# What Is Depreciation, and How Is It Calculated?

Accumulated depreciation is subtracted from the historical cost of the asset on the balance sheet to show the asset at book value. Book value is the amount of the asset that has not been allocated to expense through depreciation. Depreciation expenses, on the other hand, are the allocated portion of the cost of a company’s fixed assets for a certain period. Depreciation expense is recognized on the income statement as a non-cash expense that reduces the company’s net income or profit. For accounting purposes, the depreciation expense is debited, and the accumulated depreciation is credited. It is accounted for when companies record the loss in value of their fixed assets through depreciation.

• In our example, the first year’s double-declining-balance depreciation expense would be \$58,000 × 40%, or \$23,200.
• As with the straight-line example, the asset could be used for more than five years, with depreciation recalculated at the end of year five using the double-declining balance method.
• Capital expenditures are directly tied to “top line” revenue growth – and depreciation is the reduction of the PP&E purchase value (i.e., expensing of Capex).
• Completing the calculation, the purchase price subtract the residual value is \$10,500 divided by seven years of useful life gives us an annual depreciation expense of \$1,500.
• Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages depending on factors such as tax laws and industry standards.

This means that instead of expensing the full cost of the asset in one year, it is spread out over several years based on how long the asset will provide value to the business. Depreciation expense is the allocation of the cost of a long-term asset over its useful life. The key takeaway is that depreciation, despite being a non-cash expense, reduces taxable income and has a positive impact on the ending cash balance. Assuming the company pays for the PP&E in all cash, that \$100k in cash is now out the door, no matter what, but the income statement will state otherwise to abide by accrual accounting standards. Depreciation and amortization are non-cash expenses that are created by accountants to spread out the cost of capital assets such as Property, Plant, and Equipment (PP&E). Assume in the earlier Kenzie example that after five years and \$48,000 in accumulated depreciation, the company estimated that it could use the asset for two more years, at which point the salvage value would be \$0.

## Is Accumulated Depreciation Equal to Depreciation Expense?

To account for this decrease in value, companies use various depreciation methods to allocate the cost of the asset over its useful life. By spreading out the cost over several years (or even decades), businesses can more accurately reflect the true financial impact of owning and using an asset. Depreciation expense is referred to as a noncash expense because the recurring, monthly depreciation entry what is depreciation and how do you calculate it (a debit to Depreciation Expense and a credit to Accumulated Depreciation) does not involve a cash payment. As a result, a statement of cash flows prepared under the indirect method will add back the depreciation expense that had been deducted on the income statement. While not present in all income statements, EBITDA stands for Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, and Amortization.

• Depreciation is the systematic allocation of an asset’s cost to expense over the useful life of the asset.
• The journal entry to record the purchase of a fixed asset (assuming that a note payable is used for financing and not a short-term account payable) is shown here.
• Based on these assumptions, the depreciable amount is \$4,000 (\$5,000 cost – \$1,000 salvage value).
• This salvage value, or residual value, is subtracted from the purchase price and then divided by the number of years in the asset’s useful life.
• Instead of realizing a large one-time expense for that year, the company subtracts \$1,500 depreciation each year for the next five years and reports annual earnings of \$8,500 (\$10,000 profit minus \$1,500).

Businesses also create accounting depreciation schedules with tax benefits in mind because depreciation on assets is deductible as a business expense in accordance with IRS rules. See how the declining balance method is used in our financial modeling course. Calculating the proper expense amount for amortization and depreciation on an income statement varies from one specific situation to another, but we can use a simple example to understand the basics. Accumulated depreciation totals depreciation expense since the asset has been in use. Tracking the depreciation expense of an asset is important for reporting purposes because it spreads the cost of the asset over the time it’s in use. For example, the machine in the example above that was purchased for \$500,000 is reported with a value of \$300,000 in year three of ownership.

## Units of production depreciation

Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years. Doing so enables the user and reader to know where changes in inputs can be made and which cells contain formulae and, as such, should not be changed or tampered with. Regardless of the formatting method chosen, however, remember to maintain consistent usage in order to avoid confusion. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License .

Accounting treatment on income statements varies somewhat for each business and by industry. The source of the depreciation expense determines whether the expense is allocated between cost of goods sold or operating expenses. Some depreciation expenses are included in the cost of goods sold and, therefore, are captured in gross profit. Depreciation on the income statement is for one period, while depreciation on the balance sheet is cumulative for all fixed assets still held by an organization. While it might seem counterintuitive that recording a lower asset value could be beneficial for your business’s finances, properly accounting for depreciation is actually crucial for accurate financial statements. It also helps with forecasting future expenses related to maintaining or replacing assets as they near the end of their useful lives.

They would say that the company should have added the depreciation figures back into the \$8,500 in reported earnings and valued the company based on the \$10,000 figure. For the past decade, Sherry’s Cotton Candy Company earned an annual profit of \$10,000. One year, the business purchased a \$7,500 cotton candy machine expected to last for five years.

