Is Accumulated Depreciation a Current Asset?

Long-term assets are particularly at risk of impairment because the carrying value has a longer span of time to become potentially impaired. For example, a construction company may experience impairment of its outdoor machinery and equipment in the aftermath of a natural disaster. It appears as a sudden and large decline in the fair value of an asset to below its carrying value. An asset’s carrying value, also known as its book value, is the value of the asset net of accumulated depreciation that is recorded on a company’s balance sheet.

impairment of long lived assets

For physical assets, such as machinery or computer hardware, carrying cost is calculated as (original cost – accumulated depreciation). If a company purchases a patent or some other intellectual property item, then the formula for carrying value is (original cost – amortization expense). IAS 36 Impairment of Assets seeks to ensure that an entity’s assets are not carried at more than their recoverable amount (i.e. the higher of fair value less costs of disposal and value in use). Changes in long-term assets can be a sign of capital investment or liquidation. If a company is investing in its long-term health, it will likely use the capital for asset purchases designed to drive earnings in the long-term.

Long-term assets include long-term investments, property, plant, equipment, intangible assets, etc. Capitalized property, plant, and equipment (PP&E) are also included in long-term assets, except for the portion designated to be expensed or depreciated in the current year. Capitalized assets are long-term operating assets that are useful for more than one period.

The choice of different methods to depreciate (amortise) long-lived assets can create challenges for analysts comparing companies. Other assets that appear in the balance sheet are called long-term or fixed assets because they’re durable and will last more than one year.

Section 7 describes financial statement presentation, disclosures, and analysis of long-lived assets. Section 8 discusses differences in financial reporting of investment property compared with property, plant, and equipment. Carrying value is an accounting measure of value in which the value of an asset or company is based on the figures in the respective company’s balance sheet.


In the scenario of a company in a high-risk industry, understanding which assets are tangible and intangible helps to assess its solvency and risk. Property, plant, and equipment (PP&E) are long-term assets vital to business operations and not easily converted into cash. Purchases of PP&E are a signal that management has faith in the long-term outlook and profitability of its company.

Defining Long-Lived Assets

Future upward revisions to the value of the asset can recover losses from prior years under the revaluation model. The loss will reduce income in the income statement and reduce total assets on the balance sheet.

Before classifying an asset or a disposal group as held-for-sale, a company works out its carrying value. An asset’s carrying value equals its cost minus accumulated depreciation and accumulated amortization.

Carrying amount, also known as carrying value, is the cost of an asset less accumulated depreciation. The carrying amount is usually not included on the balance sheet, as it must be calculated. However, the carrying amount is generally always lower than the current market value. Accumulated depreciation is an asset account with a credit balance known as a long-term contra asset account that is reported on the balance sheet under the heading Property, Plant and Equipment.

The building’s carrying value, or book value, is $150,000 on the company’s balance sheet. A category 5 hurricane damages the structure significantly, and the company determines the situation qualifies for impairment testing. Other accounts that may be impaired, and thus need to be reviewed and written down, are the company’s goodwill and accounts receivable.

  • An asset’s book value is equal to its carrying value on the balance sheet, and companies calculate it netting the asset against its accumulated depreciation.
  • Book value can also be thought of as the net asset value of a company calculated as total assets minus intangible assets (patents, goodwill) and liabilities.

Fixed assets are also referred to as tangible assets, meaning they’re physical assets. The two main distinctions between assets on the balance sheet are current and non-current assets. Current assets on the balance sheet contain all of the assets that are likely to be converted into cash within one year. Companies rely on their current assets to fund ongoing operations and pay current expenses.

The scope of this reading is limited to long-lived tangible and intangible assets (hereafter, referred to for simplicity as long-lived assets). Section 2 describes and illustrates accounting for the acquisition of long-lived assets, with particular attention to the impact of capitalizing versus expensing expenditures. Section 3 describes the allocation of the costs of long-lived assets over their useful lives. Section 4 discusses the revaluation model that is based on changes in the fair value of an asset. Section 5 covers the concepts of impairment (unexpected decline in the value of an asset).

Controlling and Reporting of Real Assets: Property, Plant, Equipment, and Natural Resources

However, investors must be aware that some companies sell their long-term assets to raise cash to meet short-term operational costs, or pay the debt, which can be a warning sign that a company is in financial difficulty. Long-term assets are listed on the balance sheet, which provides a snapshot in time of the company’s assets, liabilities, and shareholder equity. The balance sheet equation is “assets equals liabilities plus shareholder’s equity” because a company can only fund the purchase of assets with capital from debt and shareholder’s equity.

