# Understanding the Concept of Depreciation and Amortization: Methods and Examples

Depreciation and amortization are essential concepts in accounting that allow businesses to allocate the cost of long-term assets over their useful lives. Let’s break down the concept of depreciation and amortization, the methods employed to calculate them, and offer some examples.

1. Depreciation: Depreciation is the process of allocating the cost of a long-term asset over its useful life. Depreciation is important because it allows businesses to spread the cost of an asset over its useful life, rather than recording the full cost in the year of purchase. The two most common methods of calculating depreciation are the straight-line method and the accelerated method.
• Straight-line method: Under the straight-line method, the cost of an asset is divided by its useful life to determine the annual depreciation expense. For example, if a company purchases a machine for \$10,000 with a useful life of 5 years, the annual depreciation expense would be \$2,000 (\$10,000 divided by 5 years).
• Accelerated method: The accelerated method, such as the double-declining balance method, results in higher depreciation expense in the early years of an asset’s life and lower expenses in later years. This method is useful when the asset’s productivity is higher in the early years.
1. Amortization: Amortization is the process of allocating the cost of an intangible asset over its useful life. Intangible assets include patents, trademarks, copyrights, and goodwill. Like depreciation, the two most common methods of calculating amortization are the straight-line method and the accelerated method.
• Straight-line method: Under the straight-line method, the cost of an intangible asset is divided by its useful life to determine the annual amortization expense. For example, if a company purchases a patent for \$20,000 with a useful life of 10 years, the annual amortization expense would be \$2,000 (\$20,000 divided by 10 years).
• Accelerated method: The accelerated method, such as the sum-of-the-years’-digits method, results in higher amortization expense in the early years of an asset’s life and lower expenses in later years. This method is useful when the asset’s usefulness decreases more rapidly in the early years.
1. Examples of Depreciation and Amortization: Some examples of depreciation and amortization include:
• Depreciation of a building: A company purchases a building for \$1 million and estimates a useful life of 40 years. Using the straight-line method, the annual depreciation expense would be \$25,000.
• Amortization of a patent: A company purchases a patent for \$50,000 and estimates a useful life of 5 years. Using the straight-line method, the annual amortization expense would be \$10,000.

Depreciation and amortization are important concepts in accounting that allow businesses to allocate the cost of long-term assets over their useful lives. The two most common methods for calculating depreciation and amortization are the straight-line method and the accelerated method. Companies should carefully consider the method to use based on their specific circumstances and the impact on their financial statements. Understanding depreciation and amortization is essential for managing a business’s financials.

Caroline Grimm

Caroline Grimm is an accounting educator and a small business enthusiast. She holds Masters and Bachelor degrees in Business Administration. She is the author of 13 books and the creator of Accounting How To YouTube channel and blog. For more information visit: https://accountinghowto.com/about/