Course Outline
Join PRO

What is the difference between depreciation expense and accumulated depreciation?

Author:
Harold Averkamp, CPA, MBA

Definition of Depreciation Expense

Depreciation expense is the amount of depreciation that is reported on the income statement. In other words, it is the amount of an asset’s cost that has been allocated and reported as an expense for the period (year, month, etc.) shown in the income statement’s heading.

Definition of Accumulated Depreciation

Accumulated depreciation reports the total amount of depreciation that has been reported on all of the income statements from the time that the assets were put into service until the date of the balance sheet. The account Accumulated Depreciation is a contra asset account because it will have a credit balance. The credit balance is reported in the property, plant and equipment section of the balance sheet and it reduces the cost of the assets to their carrying value or book value.

Example of Depreciation Expense and Accumulated Depreciation

To illustrate, let’s assume that a retailer purchases new display racks at a cost of $84,000. This asset is estimated to have a useful life of 7 years (84 months) and no salvage value at the end of 7 years. Assuming the retailer uses the straight-line depreciation method, during each month of the display racks’ lives the retailer’s monthly income statement will report depreciation expense of $1,000. However, the credit balance in Accumulated Depreciation will be reported on the balance sheet at $1,000 at the end of the first month, $2,000 at the end of the second month, $3,000 at the end of the third month, etc. until the balance in Accumulated Depreciation reaches $84,000 at the end of the 84th month.

Join PRO to Track Progress
Must-Watch Video

Advance Your Accounting and Bookkeeping Career

  • Perform better at your job
  • Get hired for a new position
  • Understand your small business
  • Pass your accounting class
Watch the Video

Join PRO or PRO Plus and Get Lifetime Access to Our Premium Materials

Read all 2,645 reviews

Features

PRO

PRO Plus

Features
Lifetime Access (One-Time Fee)
Explanations
Quizzes
Q&A
Word Scrambles
Crosswords
Bookkeeping Video Training
Financial Statements Video Training
Flashcards
Visual Tutorials
Quick Tests
Quick Tests with Coaching
Cheat Sheets
Business Forms
All PDF Files
Progress Tracking
Earn Badges and Points
Certificate - Debits and Credits
Certificate - Adjusting Entries
Certificate - Financial Statements
Certificate - Balance Sheet
Certificate - Income Statement
Certificate - Cash Flow Statement
Certificate - Working Capital
Certificate - Financial Ratios
Certificate - Bank Reconciliation
Certificate - Payroll Accounting

About the Author

Harold Averkamp

For the past 52 years, Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has
worked as an accounting supervisor, manager, consultant, university instructor, and innovator in teaching accounting online. He is the sole author of all the materials on AccountingCoach.com.

Learn More About Harold

Certificates of
Achievement

Certificates of Achievement

We now offer 10 Certificates of Achievement for Introductory Accounting and Bookkeeping:

  • Debits and Credits
  • Adjusting Entries
  • Financial Statements
  • Balance Sheet
  • Income Statement
  • Cash Flow Statement
  • Working Capital and Liquidity
  • Financial Ratios
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Payroll Accounting
Badges and Points
  • Work towards and earn 30 badges
  • Earn points as you work towards completing our course
View PRO Plus Features
Course Outline
Take the Tour Join Pro Upgrade to Pro Plus