Definition of Accumulated Depreciation
What Accumulated Depreciation Tells Us
An asset's accumulated depreciation is subtracted from the asset's cost to indicate the asset's book value. The book value indicates the maximum amount of future depreciation remaining.
Since depreciation is defined as the allocation of an asset's cost based on the estimated useful life, the book value of the asset is not an indication of the asset's market value. For example, a building in an excellent location may be increasing in value even though the accumulated depreciation is increasing and therefore the book value is decreasing.
The amount reported in Accumulated Depreciation merely reports the total amount of an asset's cost that has been moved to the income statement in the form of depreciation expense since the asset was acquired.