Skip to content

Accumulated Depreciation Explained Bench Accounting

is accumulated depreciation a expense

This asset is estimated to have a useful life of 7 years and no salvage value at the end of 7 years. Assuming the retailer uses the straight-line depreciation method, during each month of the display racks’ lives the retailer’s monthly income statement will report depreciation expense of $1,000. Double-declining balance is a type of accelerated depreciation method. This method records higher amounts of depreciation during the early years of an asset’s life and lower amounts during the asset’s later years.

A fifth reason why assets lose value is called „reflation.” It is when the economy gets more robust and inflation increases. If the prices of all the goods and services increase, the asset’s value will also increase. The fourth reason assets lose value is called „investment risk.” You can lose weight when you invest your money in a stock or other asset. If the value of the stock falls too much, you can lose a lot of money. If an asset loses value due to inflation, its price will increase. Asset depreciation is an economic phenomenon that results in an impairment of the value of a tangible or intangible asset.


Depreciation expense can be calculated using a variety of methods. The depreciation method chosen should be appropriate to the asset type, its expected business use, its estimated useful life, and the asset’s residual value. The amount reduces both the asset’s value and the accounting period’s income. A depreciation method commonly used to calculate depreciation expense is the straight line method. Accumulated depreciation is a contra-asset equal to the total of all depreciation expense incurred relating to a long-term asset.

The credit balance is reported in the property, plant and equipment section of the balance sheet and it reduces the cost of the assets to their carrying value or book value. Depreciation expense is recorded on the income statement as an expense or debit, reducing net income. Accumulated depreciation is not recorded separately on the balance sheet. Instead, it’s recorded in a contra asset account as a credit, reducing the value of fixed assets. The accumulated depreciation account is a contra asset account on a company’s balance sheet.

Business Operations

This method is commonly used by companies with assets that lose their value or become obsolete more quickly. Depreciation is an expense that is meant to help asset owners account for wear and tear to the asset through the normal course of use. Property, plant, and equipment, including real estate can all be depreciated because the thinking goes that they get “used up” over time. For example, a rental property that is lived in for many years will surely end up with some dents and dings, even if the property management company does a good job maintaining it.

The total value of all the assets of a company is listed on the balance sheet rather than showing the value of each individual asset. Most capital assets have a residual value, sometimes called „scrap value” or salvage value. This value is what the asset is worth at the end of its useful life and what it could be sold for when the company has finished with it. Accumulated depreciation is not an asset because balances stored in the account are not something that will produce economic value to the business over multiple reporting periods. Accumulated depreciation actually represents the amount of economic value that has been consumed in the past. When preparing financial statements or tax returns, consult with a certified public accountant.

Relation between the accumulated depreciation and the depreciation

The straight-line method is the most common method used to calculate depreciation expense. It is the simplest method because it equally distributes the depreciation expense over the life of the asset. The reason for this is that accumulated depreciation reduces the cost basis of the property, which can result in a gain upon the sale of the property.

  • Accumulated depreciation is the total amount of depreciation expense that has been allocated for an asset since the asset was put into use.
  • Other times, accumulated depreciation may be shown separately for each class of assets, such as furniture, equipment, vehicles, and buildings.
  • It’s essential to ensure that your repairs and renewals save you money in the long run rather than just providing a visual appearance of being updated or improved.
  • Depreciation is a standard accounting method to reflect an asset’s value decline.

Other times, accumulated depreciation may be shown separately for each class of assets, such as furniture, equipment, vehicles, and buildings. Accumulated depreciation is not considered an asset because assets represent something that will produce economic value to the enterprise over the past. And accumulated depreciation does not produce the organization’s economic value as accumulated depreciation itself shows the credit balance. Hence the value of accumulated depreciation does not represent something that produced economic value, whether in the past or the future. We can also view expense as an event where liability is incurred or an asset is used up. By examining the accounting equation, it is obvious that expenses are used to reduce owners’ equity.

How to calculate accumulated depreciation

An asset’s depreciation expense is the sum of its allocated and reported costs at the end of each reporting period. It is calculated by subtracting the value an asset is predicted to retain until it is exhausted from the asset’s worth at the time it was acquired. Then, you need to divide that sum by the expected lifespan of the asset.

According to your general ledger, the asset’s balance is $10,000 with accumulated depreciation of $6,000, for a net book value of $4,000. Yes, you should have a dedicated accumulated depreciation sub-account for every asset your business is depreciating. Each account name should start with “accumulated depreciation” followed is accumulated depreciation a expense by the name of the asset. Market capitalization measures a company’s perceived value to investors, calculated by multiplying the number of outstanding shares by the current share price. Market capitalization is often used to gauge a company’s stock performance relative to companies in the same industry and sector.