Accumulated Depreciation

Accumulated Depreciation

What is Accumulated Depreciation?

Accumulated depreciation is the total depreciation recorded for an asset over its useful life.

For Example, Max, a businessman, buys a private plane for $3,000,000. After using it for three years, its value depreciated to $2,700,000. Thus the accumulated depreciation for three years is $300,000.

It is the cumulative asset depreciation up to one point. Each period starts with the depreciation cost applied to the total. One can choose not to use MACRS for depreciated assets if one uses a method other than straight-line depreciation over a set number of years. For example, the unit-of-production method is one such method.

Key Highlights

  • Accumulated depreciation is an accounting method that allows for the gradual deductibility of long-term assets.
  • It applies to tangible assets like machinery and equipment and intangible assets like goodwill and patents.
  • To find it, subtract the salvage value from the asset’s original cost, divide the result by the asset’s valuable life, and multiply by the number of years.
  • It helps the company’s administration make informed decisions about when to replace and repair the assets.

How does Accumulated Depreciation Work?

  • Depreciation is a way to track the spread of the cost of an asset over its useful life.
  • It includes wear and tear on a business’s equipment, which can affect the asset’s value over time.
  • It can be subtracted yearly from the business’s taxable income, reducing the company’s taxes.
  • It helps lower taxes and net profits resulting from this taxable income reduction.
  • Its basis is that an investment will last longer than its estimated lifetime, even if one uses it only half the time. Depreciation allows a more accurate reflection of the asset’s value over time.
  • It allows a more accurate reflection of the asset’s value over time by spreading its cost over its useful life.


Formulas are:

Accumulated Depreciation= ((Asset’s Original Cost – Salvage Value)/ Useful Life) * No. Of Years


  • The initial cost of goods is the initial cost at which one purchases the goods and determines its initial value.
  • The salvage cost of an asset is its book value after deducting all depreciation.
  • Useful life is the product’s rough lifespan in years.
  • The number of Years refers to the period the company has used the product.
Accumulated Depreciation= Accumulated depreciation at the beginning of the year + Depreciation expense for the period – Accumulated depreciation on disposed of assets


  • Depreciation at the beginning of the year refers to the depreciation of the asset until the beginning of the year.
  • Depreciation for the period means the amount of asset depreciation in the particular year.
  • Depreciation on disposed of assets refers to the depreciation associated with the company’s assets, either disposed of or sold.


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You can download this Accumulated Depreciation Template here – Accumulated Depreciation Template

Example #1

Lily purchased a new car worth $500,000. The company has a useful life of 6 years and a salvage value of $50,000 at the end of its useful life. Calculate the accumulated depreciation after 2,4, and 5 years of use.


Accumulated Depreciation example q1


Let us calculate the depreciation for the year 2,

Solution 1.1

Similarly, for the year 4,

Solution 1.2

Next, for the year 5,

Solution 1.3

Thus, the accumulated depreciation after two, four, and five years of use would be $150,000, $300,000, and $375,000, respectively.

Example #2

An US corporation ABZ purchases heavy industrial machinery for $2,500,000. At the beginning of the year, the depreciation was $600,000. During the period, the machinery’s value depreciated by $470,000. Value of the disposed assets is $235,000. Calculate the Accumulated depreciation.


Accumulated Depreciation Example q2


Implementing the formula,

Solution 2.1

Thus, the accumulated depreciation is $835,000 as a result of adding the aggregates of depreciation till the start of the period and during the period and then subtracting the depreciation of assets disposed of from the sum.

