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Decoding Depreciation: Types, Examples & How to Calculate Depreciation

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Created on
August 9, 2023


What’s Inside

Depreciation is vital in accounting as it helps businesses and individuals account for the gradual decrease in value of assets over time. Accurate financial reporting and tax calculations depend on it. Accounting has different depreciation types, each with their own calculation methods.

Understanding Depreciation

Depreciation is the allocation of an asset's cost over its useful life. The asset's value decreases as it is used or becomes outdated, and the company records the related depreciation expense on its financial statements. Depreciation is a non-cash expense that does not involve an actual outflow of cash.

Types of Depreciation

Although there are several types of depreciation-calculation methods such as ‘Units of Production Method’, Annuity Method’, Double Declining Balance Method’, etc., let us take a look at the two most popular methods:

1. Straight-Line Depreciation

Straight-line depreciation is the most common and straightforward method. Under this method, an asset's cost is evenly distributed over its useful life. The formula to calculate straight-line depreciation is:

Annual Depreciation Expense = (Cost of the Asset - Residual Value) / Useful Life


  • Cost of the Asset denotes the original cost of the asset.
  • The Residual Value (also known as salvage value or scrap value) is the asset's estimated value at the end of its useful life.
  • And, Useful Life is the expected number of years or units of production during which the asset will be used.

Example: Suppose a company purchases equipment worth ₹ 50 Lakhs with a useful life of 10 years and a residual value of ₹ 5 Lakhs. Using the straight-line method, the annual depreciation expense would be:

(50,00,000 - 5,00,000) / 10 = ₹ 4,50,000 per year

2. Declining Balance Depreciation Method

The declining balance method is an accelerated depreciation method. It allocates more depreciation expense in the early years of an asset's life and less as it approaches the end of its useful life. The formula for calculating declining balance depreciation is:

Annual Depreciation Expense = (Book Value at the Beginning of the Year) x (Depreciation Rate)

Example: If the depreciation rate is 40% and the book value of the asset at the beginning of the year is ₹ 4,00,000, the annual depreciation expense would be:

4,00,000 x 40% = ₹ 1,60,000 for that year

The book value at the beginning of the next year would be reduced by the depreciation expense, and the process repeats until the book value reaches the residual value or any predetermined limit.

Which Type of an Account is a Depreciation Account?

The depreciation account represents a cost incurred by the business over time, hence it is a type of nominal expense account, also known as a contra-asset account. As the asset's value decreases over time, the depreciation account increases, reducing the asset's net value.

In Summation

Different calculation methods have advantages and suit different types of assets and industries. Accurate depreciation calculations help businesses manage their finances and make informed asset and investment decisions. It's also crucial for individuals to account for depreciation properly to plan personal finances and optimize tax liabilities.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is depreciation?

Depreciation Accounting allocates asset costs over their useful life. It applies to both tangible assets such as buildings, machinery, and vehicles, and intangible assets like patents and copyrights. Depreciation spreads costs over time, accurately reports finances, and determines an asset's value over its lifespan.

2. What are the different types of depreciation methods?

Various depreciation methods exist, such as straight-line, declining balance, annuity, and units of production. The widely-used approaches are straight-line, which spreads the cost evenly across the asset's life, and declining balance, which assigns more depreciation to initial years.

3. What are some examples of assets that undergo depreciation?

Depreciating assets, such as machinery, vehicles, computers, and buildings, decrease in value on the company's balance sheet as their book value drops. The asset's current value is determined by subtracting the accumulated depreciation from the original cost.

4. How is depreciation calculated?

Straight-line depreciation is calculated by subtracting the asset's residual value from its initial cost and dividing it by the useful life. Reducing balance depreciation is a fixed percentage of the asset's book value each year.

5. Is there any significance to understanding depreciation for businesses and individuals?

Depreciation is important because it affects net income, taxes, and the value of assets like homes and cars. Businesses use it to plan for asset replacements and individuals can claim it as a tax deduction to lower their taxable income and liabilities.


Fi Money is not a bank; it offers banking services through licensed partners and investment services through epiFi Wealth Pvt. Ltd. and its partners. This post is for information only and is not professional financial advice.
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