Straight-line method of depreciation explanation, formula, example and limitations

straight line depreciation problems

The straight-line depreciation method is the most popular type because it allocates the same amount of depreciation to each year the asset is in use. With the straight line depreciation method, the value of an asset is reduced uniformly over each period until it reaches its salvage value. Straight line depreciation is the most commonly used and straightforward depreciation method for allocating the cost of a capital asset.

straight line depreciation problems

Different methods of asset depreciation are used to more accurately reflect the depreciation and current value of an asset. A company may elect to use one depreciation method over another in order to gain tax or cash flow advantages. Let’s say, a company purchases a machinery of $10,500 with a useful life of 10 years, and a salvage or scrap value of $500.

Straight Line Depreciation Method Graph

But at the same time, this method is not efficient for organizations that have a large number of assets. Accountants like the straight line method because it is easy to use, renders fewer errors over the life of the asset, and expenses the same amount every accounting period. Unlike more complex methodologies, such as double declining balance, straight line is simple and uses just three different variables to calculate the amount of depreciation each accounting period. The cost of an asset is the amount that was paid to purchase it, while the salvage value is the estimated value of the asset at the end of its useful life. The useful life of an asset refers to the total amount of time that it can be used before being replaced or retired. Using the formula to calculate these figures provides the annual depreciation expense, which is a measure of the amount by which an asset’s value declines each year.

  • Accumulated depreciation is eliminated from the accounting records when a fixed asset is disposed of.
  • Even if you’re still struggling with understanding some accounting terms, fortunately, straight line depreciation is pretty straightforward.
  • If you don’t expect your asset’s expenses to change greatly over its useful life, it may be the best choice for calculating depreciation.

Straight line basis is calculated by dividing the difference between an asset’s cost and its expected salvage value by the number of years it is expected to be used. So, the company will record depreciation expense of $7,000 annually over the useful life of the equipment. Calculate the depreciation and also determine the profit or loss on sale of asset? Salvage value is the estimated value which can be realized at the end of the life of the asset.

Depreciation Expense & the Straight-Line Depreciation Method Explained with a Fixed Asset Example & Journal Entries

In the last line of the chart, notice that 25% of $3,797 is $949, not the $797 that’s listed. However, the total depreciation allowed is equal to the initial cost minus the salvage value, which is $9,000. At the point where this amount is reached, no further depreciation is allowed. Calculating straight line depreciation is a five-step process, with a sixth step added if you’re expensing depreciation monthly.

Straight line depreciation is a method by which business owners can stretch the value of an asset over the extent of time that it’s likely to remain useful. It’s the simplest and most commonly used depreciation method when calculating this type of expense on an income statement, and it’s the easiest to learn. While the purchase price of an asset is known, one must make assumptions regarding the salvage value and useful life. These numbers can be arrived at in several ways, but getting them wrong could be costly. Also, a straight line basis assumes that an asset’s value declines at a steady and unchanging rate.

Understanding Straight Line Basis

Straight line basis can be determined by subtracting the cost of the asset and the expected salvage value, and dividing the amount by the expected number of years the asset will be used. Ideal for those just becoming familiar with accounting basics such as the accounting cycle, straight line depreciation is the most frequent depreciation method used by small businesses. Take the purchase price or acquisition cost of an asset, then subtract the salvage value at the time it’s either retired, sold, or otherwise disposed of. Now divide this figure by the total product years the asset can reasonably be expected to benefit your company. As the asset was available for the whole period, the annual depreciation expense is not apportioned. Straight line depreciation method charges cost evenly throughout the useful life of a fixed asset.

What is an example of a depreciation problem?

An example of Depreciation – If a delivery truck is purchased by a company with a cost of Rs. 100,000 and the expected usage of the truck are 5 years, the business might depreciate the asset under depreciation expense as Rs. 20,000 every year for a period of 5 years.

Straight line amortization works just like its depreciation counterpart, but instead of having the value of a physical asset decline, amortization deals with intangible assets such as intellectual property or financial assets. In accounting, there are many different conventions that are designed to match sales and expenses to the period in which they are incurred. One convention that companies embrace is referred to as depreciation and amortization.

Final thoughts on straight line depreciation

Even if you’re still struggling with understanding some accounting terms, fortunately, straight line depreciation is pretty straightforward. If you’re looking for accounting software to help you keep better track of your depreciation expenses, be sure to check out The Ascent’s accounting software reviews. There are good reasons for using both of these methods, and the right one depends on the asset type in question. The straight-line depreciation method is the easiest to use, so it makes for simplified accounting calculations. When you purchase the asset, you’ll post that transaction to your asset account and your cash account, creating a contra account in order to keep track of your accumulated depreciation. You can then record your depreciation expense to the general ledger while crediting the accumulated depreciation contra-account for the monthly depreciation expense total.

This method is most commonly used for assets in which actual usage, not the passage of time, leads to the depreciation of the asset. This method is calculated by adding up the years in the useful life and using that sum to calculate a percentage of the remaining life of the asset. The percentage is then applied to the cost less salvage value, or depreciable base, to calculate depreciation expense for the period. Similar to the declining balance method, the sum-of-the -years’-digits method accelerates depreciation, resulting in higher depreciation expense in the earlier years of an asset’s life and less in later years.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Straight-Line Depreciation

The IRS uses the General Depreciation System (GDS) method to calculate straight line depreciation for real estate assets. In regards to real estate, the acquisition cost of a property plus improvements expenses minus the value of non-depreciable land is used to determine depreciation. Straight-line depreciation grants a paper loss of a set percentage each year over the useful life of the property. Residential real estate is depreciated using the straight-line depreciation method for 27.5 years.

How do you calculate depreciation rate?

The annual depreciation rate is calculated using the formula:(100 x Number of Periods In Year)/Number of periods in expected life. Each period's depreciation amount is calculated using the formula: annual depreciation rate/ number of periods in the year.

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