Methods to Calculate

Straight-line Depreciation Method

  • Multiply the valuable life of a fixed asset by the depreciable base to determine straight-line depreciation.
  • The difference between an asset’s total expenditures and its anticipated salvage value at the end of its useful life is known as the depreciable base.
  • The years that the asset will provide financial benefits indicate the useful life.
Formula: (Asset cost – Estimated residual value) / Anticipated years of use = Accumulated Depreciation

Decreasing Balance Method

  • A decreasing balance approach accelerates the reporting of depreciation expenditure for assets in their early stages of useful life.
  • It means they will incur less depreciation expense later in their useful lives.
Formula: Total annual depreciation = Depreciation factor x (1 / Asset life) x Remainder value

Double-Declining Balance Depreciation Method

  • The double declining balance (DDB) depreciation method is an accounting approach that involves depreciating some assets at twice the rate specified by straight-line depreciation.
  • As a result, depreciation is most significant in the first year of ownership and gradually decreases over time.
Formula: Total annual depreciation = 2 x Depreciation factor x (1 / Asset life) x Residual value

Depreciation vs. Accumulated Depreciation

Accumulated Depreciation


It is the total amount recorded up to a specific date and reported on the balance sheet. Depreciation is the amount of the decrease in value for a given period and is typically recorded as an expense on the income statement.
It is the total depreciation that has occurred up to a specific date. Depreciation is the amount of depreciation for a specific period for example, 1 year.
It is the total depreciation taken over the asset’s lifetime, subtracted from its cost to calculate its book value.  To figure out depreciation, take the asset’s cost minus its expected salvage value and divide it by how long it is expected to last.
It is an asset’s total depreciation since purchase.


Instead of paying for a long-term asset all at once, depreciation spreads the expense throughout the item’s useful life.


  • To give an accurate record of an asset’s historical cost and depreciation over time.
  • Matching an asset’s price with the income it generates is a crucial principle of accounting.
  • To provide a way to assess an asset’s remaining useful life and value.
  • To help management make informed decisions about when to replace or repair assets.
  • To assist in tax planning, it can help reduce taxable income.
  • To provide a means of allocating the cost of a purchase over its useful life systematically and rationally.


  • It reflects the wear and tear on an asset over time, which is a critical component of the asset’s value.
  • It provides a way to match the cost of an asset to the income it generates, which is a crucial accounting principle.
  • It helps companies make informed decisions about when to replace or repair assets.
  • The company can use it in accounting for tax purposes, reducing their taxable income.
  • It is also used in financial statements such as the balance sheet to indicate the depreciation worth of assets over time.
  • It also aids in budgeting for future expenses for the replacement of assets.

Final Thoughts

Accumulated depreciation is a way for businesses to track the decrease in the value of their assets over time. The most common method is the straight-line method, which considers the asset’s initial cost, scrap value, and valuable life. This method assumes a steady decrease in value over the asset’s life. Businesses should regularly check and update their depreciation calculations to ensure their financial statements are correct. It will help them make intelligent decisions about replacing assets and managing their money.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Are depreciation costs a current asset?

Answer: No. The company reports depreciation expenses in the income statement and other typical business expenses; it is not a current asset. The balance sheet includes accrued depreciation.

Q2. Is accumulated depreciation an expense?

Answer: No. The total amount of asset wear and tear is measured by cumulative depreciation. In other words, it represents the sum of all depreciation costs incurred up to this point.

Q3. Where does accumulated depreciation go on a balance sheet?

Answer: Balance sheets include detailed information about a company’s assets and their original and current value. It is the dollar amount in which an asset’s value decreases from actual to present value.

Q4. What is the difference between depreciation and accumulated depreciation?

Answer: Accumulated Depreciation is the total amount of depreciation in previous periods. Depreciation expense, on the other hand, is the amount of depreciation in a particular period.

Q5. How frequently should the balance sheet’s accumulated depreciation be updated?

Answer: Since most cumulative depreciation occurs annually, one might only need to manually calculate new rates if you update his balance sheets monthly. The balance sheet should be rechecked for any significant changes, though.

Recommended Articles

We hope that you find this EDUCBA information on Accumulated depreciation useful. EDUCBA suggests the following articles for additional details on depreciation-related subjects:

  1. Accelerated Depreciation
  2. Depreciation for Cars
  3. Depreciation Rate
  4. MACRS Depreciation

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