Declining Balance Method of Depreciation

What is the Declining Balance Method?

Declining Balance Method of Depreciation also called as reducing balance method where assets is depreciated at a higher rate in the intial years than in the subsequent years. Under this method, a constant rate of depreciation is applied to an asset’s (declining) book value each year. This method results in accelerated depreciation and results in higher depreciation values in the early years of the life of an asset.

Declining Balance Method Formula

Under the Declining Balance Method Formula, the depreciation is computed as:

Declining Balance Method = (Net Book Value – Residual Value) * Rate of Depreciation (in %)

Declining Balance Method Example

Let’s understand the same with the help of examples:

Example #1

Ram purchased a Machinery costing $11000 with a useful life of 10 years and a residual value of $1000.The rate of Depreciation is 20%. Depreciation as per the DBM is computed as follows:

YearDepreciationDepreciationValue at the end of the year
120% ($11000-$1000)$2,000$8,000
220% ($8000)$1,600$6,400
320% ($6400)$1,280$5,120
420% ($5120)$1,024$4,096

Thus, the Machinery will depreciate over the useful life of 10 years at the rate of depreciation (20% in this case). As we can observe, the DBM result in higher depreciation during the initial years of an asset’s life and keeps reducing as the asset gets older.

Among the most common DBM is Double Declining Balance (DDB). Under the Double Declining Balance (DDB) method two times, the straight-line rate is applied to the declining balance. It is an ideal depreciation method for assets that quickly lose their value or are subject to technological obsolescence. Under Double Declining Balance MethodDouble Declining Balance MethodThe Double Declining Balance Method is one of the accelerated methods used for calculating the depreciation amount to be charged in the company's income statement. It is determined by multiplying the book value of the asset by the straight-line method's rate of depreciation and 2read more the depreciation is computed by the formula:

DDB formula

It doesn’t always use assets salvage value (or residual value) while computing the depreciation. However, depreciation ends once the estimated salvage value of the asset is reached. However, in those cases where the asset has no residual value, this method will never depreciate the asset fully and is typically changed to the Straight Line Depreciation MethodStraight Line Depreciation MethodStraight Line Depreciation Method is one of the most popular methods of depreciation where the asset uniformly depreciates over its useful life and the cost of the asset is evenly spread over its useful and functional life. read more at some stage during the asset’s life.

Let’s understand the same with the help of a declining balance method example:

Example #2

ABC Limited purchased a Machine costing $12500 with a useful life of 5 years. The Machine is expected to have a salvage valueSalvage ValueSalvage value or scrap value is the estimated value of an asset after its useful life is over. For example, if a company's machinery has a 5-year life and is only valued $5000 at the end of that time, the salvage value is $ more of $2500 at the end of its useful life.

Let’s calculate the depreciation using the Double Declining Balance method.

YearDepreciationAccumulated Depreciation
2(2/5)*($12500-$5000) = $3000$8,000
3(2/5)*($12500-$8000) = $1800$9,800
4(2/5)*($12500-$9800) = $1080$10,880

From year 1 to 3, ABC Limited has recognized accumulated depreciation of $9800.Since the Machinery is having a residual value of $2500, depreciation expense is limited to $10000 ($12500-$2500). As such, the depreciation in year 4 will limit to $200 ($10000-$9800) rather than $1080, as computed above. Also, for Year 5, depreciation expense will be $0 as the assets are already fully depreciated.



  • It results in lower Net Income during the initial years of an asset as Depreciation is higher initially.
  • It is not an ideal method for those assets which don’t lose their value quickly like Equipment and Machinery.

Differences Between Straight Line Method and Declining Balance Method

Basis for comparisonStraight Line MethodDeclining Balance Method
MeaningUnder this method, the cost of an asset is uniformly fixed and divided into the number of years of the useful life of the asset.Under this method, a constant rate applies over the assets declining book value (Cost minus Accumulated DepreciationAccumulated DepreciationThe accumulated depreciation of an asset is the amount of cumulative depreciation charged on the asset from its purchase date until the reporting date. It is a contra-account, the difference between the asset's purchase price and its carrying value on the balance more.
Calculation of DepreciationIt is calculated on the original cost of the asset, which is fixed throughout the life of the asset.It is calculated on the book value of the asset which keeps on declining year after year (Cost-Accumulated Depreciation)
Amount of DepreciationIt is less compared to the Declining Balance Method.It is usually higher during the initial years and reduces every year.
SuitabilityStraight Line Depreciation Method is ideal for those assets which require negligible maintenance expenses and are not prone to technological obsolescenceDeclining Balance Method is appropriate for assets that require more repairs and maintenance expenses as they get older and also for those assets which are prone to technological obsolescence as it results in higher depreciation during the initial years of an asset’s life.


Choosing the right method of depreciation to allocate the costAllocate The CostCost Allocation is the procedure of recognizing & assigning costs to different cost objects like a product, department, program, customer, etc., as per the cost driver serving as the base for this process. read more of an asset is an important decision that the management of a company has to undertake. Companies need to opt for the right depreciation method keeping into consideration the asset in question, its intended use, and the impact of technological changes on the asset and its utility. DBM has its pros and cons and is an ideal method for assets where technological obsolescence is very high. However, it is important from an Investor perspective to ensure that such an accelerated depreciation method is not deployed with the intent to suppress the Income of the business (due to high depreciation) and obtain tax benefits only which becomes evident in cases where companies make large gains on the sale of assets.

Declining Balance Method of Depreciation Video


This article has been a guide to what is the Declining Balance Method of Depreciation. Here we discuss declining balance formula along with practical examples. Here we also discuss its advantages and disadvantages. You may learn more about accounting basics from the following articles –

Reader Interactions


  1. Lisa Wu says

    Thanks! Great article. Well explained and very logical!

    • Dheeraj Vaidya says

      Thanks for your kind words!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *