Amortization vs Depreciation Difference and Comparison

What is The Difference Between Amortization And Depreciation In Accounting?

In its income statement for 2010, the business is not allowed to count the entire $100,000 amount as an expense. Instead, only the extent to which the asset loses its value is counted as an expense. Depreciation and Amortization affect the equity and balance sheet of the company, respectively. Due to depreciation, the value of a company’s equity gets affected, mostly reducing. On the other hand, due to the yearly amortization of assets, the balance sheet is affected as it reduces the asset side of the statement. Another difference between the two concepts is that amortization is almost always conducted on a straight-line basis, so that the same amount of amortization is charged to expense in every reporting period.

  • Meanwhile, amortization often does not use this practice, and the same amount of expense is recognized whether the intangible asset is older or newer.
  • The benefit of an asset and its related expenditures are reflected over time using two popular ways.
  • An example of depreciation is the sum-of-the-years digits approach, which accelerates the depreciation of tangible assets like vehicles.

In theory, depreciation attempts to match up profit with the expense it took to generate that profit. An investor who ignores the economic reality of depreciation expenses may easily overvalue a business, and his investment may suffer as a result. Especially in the most colloquial language, when referring to the effect of the passage of time on the goods or fixed assets that an individual or a company has. The company will depreciate $40 million every annual reporting period as an amortization expense for 20 years. In depreciation and amortization, the cost of the acquired asset is allocated proportionately throughout the asset’s life according to the applicable accounting standards.

Amortization vs. Depreciation: Learn with Examples

The formulas for depreciation and amortization are different because of the use of salvage value. The depreciable base of a tangible asset is reduced by the salvage value. The amortization base of an intangible asset is not reduced by the salvage value.

What is an example of depreciation and amortization?

The example of assets where depreciation can be used is the plant, building, machine, equipment etc. The example of intangible assets which are amortized are patents, trademarks, lease rental agreements, concession rights, brand value etc.

Depreciation is used to distribute and expense out the cost of Tangible Asset over its useful life. However, Amortization is used to expense out the value of Intangible assets over its useful life. As an example, suppose in 2010 a business buys $100,000 worth of machinery that is expected to have a useful life of 4 years, after which the machine will become totally worthless .


This means the same amount of amortization expense is recognized each year. On the other hand, there are several depreciation methods a company can choose from. These options differentiate the amount of depreciation expense a company may recognize in a given year, yielding different net income calculations based on the option chosen. Depreciation is a way to account for this decline in value over time, and it is recorded as an expense on the company’s income statement.

The practice of spreading an intangible asset’s cost over the asset’s useful lifecycle is called amortization. Generally speaking, there is accounting guidance via GAAP on how to treat different What is The Difference Between Amortization And Depreciation In Accounting? types of assets. Accounting rules stipulate that physical, tangible assets (with exceptions for non-depreciable assets) are to be depreciated, while intangible assets are amortized.


This material has been prepared using the thoughts and opinions of the author and these may change. However, City Index does not plan to provide further updates to any material once published and it is not under any obligation to keep this material up to date. This material is short term in nature and may only relate to facts and circumstances existing at a specific time or day. Nothing in this material is financial, investment, legal, tax or other advice and no reliance should be placed on it.

Describe some of the similarities and differences between GAAP and IFRS with respect to accounting for inventories. Briefly describe some similarities and differences between GAAP and IFRS with respect to accounting for liabilities. Depreciation and Amortization are both used to spread the cost of an asset over the asset’s useful life. Discuss the differences between the different methods of depreciation.

Explain the purpose of depreciation and compare different methods of accounting for it. The decision to amortize or depreciate an asset depends on the nature of the asset and its expected useful life. The straight-line approach is most frequently used to calculate amortization. Another major difference is that depreciation can be implemented using either the straight-line or accelerated method, whereas amortization is almost always implemented using the straight-line method.

The straight line method is advantageous because intangible assets cannot be resold and do not hold any salvage value. The straight line method is normally used for amortization, where the same value/ amount is deducted from the opening value of the asset every year. The annual amortization expense is a noncash expenditure that is posted to the income statement. The most basic and essential difference is that depreciation is accounted for tangible assets, whereas intangible assets are recorded using amortization. However, because most assets don’t last forever, their cost needs to be proportionately expensed based on the time period during which they are used. Amortization and depreciation are methods of prorating the cost of business assets over the course of their useful life.

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