budgeted into the company's start-up costs. Depending on the company's needs, the office furniture budget can be drastically reduced in the following year or two. Although some major office furnishings may need to be replaced every twenty years, high-quality office furniture may never need to be replaced. Well-designed and functional furniture can increase a worker's productivity and enthusiasm, meaning that an investment in office furniture is often an investment in the company's image.

Office Equipment

Office equipment is a functional or mechanical item used to facilitate production in the office, such as a fax or copier machine. Less expensive items, such as staplers, are generally classified as office supplies. The contemporary office requires an abundance of office equipment. As of 2010, basic office equipment included a computer for each employee, and a printer and scanner are commonly used in each office space. More advanced office equipment might include a fingerprint or eye scanner, high-tech digital cameras or video recorders, and video conferencing equipment, including a flat screen projector. Office equipment may need to be replaced more often than office furniture, particularly as new technology is debuted and utilized. The more important the office equipment's function is to the office, the more often it will need to be replaced. Office equipment which faces more wear and tear from daily and consistent use, such as a company laptop or cell phone, will have a shorter lifespan and greater maintenance cost. Office equipment maintenance and repair costs should be a separate line item from the office equipment allocation.

Office Supplies

General office supplies include all of the items necessary to run the office. Small office equipment, such as staplers and tape dispensers, can also be purchased under this line item. The main office supply cost might include reams of paper, printed forms and documents, sticky notes and notepads. All expendable items, such as pens, pencils, highlighters and all writing supplies, also fall into this category. Office supplies must continuously be replenished because of their mobility and disposability. It's often difficult to account for all of the small items, particularly when the office utilizes an open supply cabinet. Pay close attention to the weekly inventory and invoice sheets. Look at the items which exhaust the majority of your office supply budget and shop around. You can easily reduce your spending and increase your savings by researching the best prices.

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About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Victoria McGrath has been writing law-related articles since 2004. She specializes in intellectual property, copyright and trademark law. She earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona, College of Law. McGrath pursued both her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Fine Arts at University of California, Los Angeles, in film and television production. Her work has been published in the Daily Bruin and La Gente Newsmagazine.