What are the important Differences and Similarities between Written Down Value and Straight-Line Method

Written Down Value (WDV)

Written Down Value (WDV) is a method of calculating depreciation for an asset, typically used for accounting and tax purposes. It involves reducing the value of an asset over time to account for its wear and tear, obsolescence, and decrease in value due to usage. The WDV method is commonly used in financial reporting to accurately reflect the decreasing value of assets on a company’s balance sheet.

Features and aspects of the Written Down Value (WDV) method:

  • Initial Cost: The WDV method starts with the original cost or purchase price of the asset.
  • Depreciation Rate: A predetermined depreciation rate is applied to the asset’s initial cost to calculate the depreciation amount for a specific period.
  • Calculation: The depreciation amount is subtracted from the asset’s initial cost to determine its written down value at the end of the period.
  • Cumulative Depreciation: The WDV at the end of each period becomes the new base for calculating depreciation for the subsequent period. The process is repeated in each accounting period.
  • Asset Lifespan: The WDV method continues until the asset’s value reaches its estimated salvage value (residual value) or is fully depreciated. The asset is then removed from the balance sheet.
  • Application: WDV is used for various types of assets, including machinery, equipment, vehicles, buildings, and intangible assets like patents and copyrights.
  • Accounting Treatment: In financial statements, the accumulated depreciation is deducted from the asset’s original cost to show the asset’s net carrying value.
  • Tax Implications: Many countries allow businesses to claim tax deductions based on the calculated depreciation under the WDV method, reducing taxable income.
  • Obsolescence Consideration: WDV acknowledges that assets may become obsolete over time, leading to a decrease in their value.
  • Accuracy: WDV provides a more accurate representation of an asset’s value on the balance sheet compared to other methods, especially as the asset ages and loses value.
  • Common Alternatives: Other methods of calculating depreciation include Straight-Line Depreciation and Declining Balance Depreciation.

Advantages of Written Down Value (WDV) Depreciation Method:

  • Accuracy over Time: WDV accurately reflects the decreasing value of assets as they age and experience wear and tear, providing a more realistic representation on the balance sheet.
  • Matching Principle: WDV aligns with the matching principle in accounting, where the cost of an asset is matched with the revenues it generates over its useful life.
  • Complex Assets: WDV is particularly useful for assets that experience rapid technological advancements or obsolescence, as it allows for faster depreciation in the early years.
  • Tax Benefits: WDV often results in higher depreciation expenses in the early years, which can lead to greater tax deductions and reduced taxable income.
  • Financial Reporting: WDV provides a clear picture of an asset’s carrying value on the balance sheet, aiding in financial reporting and decision-making.
  • Accounting for Obsolescence: WDV accounts for the potential decline in value due to technological advancements, helping companies reflect the true economic impact of assets.

Disadvantages of Written Down Value (WDV) Depreciation Method:

  • Complex Calculations: The calculation of depreciation under the WDV method can be more complex, especially when dealing with multiple assets and varying useful lives.
  • Front-Loading Depreciation: WDV often results in higher depreciation expenses in the early years, potentially impacting reported profits and financial ratios.
  • Inconsistent Results: The rate of depreciation can lead to inconsistent results for different assets, making direct comparisons challenging.
  • Salvage Value Estimation: Determining an accurate salvage value can be subjective and may require assumptions that affect the calculation.
  • Non-Intuitive Results: In some cases, the WDV of an asset may become negative, which may not intuitively reflect its true value or usefulness.
  • Tax Depreciation Limitations: Tax regulations and rules governing depreciation may limit the extent to which the WDV method can be used for tax deductions.
  • Lack of Transparency: Over time, the original cost of an asset becomes less relevant, potentially making it less transparent for financial statement users.
  • Potential for Manipulation: The subjective nature of estimating useful life and salvage value can potentially be manipulated to achieve desired financial outcomes.

Written Down Value example.

Let’s consider an example of calculating depreciation using the Written Down Value (WDV) method:


A company purchases a piece of machinery for $50,000. The estimated useful life of the machinery is 5 years, and the salvage value (residual value) is $5,000. The company will use the WDV method to calculate depreciation.