This will be the depreciation expense the company recognizes for the equipment every year for the next seven years. Over the next year though, the company will begin to recognize a depreciation expense for the equipment, representing its gradual obsolescence, loss of value from use, and increased age. That expense, which appears on the income statement, is not for the full purchase price of the equipment, but rather an incremental amount calculated from accounting formulas. Value investors and asset management companies sometimes acquire assets that have large upfront fixed expenses, resulting in hefty depreciation charges for assets that may not need a replacement for decades. This results in far higher profits than the income statement alone would appear to indicate.

## Fundamentals of Amortization of an Intangible

Businesses use accelerated methods when dealing with assets that are more productive in their early years. The double declining balance method is often used for equipment when the units of production method is not used. Both depreciation and amortization are accounting methods designed to help companies recognize expenses over several years. The expense reduces the amount of profit, allowing a company to have a lower taxable income. Since depreciation and amortization are not typically part of cost of goods sold—meaning they’re not tied directly to production—they’re not included in gross profit.

An investor who ignores the economic reality of depreciation expenses may easily overvalue a business, and his investment may suffer as a result. As stated earlier, in most cases, depreciation and amortization are treated as separate line items on the income statement. Gross profit is the revenue earned by a company after deducting the direct costs of producing its products.

Amortization is an accounting term that essentially depreciates intangible assets such as intellectual property or loan interest over time. The sum-of-the-years’ digits (SYD) method also allows for accelerated depreciation. The annual depreciation using the straight-line method is calculated by dividing the depreciable amount by the total number of years. The depreciation expense amount changes every year because the factor is multiplied with the previous period’s net book value of the asset, decreasing over time due to accumulated depreciation. The straight-line depreciation method is the most widely used and is also the easiest to calculate. The method takes an equal depreciation expense each year over the useful life of the asset.

## A primer on the accounting behind amortization and depreciation expenses.

The accounts involved in recording depreciation are Depreciation Expense and Accumulated Depreciation. In other words, depreciation reduces net income on the income statement, but it does not reduce the company’s cash that is reported on the balance sheet. Another type of fixed asset is natural resources, assets a company owns that are consumed when used. These assets are considered natural resources while they are still part of the land; as they are extracted from the land and converted into products, they are then accounted for as inventory (raw materials). Natural resources are recorded on the company’s books like a fixed asset, at cost, with total costs including all expenses to acquire and prepare the resource for its intended use.

It is calculated by subtracting SG&A expenses (excluding amortization and depreciation) from gross profit. The units of production method is different from the two above methods in that while those methods are based on time factors, the units of production is based on usage. However, the total amount of depreciation taken over an asset’s economic life will still be the same. In our example, the total depreciation will be \$48,000, even though the sum-of-the-years-digits method could take only two or three years or possibly six or seven years to be allocated. However, over the depreciable life of the asset, the total depreciation expense taken will be the same, no matter which method the entity chooses. For example, in the current example both straight-line and double-declining-balance depreciation will provide a total depreciation expense of \$48,000 over its five-year depreciable life.

Again, it is important for investors to pay close attention to ensure that management is not boosting book value behind the scenes through depreciation-calculating tactics. But with that said, this tactic is often used to depreciate assets beyond their real value. Calculating amortization and depreciation using the straight-line method is the most straightforward. You can calculate these amounts by dividing the initial cost of the asset by the lifetime of it.

Depreciation represents the cost of capital assets on the balance sheet being used over time, and amortization is the similar cost of using intangible assets like goodwill over time. There are many different terms and financial concepts incorporated into income statements. Two of these concepts—depreciation and amortization—can be somewhat confusing, but they are essentially used to account for decreasing value of assets over time. Specifically, amortization occurs when the depreciation of an intangible asset is split up over time, and depreciation occurs when a fixed asset loses value over time. Depreciation is typically used with fixed assets or tangible assets, such as property, plant, and equipment (PP&E).

The revenue growth rate will decrease by 1.0% each year until reaching 3.0% in 2025. But in the absence of such data, the number of assumptions required based on approximations rather than internal company information makes the method ultimately less credible. If the data is readily accessible (e.g., a portfolio company of a private equity firm), then this granular approach would actually be feasible, as well as be more informative than the simple percentage-based projection approach.

The income statement may have minor variations between different companies, as expenses and income will be dependent on the type of operations or business conducted. However, there are several generic line items that are commonly seen in any income statement. See Form 10-K that was filed with the SEC to determine which depreciation method McDonald’s Corporation used for its long-term assets in 2017. Applying this to Liam’s silk-screening business, we learn that he purchased his silk-screening machine for \$5,000 by paying \$1,000 cash and the remainder in a note payable over five years. Accumulated depreciation is commonly used to forecast the lifetime of an item or to keep track of depreciation year-over-year.

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