As the name suggests, this method allows companies to write off more of their assets in the earlier years and less in the later years. By writing off more assets against revenue, companies report lower income and thus pay less tax. The characteristics of the straight line method is that the depreciation expense is constant so the valuation of the company is easier as you know how to adjust it if necessary. This method calculates depreciation by looking at the number of units generated in a given year. This method is useful for businesses that have significant year-to-year fluctuations in production. Let’s say you own a tree removal service, and you buy a brand-new commercial wood chipper for $15,000 (purchase price).

straight line depreciation vs accelerated

The difference between the end-of-year PP&E and the end-of-year accumulated depreciation is $2.4 million, which is the total book value of those assets. 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. It is calculated by simply dividing the cost of an asset, less its salvage value, by the useful life of the asset.

Other depreciation methods to consider

The equipment has an expected life of 10 years and a salvage value of $500. The declining balance method provides greater deductions in the initial years of the asset’s life and less in the later years of use. The main depreciation methods that are allowed under GAAP include the declining balance method and the straight-line method of computing depreciation. In the first article I wrote comparing the aggressive and conservative methods, I labeled accelerated depreciation as the aggressive method. Reason being that by quickly reducing the depreciation expense, later on, the net income increases only due to the account method. Computers do not have a long useful life, but five years is realistic and adequate.

There are multiple options for depreciation methods, including straight-line and accelerated methods. As a small business owner, it’s important to know which method makes the most sense for your business. The alternative depreciation system offers depreciation over a longer period of time than the general depreciation system, which is a declining balance method. The general depreciation system is often used by companies to depreciate assets that tend to become obsolete quickly and are replaced with newer versions on a fairly frequent basis. Depreciation is an accounting method that allows businesses to spread out the cost of a physical asset over a specified number of years, which is known as the useful life of the asset.

Straight-Line vs. Accelerated Depreciation

In the context of a company, “depreciation” refers to any form of value loss that occurs during the course of ownership of an asset. The value of the asset decreases as a result of normal wear and tear as well as regular use. This approach calculates depreciation as a percentage and then depreciates the asset at twice the percentage rate. Lastly, let’s pretend you just bought property to build a new storefront for your bakery. You installed a fence around the entire plot of land, which falls under the 15-year property life. The initial cost of the fence was $25,000, and you think you can scrap the wood for $3,000 at the end of its useful life.

  • The IRS allows businesses to depreciate many kinds of business assets, including computers and peripherals; office furniture, fixtures, and equipment; automobiles; and manufacturing equipment.
  • The MACRS depreciation method allows greater accelerated depreciation over the life of the asset.
  • Different methods of asset depreciation are used to more accurately reflect the depreciation and current value of an asset.
  • The main difference between accelerated depreciation vs. straight-line depreciation is timing.
  • With the straight line depreciation method, the value of an asset is reduced uniformly over each period until it reaches its salvage value.
  • The straight line depreciation method takes the purchase or acquisition price, subtracts the salvage value and then divides it by the total estimated life in years.

The system selected will determine the recovery period and depreciation method to use. Generally, taxpayers are expected to use GDS, but there are situations when the law requires them to use ADS or when taxpayers may elect to use the ADS system. The MACRS tax depreciation system was intended to encourage investors to invest in depreciable assets by allowing large tax savings in the initial straight line depreciation vs accelerated years of the asset’s life. Taxpayers can apply MACRS depreciation to various asset classes such as automobiles, office furniture, construction machinery, farm buildings, fences, computing equipment, etc. From a financial analysis perspective, accelerated depreciation tends to skew the reported results of a business to reveal profits that are lower than would normally be the case.

Bonus Depreciation

With these numbers on hand, you’ll be able to use the straight-line depreciation formula to determine the amount of depreciation for an asset on an annual or monthly basis. You can calculate the asset’s life span by determining the number of years it will remain useful. It’s possible to find this information on the product’s packaging, website or by speaking to a brand representative.

  • The business expects the machine to produce 100,000 units over its useful life.
  • Now that you have this knowledge, you will be able to make an informed decision between the two approaches for managing your assets.
  • Depreciation is a deduction process that spreads the expenses of an asset over its useful life (the years it would typically be useful to the business).
  • The expenses are then lowered as the asset is used less later in its lifespan.
  • This step is optional, however, it can shed light on monthly depreciation expenses.
  • To properly review a business that uses accelerated depreciation, it is better to review its cash flows, as revealed on its statement of cash flows.