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Straight Line And Written Down Method

Last updated date: 25th Feb 2024
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What is the Straight Line and Written Down Method?

Different calculations are specified in the accounting rules to provide for depreciation. The two most commonly used methods are the Straight Down Method and Written Down Method. The calculations have different individual suitability and aspects. A company chooses one of these methods to provide depreciation according to their requirement.

The Straight Line Depreciation Method

A straight-line basis is a method of calculating depreciation and amortization. Also known as straight-line depreciation, it is the simplest way to work out the loss of value of an asset over time. A straight-line basis is calculated by dividing the difference between an asset's cost and its expected salvage value by the number of years it is expected to be used. In accounting, many different conventions are designed to match sales and expenses to the period in which they are incurred.

Companies use depreciation for physical assets and amortization for intangible assets such as patents and software. Both conventions are used to expense an asset over a longer period of time, not just in the period it was purchased. In other words, companies can stretch the cost of assets over many different time frames, which lets them benefit from the asset without deducting the full cost from net income. 

The Written Down Value Method

Written-down value is a method used to determine a previously purchased asset's current worth and is calculated by subtracting accumulated depreciation or amortization from the asset's original value. The resulting figure will appear on the company's balance sheet. 

The Written Down Value method is a depreciation technique that applies a constant rate of depreciation to the net book value of assets each year, thereby recognizing more depreciation expenses in the early years of the life of the asset and less depreciation in the later years of the life of the asset. In short, this method accelerates the recognition of depreciation expenses systematically and helps businesses recognize more depreciation in the early years. It is also known as the Diminishing Balance Method or Declining Balance Method.

The Formula to Calculate Annual Depreciation as Per Straight Line Method

With the straight-line depreciation method, the value of an asset is reduced uniformly over each period until it reaches its salvage value. Straight-line depreciation is the most commonly used and straightforward depreciation method for allocating the cost of a capital asset. It is calculated by simply dividing the cost of an asset, subtracting its salvage value by the useful life of the asset.

The Straight Line Calculation Steps 

  1. Determine the cost of the asset.

  2. Subtract the estimated salvage value of the asset from the cost of the asset to get the total depreciable amount.

  3. Determine the useful life of the asset.

  4. Divide the sum of step 2 by the number obtained in Step 3 to get the annual depreciation amount.

The Straight Line Depreciation Formula for an Asset is as Follows

Annual Depreciation Expense = \[\frac{(Cost of the asset - Salvage value)}{Useful life of the asset}\]


  1. The cost of the asset is the purchase price of the asset

  2. Salvage value is the value of the asset at the end of its useful life

  3. The useful life of an asset represents the number of periods/years in which the asset is expected to be used by the company

Straight Line Method And Written Down – A Comparative Analysis

In the accounting glossary, the term depreciation is often used, for writing off the value of the asset over its useful life. It is nothing but a decrease in the value of the fixed asset because of continuous use, the passage of time, and technological obsolescence. There are nine different methods of calculating the depreciation of assets out of which the Straight-Line Method and written down value method is widely used. In the Straight-Line Method (SLM), an equal amount of depreciation is written off every year. Conversely, in the written down value method (WDV), there is a fixed rate of depreciation that is applied to the opening balance of the asset every year.

Further, the Analysis is Illustrated in the Following Points

  1. A method of depreciation in which the cost of the asset is spread uniformly over its lifespan by writing off a fixed amount every year is the SLM method. While a fixed rate of depreciation is charged on the book value of the asset over its useful life in the WDV method.

  2. To calculate depreciation, SLM applies to the original cost and the WDV method applies to the written down value of the asset.

  3. The annual depreciation charge remains fixed during the useful life in case of SLM. In the WDV method, it reduces every year.

  4. The value of the asset is completely written off in SLM but the WDV value is not completely written off.

  5. The amount of depreciation in SLM is initially lower. In WDV, it is initially higher.

  6. The impact of repairs and depreciation on P&L A/C is on an increasing trend in SLM while the impact remains constant in WDV.

  7. SLM is appropriate for assets with negligible repairs and maintenance like leases, copyright. In WDV assets whose repairs increase as they get older like machinery, vehicles, etc.

To summarize, in a straight-line method, depreciation is calculated on the original cost. On the other hand, in the written down value method, the calculation of depreciation is based on the written down value of the asset. The annual depreciation charge in SLM remains fixed during the life of the asset.

