What is Amortization in Accounting and How is it Calculated?


The beginning loan balance is amount of debt owed at the beginning of the period. This amount is either the original amount of the loan or the amount carried over from the prior month (last month’s ending loan balance equals this month’s beginning loan balance). Accountants use amortization to spread out the costs of an asset over the useful lifetime of that asset.

What Assets Get Amortized?

It can depend on the type of business. Some common assets that can get amortized include organizational costs and franchise agreements. It can also include trademarks, patents and copyrights.

Two scenarios are described by the term „amortization.” First, amortization is used in repaying debt over time with consistent principal and interest payments. An amortization plan is used through periodic charges to lower the outstanding balance on loans, such as a mortgage or a vehicle loan. Each month, the business’s accounting department would make an adjusting journal entry for the amortized amount of $1,000, representing the amount of one month’s premium payment in the general ledger. It would be entered as a credit in the asset account and as a debit to the insurance expense account. Each month, as a portion of the amortized prepaid expense is applied, an adjusting journal entry is made as a credit to the asset account and as a debit to the expense account. Increase accuracy and efficiency across your account reconciliation process and produce timely and accurate financial statements.

Amortization of a Loan

Items such as insurance and rent can be paid for with one payment that covers the cost of the expense for several months or a year. Whether you’re new to F&A or an experienced professional, sometimes you need a refresher on common finance and accounting terms and their definitions. BlackLine’s glossary provides descriptions for industry words and phrases, answers to frequently asked questions, and links to additional resources. To truly transform your finance and accounting processes, you need the guidance of a trusted partner. Our proven approach has helped thousands of customers identify and address bottlenecks to free up capacity, strengthen controls, and deliver measurable results. Gain global visibility and insight into accounting processes while reducing risk, increasing productivity, and ensuring accuracy.


To calculate the constant depreciation rate, the annual rate of depreciation is multiplied by 2. Depreciation expense in the first year would be $20,000 ($100,000 × 20%). In the second year, the same constant rate would be applied to the remaining balance and depreciation expense would be $16,000 (($100,000 – $20,000) × 20%)). The same constant rate would be applied to the remaining balance in each successive year throughout the asset’s remaining useful life. Under GAAP, for book purposes, any startup costs are expensed as part of the P&L; they are not capitalized into an intangible asset.

Accountant’s Education, Qualifications

Early in the loan’s life, a more significant portion of the flat monthly payment goes toward interest, but with each subsequent payment, a larger part of it goes toward the loan’s principal. A listing of each month’s interest and principal payments along with the remaining, unpaid principal balance after each payment is known as an amortization schedule. Download our free work sheet to apply amortization to intangible assets like patents and copyrights. Say a company purchases an intangible asset, such as a patent for a new type of solar panel. The capitalized cost is the fair market value, based on what the company paid in cash, stock or other consideration, plus other incidental costs incurred to acquire the intangible asset, such as legal fees.

  • Residual value is the estimated value of a fixed asset at the end of its lease term or useful life.
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  • Similarly, the expense will reach the total of the prepaid amount at the end of that same period.
  • Record amortization expenses on the income statement under a line item called “depreciation and amortization.” Debit the amortization expense to increase the asset account and reduce revenue.

The cost distribution of an intangible asset, like an intellectual property right, over the projected useful life of the asset. Sharon Barstow started her career in investment banking and then crossed over to the world of corporate finance as a financial analyst. She specializes in banking and corporate finance topics to include treasury management, financial analysis, financial statement analysis, corporate finance and FP&A. In addition to writing, she is the co-owner of a small dog bakery in rural Ohio. Intangibles are amortized over time as per the GAAP matching principle, which links the asset’s cost to the revenues it generates. The process of value reduction for a debt or an intangible asset is known as amortization.

Limited-Life Impairment

A https://quick-bookkeeping.net/ entity should evaluate both the method of depreciation and the remaining useful lives of its long-lived assets as events and circumstances change. When events occur that trigger the need to assess an asset for recoverability, it may also be necessary to consider whether the method of depreciation and the asset’s estimated useful life continue to be appropriate. See PPE 4.2.3 for further information about changes in useful life. On January 1, 20X1, Telecom Co purchased 1,000 new telephone poles for $100,000 , each with an estimated useful life of five years (annual rate of deprecation of 20%). Telecom Co groups all of its telephone poles for purposes of calculating depreciation expense. At the end of two years of service, 100 telephone poles are retired early, and no consideration is received.

amortization in accounting

Though different, the concept is somewhat similar; as a loan is an intangible item, amortization is the reduction in the carrying value of the balance. Amortization can be calculated using most modern financial calculators, spreadsheet software packages , or online amortization calculators. When entering into a loan agreement, the lender may provide a copy of the amortization schedule (or at least have identified the term of the loan in which payments must be made. The result is that any gain or loss on disposal of an individual asset is reflected in accumulated depreciation; no gain or loss on disposal is recognized in earnings. The group and composite methods tend to smooth any potential differences caused by over- or under-depreciation. Amortization refers to the process of repaying a loan in full by the maturity date by making monthly payments of the principal and interest over time.

The process also has the effect of incrementally reducing the total value of the prepaid asset over the duration of its useful life. BlackLine is a high-growth, SaaS business that is transforming and modernizing the way finance and accounting departments operate. Our cloud software automates critical finance and accounting processes.

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  • In some instances, a prepaid expense is not applied equally because the benefit is not the same for each accounting period.
  • Once you subtract the expenses and discounts from your revenue, you get the net revenue.
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News of the sale caused two other inventors to challenge the application of the patent. ABZ successfully defended the patent but incurred legal fees of $50,000. Brainyard delivers data-driven insights and expert advice to help businesses discover, interpret and act on emerging opportunities and trends. Next, divide this figure by the number of months remaining in its useful life.

Getting To Know the Amortization Process

Depreciation is the expensing a fixed asset as it is used to reflect its anticipated deterioration. Amy Fontinelle has more than 15 years of experience covering personal finance, corporate finance and investing. Our systems have detected unusual traffic activity from your network.

That is, depreciation or amortization begins when the asset is in the location and condition necessary for it to operate in the manner intended by management. Determining the appropriate period and method to depreciate or amortize assets requires judgment and an understanding of the assets and their useful lives. This can be helpful for things like tax deductions for interest payments. Understanding a company’s upcoming debt amount after several payments have been made helps prepare for the future. Lenders, including financial institutions, utilize amortization plans to show a loan payback schedule based on a specific maturity date. Prepaid expense amortization is used in business accounting in many ways.

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