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Maximizing Asset Utilization: Best Practices for Depreciation of Fixed Assets

Are you looking for an in-depth understanding of the depreciation of fixed assets? A comprehensive understanding of fixed asset depreciation is essential regardless if you’re operating as a business owner, accountant, or finance professional. Depreciation refers to the continuous loss of value concerning fixed assets over time due to natural causes like wear and tear, obsolescence, or other factors. This loss in worth gets recorded as an expenditure on your income statement enabling an accurate evaluation of your assets’ current value. 

To calculate depreciation, several approaches exist, including straight line, double declining balance, and sum-of-years’-digits. Each method offers advantages and disadvantages, and selecting the one most suited to your business’s needs is key for effective financial planning and management. Let’s dive deeper into fixed asset depreciation so we can explore it further!

What is Depreciation?

The term depreciation is used for accounting purposes to convey how much less valuable an asset has become over time thanks to natural wear and tear becoming obsolete due to advancements or any similar reason. Declared as a non-cash expense on income statements, depreciation indicates this decline in value.

The acquisition of fixed assets such as buildings, vehicles, equipment, or machinery is important in any business enterprise. Their purchase is geared towards generating revenue for the organization over a prolonged duration. Nonetheless its crucial to note that these items lose value with use and will eventually become obsolete or unsuitable to serve their original intended purpose.

Businesses use asset depreciation to track their fixed assets’ decline in value over time. This procedure facilitates generating an authentic picture of an asset’s actual value, and it also enables companies to allocate the asset’s cost along its useful lifespan. There are several methods for calculating fixed asset depreciation, including straight-line, declining balance, and sum-of-the-years’-digits. The method chosen depends on the type of asset and the business’s accounting policies.

Types of Depreciation of Fixed Assets

Types of Depreciation

1. Straight-line depreciation

Straight-line depreciation is the most common method of depreciation for fixed assets. Under this method, the cost of the asset is evenly distributed over its useful life.

Formula for straight-line depreciation

The formula for straight-line depreciation is as follows: 

Depreciation expense = (Asset cost – Salvage value) / Useful life.

Example of calculating straight-line depreciation

Suppose a company purchases a machine for INR 1,00,000, with a useful life of five years and a salvage value of INR 10,000. The annual depreciation expense would be INR 18,000.

2. Double-declining balance depreciation

Double-declining balance depreciation is an accelerated method of depreciation, where the depreciation rate is higher in the early years of an asset’s life and reduces over time.

Formula for double-declining balance depreciation

The formula for double-declining balance depreciation is as follows: 

Depreciation expense = (2 / Useful life) x Book value.

Example of calculating double-declining balance depreciation

Using the same machine as above, the annual depreciation expense using the double-declining balance method would be INR 36,000 in the first year.

3. Sum-of-the-years-digits depreciation

Sum-of-the-years-digits depreciation is another accelerated method of depreciation, where the depreciation rate decreases each year over the useful life of the asset.

Formula for sum-of-the-years-digits depreciation

The formula for sum-of-the-years-digits depreciation is as follows: 

Depreciation expense = (Remaining useful life / Sum of the years) x (Asset cost – Salvage value)

Example of calculating sum-of-the-years-digits depreciation

Using the same machine as above, the annual depreciation expense using the sum-of-the-years-digits method would be INR 24,000 in the first year.

4. Units-of-production depreciation

Units-of-production depreciation is based on the usage of the asset, and the depreciation rate varies based on the production or usage of the asset.

Formula for units-of-production depreciation

The formula for units-of-production depreciation is as follows: 

Depreciation expense = (Asset cost – Salvage value) / Estimated units of production.

Example of calculating units-of-production depreciation

Imagine owning a business that purchases industrial equipment worth INR 100,000 with an estimated lifespan of around 100,000 units and a projected salvage value of roughly INR 10,000 in the end. During its first year on duty itself, though, it churns out approximately 20,000 output units. The annual depreciation expense for the first year would be INR 12,000.

Factors Affecting Depreciation

Several factors can affect the amount and method of depreciation used for a fixed asset:

1. Useful life

Have you considered how long these assets will serve their purpose before becoming obsolete or needing replacement? This is where the notion of useful life comes into play – representing the projected span of time during which an asset will remain beneficial. Remember that extending an assets useful life leads to reduced depreciation expenses.

