Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Depreciation Expense vs Accumulated Depreciation: What's the Difference?

# Depreciation Expense vs Accumulated Depreciation: What’s the Difference?

In general, accumulated depreciation is calculated by taking the depreciable base of an asset and dividing it by a suitable divisor such as years of use or units of production. Each year the contra asset account referred to as accumulated depreciation increases by \$10,000. For example, at the end of five years, the annual depreciation expense is still \$10,000, but accumulated depreciation has grown to \$50,000. It is credited each year as the value of the asset is written off and remains on the books, reducing the net value of the asset, until the asset is disposed of or sold.

This change is reflected as a change in accounting estimate, not a change in accounting principle. For example, say a company was depreciating a \$10,000 asset over its five-year useful life with no salvage value. Using the straight-line method, an accumulated depreciation of \$2,000 is recognized.

If there is no opening of accumulated depreciation, then the ending balance is equal to the amount charged during the year. Let’s say you have a car used in your business that has a value of \$25,000. It depreciates over 10 years, so you can take \$2,500 in depreciation expense each year. This information is invaluable in making capital expenditure decisions and optimizing asset management strategies to ensure long-term financial health and efficiency.

## The difference between depreciation expense and accumulated depreciation

The third scenario arises if the company finds an eager buyer willing to pay \$80,000 for the old trailer. As you might expect, the same two balance sheet changes occur, but this time, a gain of \$7,000 is recorded on the income statement to represent the difference between the book and market values. Accumulated depreciation is a contra asset that reduces the book value of an asset. Accumulated depreciation has a natural credit balance (as opposed to assets that have a natural debit balance).

On the balance sheet, it is listed as accumulated depreciation, and refers to the cumulative amount of depreciation that has been charged against all fixed assets. Accumulated depreciation is a contra account, and is paired with the fixed assets line item to arrive at a net fixed asset total. How this calculation appears on the financial statements over time Each of the next seven years, the company will recognize annual depreciation expense of \$1,500 on the income statement. At the same time, the book value of the equipment will reduce on the balance sheet by that same \$1,500 per year. The reduction in book value is recorded via an account called accumulated depreciation. The chart below summarizes the seven-year accounting life of this equipment.

• However, accumulated depreciation increases by that amount until the asset is fully depreciated in year ten.
• Further, they have an impact on earnings if the asset is ever sold, either for a gain or a loss when compared to its book value.
• Accumulate depreciation represents the total amount of the fixed asset’s cost that the company has charged to the income statement so far.
• Volatility profiles based on trailing-three-year calculations of the standard deviation of service investment returns.

For the past decade, Sherry’s Cotton Candy Company earned an annual profit of \$10,000. One year, the business purchased a \$7,500 cotton candy machine expected to last for five years. An investor who examines the cash flow might be discouraged to see that the business made just \$2,500 (\$10,000 profit minus \$7,500 equipment expenses). Accumulated depreciation is a real account (a general ledger account that is not listed on the income statement). The balance rolls year-over-year, while nominal accounts like depreciation expense are closed out at year end. Since accelerated depreciation is an accounting method used to recognize depreciation, the result of accelerated depreciation is to book accumulated depreciation.

## How to Calculate Accumulated Depreciation? (Explained)

Those assumptions affect both the net income and the book value of the asset. Further, they have an impact on earnings if the asset is ever sold, either for a gain or a loss when compared to its book value. Investors and analysts should thoroughly understand how a company approaches depreciation because the assumptions made on expected useful life and salvage value can be a road to the manipulation of financial statements. Sometimes, these are combined into a single line such as “PP&E net of depreciation.”

## Free Financial Statements Cheat Sheet

Founded in 1993, The Motley Fool is a financial services company dedicated to making the world smarter, happier, and richer. The Motley Fool reaches millions of people every month through our premium investing solutions, free guidance and market analysis on Fool.com, top-rated podcasts, and non-profit The Motley Fool Foundation. For example, on an IRS Schedule C form for a sole proprietor business, Line 13 under Expenses says, “Depreciation and Section 179 deductions…” and that’s where you’ll see the total of all depreciation taken during the year. It always increases as the asset depreciates, and any errors should be corrected by adjusting it without resulting in a negative balance. This knowledge aids in making informed investment decisions and evaluating the quality of the company’s asset base. Similarly, the Fixed Asset Turnover ratio, which assesses asset efficiency, may indicate improved efficiency as asset values decrease.