Depreciation, Amortization, Depletion, and Impairment

Amortization of intangible assets is similar to depreciation of fixed assets. The two basic forms of depletion allowance are percentage depletion and cost depletion. The percentage depletion method allows a business to assign a fixed percentage of depletion to the gross income received from extracting natural resources. The cost depletion method takes into account the basis of the property, the total recoverable reserves, and the number of units sold.

Both terminologies spread the cost of an asset over its useful life, and a company doesn’t gain any financial advantage through one as opposed to the other. For example, a company often must often treat depreciation and amortization as non-cash transactions when preparing their statement of cash flow. Without this level of consideration, a company may find it more difficult to plan for capital expenditures that may require upfront capital. Amortization and depreciation are the two main methods of calculating the value of these assets, with the key difference between the two methods involving the type of asset being expensed. In addition, there are differences in the methods allowed, components of the calculations, and how they are presented on financial statements. Accrual accounting permits companies to recognize capital expenses in periods that reflect the use of the related capital asset.

For example, an oil well has a finite life before all of the oil is pumped out. Therefore, the oil well’s setup costs can be spread out over the predicted life of the well. Depending on the asset and materiality, the credit side of the amortization entry may go directly to to the intangible asset account. On the other hand, depreciation entries always post to accumulated depreciation, a contra account that reduces the carrying value of capital assets. Of the different options mentioned above, a company often has the option of accelerating depreciation.

One relates to loans and how interest is applied and paid on those loans. Amortize literally means “to kill.” So, as you pay down a loan, you will eventually “kill” it. The other meaning of amortization is the reduction of the cost of an intangible asset over time. Amortization quite literally means to ‘bring to death, and is the gradual extinction of an intangible asset or liability by periodic amounts. In this case there is no physical substance to the asset or liability, there is nothing to wear and tear over time, so the term depreciation is not applicable.

Lease Accounting: Depreciation and Amortization

To be more specific about the terms depreciation depletion and amortization, we will look at an example of each. The activity method of deprecation is measure by a function of productivity. The depreciable base is multiplied by a ratio of the units of productivity divided by estimated total productivity. Depreciation, amortization, depletion, and impairment are ways of accounting the using up or decline in value of long lived assets. Depreciation can be calculated in one of several ways, but the most common is straight-line depreciation that deducts the same amount over each year. To calculate depreciation, begin with the basis, subtract the salvage value, and divide the result by the number of years of useful life.

  • Because a fixed asset does not hold its value over time (like cash does), it needs the carrying value to be gradually reduced.
  • This means more depreciation expense is recognized earlier in an asset’s useful life as that asset may be used heavier when it is newest.
  • Depreciation, depletion, and amortization (often combined under the acronym “DD&A”) are three methods used by companies to spread out the cost of an asset over its useful life.
  • Depreciation allows businesses to spread the cost of physical assets over a period of time, which can have advantages from both an accounting and tax perspective.
  • DD&A, therefore, are fundamental accounting practices that support sustainable and strategic business operations and asset management.
  • Depreciation is an accounting method for allocating the cost of a tangible asset over time.

This depreciation class is under assets subject to depreciation, and it shows in the balance sheet as the net depreciable asset together with the depreciation sum account. Salvage value is based on what a company expects to receive in exchange for the asset at the end of its useful life. A loan doesn’t deteriorate in value or become worn down over use like physical assets do. Loans are also amortized because the original asset value holds little value in consideration for a financial statement. Though the notes may contain the payment history, a company only needs to record its currently level of debt as opposed to the historical value less a contra asset. The life over which the cost of the intangible asset is to be amortized is generally found in an agreement or related documentation prepared at the time of acquisition of the asset.

Differences between Amortisation and Depreciation

Within the lease accounting world, there are several terms that often get confused. Both depreciation and amortization refer to the process of allocating the cost of an asset over its useful life. However, they are used in different contexts and apply to different types of assets. In this blog post, we will delve into the differences between depreciation and amortization, specifically in the context of leases. The key difference between amortization and depreciation is that amortization charges off the cost of an intangible asset, while depreciation does so for a tangible asset. Depreciation is a type of expense that is used to reduce the carrying value of an asset.

Balance Sheet

Depreciation applies to physical assets like machinery or buildings, depletion is used for natural resources like timber or oil, and amortization is for intangible assets like patents. Doing this allows companies to gradually deduct the initial costs of the asset, reducing taxable income and reflecting the usage and wear and tear of the asset. Depreciation, depletion, and amortization (D&A) refers to the set of techniques used to gradually charge certain costs to expense over an extended period of time. The planned, gradual reduction in the recorded value of a tangible asset over its useful life is referred to as depreciation. The use of depreciation is intended to spread expense recognition for fixed assets over the period of time when a business expects to earn revenue from those assets.

Depreciation, Depletion, and Amortization (DD&A)

Deducting capital expenses over an assets useful life is an example of amortization, which measures the use of an intangible assets value, such as copyright, patent, or goodwill. Companies take depreciation regularly so they can move their assets’ costs from their balance sheets to their income statements. Neither journal entry affects the income statement, where revenues and expenses are reported. Depreciation is an accounting practice used to spread the cost of a tangible or physical asset over its useful life. Depreciation represents how much of the asset’s value has been used up in any given time period.

Topic No. 703, Basis of Assets

It is an estimated expense that is scheduled rather than an explicit expense. Depreciation can be somewhat arbitrary which causes the value of assets to be based best accounting software for nonprofits on the best estimate in most cases. These costs include any expenses for digging, rigging, and extraction processes to use the acquired natural resources.

Amortisation is a practice that helps spread the cost of an intangible asset over a specific period, which is usually the course of its useful life. Conversely, a tangible asset may have some salvage value, so this amount is more likely to be included in a depreciation calculation. Companies can estimate a resource depletion percentage for their natural resources.


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