2. Salvage value

Salvage value is the estimated market value of an asset at its end-of-useful-life. A higher salvage value means lower depreciation rate.

3. Initial cost

To evaluate whether investing in an asset is worthwhile its crucial to weigh all associated costs against potential benefits. First and foremost among these costs is the initial payment required for acquisition – also known as its initial cost. As a rule of thumb assets with higher starting costs are likely to yield greater depreciation expenses down the line.

4. Maintenance and repairs

The quality and frequency of maintenance and repairs can impact the useful life of the asset, which can affect the depreciation expense.

5. Depreciation method

The method of depreciation chosen can have an impact on the amount of depreciation cost. Straight-line methods equally disperses out the cost of depreciation over the life of this asset whereas the method of declining balance front-loads the cost of depreciation in the beginning times of the asset’s life.

6. Economic conditions

Economic conditions like interest rates, inflation as well as market demands can impact the worth of an asset and can affect the cost of depreciation. A change in the market’s demand may affect the useful life of the asset.

How to Calculate Depreciation in 5 Simple Steps?

Depreciation is an essential aspect of accounting that helps businesses accurately account for the decrease in the value of their fixed assets over time. Calculating depreciation may seem daunting, but it can be done in five simple steps. In this article, we will explain how to calculate depreciation in India in detail, with examples.

1. Determine the Useful Life of the Asset

The depreciation period of an asset is the estimated period of time that the asset will be useful to the business before it becomes obsolete or needs to be replaced. The Indian Income Tax Act specifies the useful life of different asset categories. For example, the useful life of a building is 30 years, while the useful life of a computer is 3 years.

2. Set the Depreciation Rate of the Asset 

Depreciation rates depend upon both the asset type and depreciation method chosen, while the Income Tax Act sets maximum depreciation rates that can be claimed per asset type. For instance, buildings can claim up to 5% while computer costs up to 40%; businesses may opt for either rate as long as it reflects an estimate of useful life of assets in use.

Example: Let’s say a business purchases a computer for INR 50,000 and plans to use it for three years. The maximum depreciation rate for a computer is 40%. Therefore, the annual depreciation rate is 40%/3 = 13.33%.

3. Calculate the Depreciable Base

Determining an asset’s total worth involves several considerations, including calculating the depreciable base. To get depreciable base, you deduct the estimated salvage value from an asset’s initial cost. The expected resale or scrap value of that same item upon reaching the end of its useful life, defines its salvage worth.

Depreciable base = initial cost – salvage value

4. Calculate Annual Depreciation

Annual depreciation describes how much value an asset loses with each passing year due to various factors like wear and tear or obsolescence. To calculate this figure accurately most professionals rely on what’s known as the “straight line” method – which essentially divides up the total expected loss across all years of use equally.

Annual depreciation = (depreciable base / useful life)

Example: Let’s say the depreciable base of the computer is INR 35,000, and its useful life is three years. The annual depreciation expense would be INR 11,667 (INR 35,000 / 3).

5. Fine-tune the Calculation of Depreciation Expenses 

To fine-tune the calculation of depreciation annuities, businesses can choose to use other depreciation methods, such as the declining balance method, which front-loads the depreciation expense in the earlier years of the asset’s useful life.

Example: Let’s say the business chooses to use the declining balance method with a depreciation rate of 40%. In the first year, the depreciation expense would be INR 20,000 (40% x INR 50,000). In the second year, the depreciation expense would be INR 12,000 (40% x INR 30,000). In the third year, the depreciation expense would be INR 7,200 (40% x INR 18,000).

For businesses to handle their financial resources and decrease tax liability, it’s crucial to account for the decline in fixed assets’ value over time. Adhering to the regulations on depreciation, along with maintaining precise records supporting depreciation expense calculation, is important.

Best Practices for Managing Depreciation of Fixed Assets

Here are some best practices for managing depreciation effectively:

  1. Keeping detailed records of fixed assets and their depreciation helps to ensure accurate financial reporting.
  2. Regularly reviewing assets can help to identify opportunities to improve asset utilization and minimize depreciation expenses.
  3. Expert advice ensures that your business uses the most appropriate depreciation methods and adheres to all tax regulations.