Straight Line and Written Down Method

Students must have got a proper understanding of what are the different types of methods of depreciation accounting. 

The straight line and written down method have been discussed above in detail. These paragraphs talked about their definitions, methods, formula, steps to calculate and the analysis statement. 

Some students might find it a difficult task to select a strategy that would work for a subject like Accountancy that has both practical and theoretical concepts. 

To aid them with proper guidance and advice, we've listed a few points which the students may follow to ace their preparation for Accounts. Read ahead! 

  • Studying accounting from the textbook is way too different from studying theoretical subjects

You would be able to understand 70% of the text while reading a theoretical subject like business studies whereas accountancy involves both theoretical and practical topics and it takes time to understand them. But that never means that you won’t be able to understand, try once, twice, and even more. You can skip some parts of the text too and move ahead but make sure that you understand the concept behind every question. 

  • Understand why it is important

You cannot excel in the subject without understanding ‘why’ it is being studied. As you read more, you’ll be able to know the logic behind what you’re reading. Hence, students shall believe in extensive reading. They are also advised to focus more on conceptual learning so that they can give logical resonance to everything that they do, in terms of accounting. 

  • Solve more to understand how it works

Just knowing why you’re studying accounting won’t let you understand how it works. Solving more problems will make your concepts clear and enhance your knowledge, hence making it easier for you to understand which concept should be applied to a particular problem. Students are, therefore, advised to keep their spirits high and put their hands on more and more practice sums. 

  • Analyze what you’ve already studied before moving further

It is important to revise what you’ve already studied in the previous unit before moving further to the next part. It would’ve worked well in the case of business studies if you study well at first and revise a few days before the exam but in accounting, it’s not the same. Regular effort is required before starting the next topic, what’s more, important is whether you’re clear with the previous topics or not. Hence, students shall be regular with their studies and ensure a proper understanding of every topic that is a part of their syllabus.

  • Do not refer to textbooks/ notes while doing homework

We often have a habit of checking solutions while attempting examples and it surely helps in achieving the accurate answer but it would be more beneficial if we do homework without referring to any textbook/ notes as it will help our brain work and think with a wider aspect, also it will help us gain confidence. Try not to refer to your notes until you try your best.

  • Remember the formats

We usually solve the whole question but forget the format of accounts. Format carries marks’ weightage and also, is an important part of accounting as a subject. You should be familiar with all the formats that are used in every question.  

  • Do not hesitate

If you’re new to this subject, you might have so many doubts but it’s okay! There’s nothing to hesitate. Instead, you should ask your teacher if you’re having any difficulty while understanding any of the topics. 

To conclude, students shall not believe the myths of one subject being easy and another difficult. You shall always try to divide your time according to the requirements. Being a student, it becomes your responsibility to ace learning and carefully decide the subject mix. 

Lastly, remember that you have to keep going despite the number of challenges that encounter you. 

FAQs on Straight Line And Written Down Method

1. Which Method is The Simplest Way to Calculate Depreciation?

The simplest way to calculate depreciation is the straight-line method. It results in fewer errors, is the most consistent method and transitions well from company-prepared statements to tax returns.

2. Which Depreciation Method is Used For Income Tax Purposes?

The straight-line method is used for the tax purpose which results in an even distribution of the expense over the life of the asset.

3. What is Amortization?

Amortization is the practice of spreading an intangible asset's cost over that asset's useful life. Intangible assets are not physical assets. Examples of intangible assets that are expensed through amortization might include Patents and trademarks.

4. How can I be a Chartered Accountant (CA)? 

To become a CA, you’ve to register yourself with ICAI to be able to give exams for the course of Chartered Accountancy. The major subject required is Accounts. For a qualified CA, the candidate must appear for three levels of examinations namely Foundation, Intermediate and Final. You can also get more information on the same and other course options from the website of Vedantu. 

5. I want to know about the type of questions being asked in the exams related to Depreciation Accounting? 

To understand the pattern of questions, you might visit the solved examples and review the previous year sample papers. There are many other reference books available that offer a heck of a lot of questions that can easily help you familiarize with the exam pattern. To access these resources, you might visit the website of Vedantu or download the Vedantu Learning App