What is amortization and why do we amortize?

What is amortization and why do we amortize?

What’s the Difference Between Amortization and Depreciation in Accounting?

What is an example of amortization?

Amortization expense is the write-off of an intangible asset over its expected period of use, which reflects the consumption of the asset. The accumulated amortization account appears on the balance sheet as a contra account, and is paired with and positioned after the intangible assets line item.

It is not common to report accumulated amortization as a separate line item on the balance sheet. More typical presentations are to include accumulated amortization in the accumulated depreciation line item, or to present intangible assets net of accumulated amortization on a single line item.

The cost is amortized over the useful life to record expenses in the period they are used. In 2001, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) declared in Statement 142, Accounting for Goodwill and Intangible Assets, that goodwill was no longer permitted to be amortized. In accounting, goodwill is accrued when an entity pays more for an asset than its fair value, based on the company’s brand, client base, or other factors. Corporations use the purchase method of accounting, which does not allow for automatic amortization of goodwill.

Ultimately, however, these value judgments inevitably include a subjective component. Amortization refers to the accounting procedure that gradually reduces the book value(carrying value) of an intangible asset, over time, just as depreciation expenses reduce the book value of tangible assets. Asset amortization—like depreciation—is a non-cash expense that reduces reported income and thus creates tax savings for owners.

Amortization is a common-sense accounting principle meant to reflect an economic reality. Just as the benefit of long-term goods such as intangible assets lasts over a period of years, the associated expense of acquiring that asset should be spread out over the same amount of time. Amortization is a simple way to evenly spread out costs over a period of time. Typically, we amortize items such as loans, rent/mortgages, annual subscriptions and intangible assets. In accounting, the amortization of intangible assets refers to distributing the cost of an intangible asset over time.

Example of Amortization

Depreciation represents the cost of capital assets on the balance sheet being used over time, and amortization is the similar cost of using intangible assets like goodwill over time. Similarly, we create schedules and amortize for loans and other contracted liabilities. Amortization of an intangible asset is the equivalent to depreciating a tangible asset like equipment. Intangibles are assets like patents and licenses that are of significant value to a company and have an estimated useful life.

Amortization Defined

What is the journal entry for amortization expense?

Amortization is the process of incrementally charging the cost of an asset to expense over its expected period of use, which shifts the asset from the balance sheet to the income statement. Examples of intangible assets are patents, copyrights, taxi licenses, and trademarks.

amortization expense definition

The key difference between amortization and depreciation is that amortization is used for intangible assets, while depreciation is used for tangible assets. Another major difference is that amortization is almost always implemented using the straight-line method, whereas depreciation can be implemented using either the straight-line or accelerated method. Finally, because they are intangible, amortized assets do not have a salvage value, which is the estimated resale value of an asset at the end of its useful life.

The value of intangible assets in private industry can be genuine and large (see the article Branding, for instance). The company’s accountants may be challenged, however, when trying to set the initial book value and amortizable life of intangible assets.

An amortization schedule is used to reduce the current balance on a loan, for example a mortgage or car loan, through installment payments. Second, amortization can also refer to the spreading out of capital expenses related to intangible assets over a specific duration – usually over the asset’s useful life – for accounting and tax purposes. Amortization and depreciation are non-cash expenses on a company’s income statement.

  • Goodwill in accounting is an intangible asset that arises when a buyer acquires an existing business.
  • Goodwill is also only acquired through an acquisition; it cannot be self-created.
  • Goodwill also does not include contractual or other legal rights regardless of whether those are transferable or separable from the entity or other rights and obligations.

What Is Amortization? Definition and Examples

Under US GAAP and IFRS, goodwill is never amortized, because it is considered to have an indefinite useful life. Instead, management is responsible for valuing goodwill every year and to determine if an impairment is required. If the fair market value goes below historical cost (what goodwill was purchased for), an impairment must be recorded to bring it down to its fair market value.

Examples of identifiable assets that are goodwill include a company’s brand name, customer relationships, artistic intangible assets, and any patents or proprietary technology. The goodwill amounts to the excess of the “purchase consideration” (the money paid to purchase the asset or business) over the net value of the assets minus liabilities. It is classified as an intangible asset on the balance sheet, since it can neither be seen nor touched.

The length of time over which various intangible assets are amortized vary widely, from a few years to as many as 40 years. As a general rule, an asset should be amortized over its estimated useful life, or the maturity or loan period in the case of a bond or a loan.

Goodwill is carried as an asset and evaluated for impairment at least once a year. While a business can invest to increase its reputation, by advertising or assuring that its products are of high quality, such expenses cannot be capitalized and added to goodwill, which is technically an intangible asset. Goodwill and intangible assets are usually listed as separate items on a company’s balance sheet.

Amortization

An asset’s salvage value must be subtracted from its cost to determine the amount in which it can be depreciated. Amortization is a method of spreading the cost of an intangible asset over a specific period of time, which is usually the course of its useful life. Intangible assets are non-physical assets that are nonetheless essential to a company, such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights. The goal in amortizing an asset is to match the expense of acquiring it with the revenue it generates.

Accounting Standard

Goodwill in accounting is an intangible asset that arises when a buyer acquires an existing business. Goodwill also does not include contractual or other legal rights regardless of whether those are transferable or separable from the entity or other rights and obligations. Goodwill is also only acquired through an acquisition; it cannot be self-created.

amortization expense definition

Amortization is the process of expensing the use of intangible assets over time as opposed to recognizing the cost solely in the year it is acquired. Many times when a business acquires something, the amount spent is immediately used to decrease income. When something is amortized, the acquisition cost is divided by the asset’s “useful life,” and that amount is used to decrease a business’ income over a period of years. Useful life is a term that describes how long an asset can be used before it is depleted.

However, an increase in the fair market value would not be accounted for in the financial statements. Private companies in the United States, however, may elect to amortize goodwill over a period of ten years or less under an accounting alternative from the Private Company Council of the FASB. Amortization is an accounting technique used to periodically lower the book value of a loan or intangible asset over a set period of time. First, amortization is used in the process of paying off debt through regular principal and interest payments over time.

Amortization journal entry

You pay installments using a fixed amortization schedule throughout a designated period. And, you record the portions of the cost as amortization expenses in your books. Amortization reduces your taxable income throughout an asset’s lifespan. Amortization is an accounting term that refers to the process of allocating the cost of an intangible asset over a period of time.

What is amortization and why do we amortize?

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