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Tax Implications of Depreciation

Depreciation has tax implications as it reduces the taxable income of the business. Some key points to keep in mind regarding depreciation and taxes include:

  1. Depreciation reduces the taxable income of a business and, consequently, lowers its taxes paid.
  2. The significance of understanding the depreciation of fixed assets and its relation to local tax legislation cannot be overstated. Given that these laws differ between countries and regions, entrepreneurs should take the time to learn how these laws impact their particular enterprises.
  3. Depreciation recapture occurs when an asset is sold for more than its book value, and the depreciation taken on the asset is recaptured as taxable income.
  4. For businesses, there’s an appealing tax incentive in bonus depreciation. This lets them deduct a bigger portion of the cost for their fresh assets during the first year.

Accounting for Depreciation

Financial reporting necessitates careful consideration of asset depreciation. Remember these critical points when it comes to accounting for depreciation:

  1. As a non-cash expense depreciation doesn’t necessitate any cash outlay.
  2. It is recorded on the balance sheet as a reduction in the value of the asset.
  3. Depreciation is reflected as an expense on a companys income statement. This practice ultimately lowers the overall net income that has been accumulated by said company.

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Managing Depreciation

Depreciation management can have a tremendous effect on the financial health of a business. Here are some best practices for effectively handling depreciation:

  1. Keeping track of all fixed assets is critical to managing depreciation effectively.
  2. Conducting regular asset reviews helps to identify assets that are no longer in use or need to be replaced.
  3. Choosing the appropriate depreciation method can help to minimize the impact of depreciation on the financial statements.

Implications of Depreciation on Financial Analysis and Business Valuation

Depreciation has significant implications for financial analysis and business valuation. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Depreciation impacts financial ratios, such as return on assets and debt-to-equity ratio.
  • Depreciation affects the value of the business, and it’s essential to factor in depreciation when valuing a business.
Examples of few Asset Depreciation Periods
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Examples of Depreciation Periods for Few Assets Type

Here are a few examples of depreciation periods commonly used for different types of assets:

Asset TypeDepreciation Period
Buildings30 years
Computers3 to 5 years
Softwares1 to 3 years
Office Equipment3 to 5 years
Vehicles5 to 8 years
Machinery and Equipment5 to 10 years
Furniture and Fixtures5 to 10 years
Land Improvements15 to 20 years
Leasehold Improvements10 to 15 years

Note that the actual depreciation period may vary based on the specific circumstances and the depreciation method used. This table is just a general guideline for common depreciation periods.


Depreciation of fixed assets is an essential aspect of financial management for businesses. It impacts the financial statements, tax liabilities, and business valuation, making it critical for businesses to manage depreciation effectively. By understanding the different methods of depreciation, tax implications, accounting standards, and best practices for managing depreciation, businesses can minimize depreciation expenses, improve asset utilization, and ensure accurate financial reporting. Keeping detailed records of fixed assets and their depreciation, conducting regular asset reviews, and working with an expert can help businesses manage depreciation effectively. To simplify and automate things, you can always use fixed assets management software. It can help you with almost everything related to managing your organization fixed assets.

In summary, understanding depreciation is a vital aspect that businesses should grasp, as its effective management can significantly impact their financial health. When businesses follow the recommended procedures for handling the depreciation of fixed assets, they guarantee precise financial data reporting, decreased tax liabilities, and a better business valuation.

What is the useful life of an asset?

The useful life of an asset is the estimated period during which the asset can generate revenue for the business.

What is the difference between straight-line depreciation and double-declining balance depreciation?

Straight-line depreciation is evenly distributed over the useful life of an asset, while double-declining balance depreciation is an accelerated method that results in higher depreciation expenses in the early years of an asset’s life.

How does depreciation affect taxes?

Depreciation has an enormous effect on Indian taxes. Under the Income Tax Act, businesses can claim depreciation as an expense to reduce taxable income and ultimately their tax liabilities.
Depreciation rates depend on the asset and depreciation method being employed. The Income Tax Act sets maximum depreciation rates that may be claimed for each type of asset; businesses can choose their own depreciation rate within this range – just make sure it reflects a realistic estimate of useful life for their asset.

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