Current assets are usually listed on the company’s balance sheet in descending order of liquidity. Cash is the easiest type of asset to use to fund obligations, so it’s listed first. The order can vary depending on the type of business, but in general the liquidity of assets is in the same order as the list written earlier. For example, understanding which assets are current assets and which are fixed assets is important in understanding the net working capital of a company.

Fixed Assets

If the fair value less costs to sell is higher than the carrying value, no adjustment is needed, and the classification only results in additional disclosure. Long-term assets are investments in a company that will benefit the company for many years. Long-term assets can include fixed assets such as a company’s property, plant, and equipment but can also include other assets such as long-term investments or patents.

What is considered a long lived asset?

Impairment of long-lived assets. An impairment loss should be recognized on a long-lived asset if its carrying amount is not recoverable and exceeds its fair value. This loss is recognized within income from continuing operations on the income statement.

Firms do not have to deduct the entire cost of the asset from net income in the year it is purchased if it will give value for more than one year. The first issue in accounting for a long-lived asset is determining its cost at acquisition. The costs of most long-lived assets are capitalised and then allocated as expenses in the profit or loss (income) statement over the period of time during which they are expected to provide economic benefits. The two main types of long-lived assets with costs that are typically not allocated over time are land, which is not depreciated, and those intangible assets with indefinite useful lives. Long-lived assets, also referred to as non-current assets or long-term assets, are assets that are expected to provide economic benefits over a future period of time, typically greater than one year.

An asset’s book value is equal to its carrying value on the balance sheet, and companies calculate it netting the asset against its accumulated depreciation. Book value can also be thought of as the net asset value of a company calculated as total assets minus intangible assets (patents, goodwill) and liabilities. For the initial outlay of an investment, book value may be net or gross of expenses such as trading costs, sales taxes, service charges and so on.

Under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), assets are considered to be impaired when the fair value falls below the book value. Any write-off due to an impairment loss can have adverse affects on a company’s balance sheet and its resulting financial ratios. It is, therefore, very important for a company to test its assets for impairment periodically. Certain assets, such as the intangible goodwill, must be tested for impairment on an annual basis in order to ensure the value of assets are not inflated on the balance sheet. Assets that are not intended to be turned into cash or be consumed within one year of the balance sheet date.

After the impairment, depreciation expense is calculated using the asset’s new value. The capitalised costs of long-lived tangible assets and of intangible assets with finite useful lives are allocated to expense in subsequent periods over their useful lives. For tangible assets, this process is referred to as depreciation, and for intangible assets, it is referred to as amortisation. Once a long-lived asset is recognised, it is reported under the cost model at its historical cost less accumulated depreciation (amortisation) and less any impairment or under the revaluation model at its fair value. IFRS permit the use of either the cost model or the revaluation model, whereas US GAAP require the use of the cost model.

Long-term assets are reported on the balance sheet and are usually recorded at the price at which they were purchased and do not always reflect the current value of the asset. For an example, take a retail store that is recorded on the owner’s balance sheet as a non-current asset worth USD 20,000 (book value or carrying value is USD 20,000).

Under International Financial Reporting Standards, once a fixed asset has been revalued its book value can be adjusted periodically to market value using the cost model or the revaluation model. If an asset becomes impaired and an impairment loss results, the asset can fall under the revaluation model that allows periodic adjustments to the asset’s book value.

The amount of a long-term asset’s cost that has been allocated, since the time that the asset was acquired. ABC Company, based in Florida, purchased a building many years ago at a historical cost of $250,000. It has taken a total of $100,000 in depreciation on the building, and therefore has $100,000 in accumulated depreciation.

In short, long-term assets is an umbrella term to cover all assets that have a useful life of more than one year in which fixed assets are listed under that umbrella. Fixed assetsare noncurrent assets meaning the assets have auseful lifeof more than one year. Fixed assets includeproperty, plant, and equipment(PP&E) and are recorded on the balance sheet.

Long-term assets are investments that can require large amounts of capital and as a result, can increase a company’s debt or drain their cash. A limitation in analyzing long-term assets is that investors won’t see the benefits for a long time, perhaps years. Investors are left to trust the company’s executive management team’s ability to map out the future of the company and allocate capital effectively. Long-term assets include fixed assets but also include intangible assets as well.

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