How To Calculate Depreciation: Accounting Essentials

by admin July 2, 2021
3 Ways on How to Calculate Depreciation

How to calculate depreciation and which method should apply to a particular asset is important to know. When most people hear the word depreciation, one of the first things that come to mind is a car. But in reality, depreciation applies to so much more than vehicles. Depreciation is the documenting of the value of a company’s assets. Whether it’s inventory, software, equipment, or something else, accountants are required to report depreciation on financial statements according to the GAAP guidelines. It is important in creating true and helpful financial statements for your business. There are four ways outlined in the GAAP, but we will only discuss three here.

How To Calculate Depreciation? Here you can find all the methods of depreciation.

1. Declining Balance Depreciation

This method is more of an accelerated depreciation that can be used to write off the costs of depreciation quickly while minimizing tax exposure. Declining balance depreciation doesn’t depreciate assets evenly over time, instead, it applies a constant rate of depreciation over an asset’s life. Assets that are far more valuable earlier on in their useful life, like software and other technological items, are prime candidates for this method. If and when this asset is sold, this method tends to generate a larger profit from the sale. This method also includes the double-declining balance method for even faster depreciation of an asset.

2. Straight-Line Depreciation

Straight Line Depreciation is probably the most popular and perhaps the simplest. It estimates the salvage cost and the useful life of an asset. When the salvage cost is subtracted from the original cost you’re left with the depreciable cost. Depreciable cost is divided equally over the asset’s estimated useful life so that every year, the asset loses the same value. Straight-line depreciation makes balance sheets easy and doesn’t require complex calculations. Different industries may also use this method. It should be noted that variations in profits and losses are not an issue with this method. 

3. Units of Production Depreciation

Units of production method or the activity method give an equal rate to each unit that’s produced. This method of depreciation is very helpful for companies in the manufacturing sector, like assembly and production lines. The formula for calculating this method uses the cost of an asset based on its original cost and its estimated salvage cost. This is called historical cost. The expense for a particular accounting period is determined by multiplying it by the number of units produced. This method completely ignores the element of time. For tax purposes, we should not use this method.

Of course, nothing lasts forever, and you’ll definitely experience assets depreciating over time. That’s why knowing how to calculate depreciation is necessary within your business. Most businesses stick to one depreciation methodology and depreciation methodologies tend to be industry-specific. If you’re still unsure of how to go about reporting your company’s depreciation, don’t be afraid to hire a professional to do it for you. Business accounting is important to know the true value of your business, maintain financial data, tax preparations and so much more.