Year 1:

Initial Cost: $50,000

Depreciation Rate: 1/5 (since the estimated useful life is 5 years)

Depreciation Amount: $50,000 * 1/5 = $10,000

WDV at the end of Year 1: $50,000 – $10,000 = $40,000

Year 2:

WDV at the start of Year 2: $40,000

Depreciation Amount: $40,000 * 1/5 = $8,000

WDV at the end of Year 2: $40,000 – $8,000 = $32,000

Year 3:

WDV at the start of Year 3: $32,000

Depreciation Amount: $32,000 * 1/5 = $6,400

WDV at the end of Year 3: $32,000 – $6,400 = $25,600

Year 4:

WDV at the start of Year 4: $25,600

Depreciation Amount: $25,600 * 1/5 = $5,120

WDV at the end of Year 4: $25,600 – $5,120 = $20,480

Year 5:

WDV at the start of Year 5: $20,480

Depreciation Amount: $20,480 * 1/5 = $4,096

WDV at the end of Year 5: $20,480 – $4,096 = $16,384

At the end of Year 5, the WDV of the machinery is $16,384, which is its salvage value. The machinery is fully depreciated and has reached its estimated salvage value.

Straight-Line Method (SLM)

The Straight-Line Method (SLM) is a commonly used technique for calculating depreciation of assets over their estimated useful life. Under this method, the depreciation expense is distributed evenly over the asset’s useful life, resulting in a constant depreciation amount each accounting period. The Straight-Line Method is straightforward and widely accepted for its simplicity and ease of application.

Features and aspects of the Straight-Line Method (SLM):

  1. Uniform Depreciation: SLM spreads the depreciation expense evenly over the asset’s useful life, resulting in a constant annual or periodic depreciation amount.
  2. Calculation: The annual depreciation expense is calculated by dividing the cost of the asset (less its estimated salvage value) by the estimated useful life.
  3. Depreciation Formula: Depreciation Expense = (Cost of Asset – Salvage Value) / Useful Life
  4. Depreciation Schedule: The calculated depreciation expense remains the same for each period until the asset’s value reaches its estimated salvage value or is fully depreciated.
  5. Simplicity: SLM is easy to understand, calculate, and implement, making it a practical choice for businesses with numerous assets.
  6. Even Distribution: SLM provides a straightforward way to distribute the impact of an asset’s cost over its useful life, resulting in a more consistent financial reporting pattern.
  7. Matching Principle: SLM adheres to the matching principle in accounting, where expenses are matched with the revenue they help generate.
  8. Predictability: SLM provides predictable and stable depreciation expenses, aiding in budgeting and financial planning.
  9. Useful Life Estimation: The Straight-Line Method requires an estimate of an asset’s useful life, which may be influenced by factors such as wear and tear, technological advancements, and industry standards.
  10. Applicability: SLM is suitable for assets with a relatively uniform or predictable rate of wear and tear, where the asset’s value decreases evenly over time.
  11. Asset Types: SLM is commonly used for assets like buildings, furniture, equipment, and vehicles.

Advantages of Straight-Line Method (SLM):

  1. Simplicity: SLM is easy to calculate and apply, requiring minimal complex computations.
  2. Consistency: The uniform depreciation pattern of SLM simplifies financial reporting and makes it easier to compare assets.
  3. Budgeting: Predictable depreciation expenses assist in budgeting and financial forecasting.
  4. Matching Principle: SLM aligns with the matching principle, improving the accuracy of financial statements.
  5. Equal Distribution: SLM evenly distributes the depreciation expense over an asset’s useful life, which can be appropriate for certain asset types.

Disadvantages of Straight-Line Method (SLM):

  1. Inaccurate Reflection: SLM may not accurately reflect an asset’s actual wear and tear if the asset’s value declines more rapidly in the early years.
  2. Technological Advancements: SLM doesn’t account for rapid technological obsolescence that can significantly affect an asset’s value.
  3. Salvage Value Variability: The accuracy of SLM depends on the accurate estimation of an asset’s salvage value, which can vary.
  4. Front-Loading Impact: In cases where an asset’s value decreases more rapidly initially, SLM may result in a higher book value in the later years.
  5. Unequal Impact: SLM doesn’t account for varying degrees of usage or wear and tear in different periods.

SLM example


A company purchases a piece of equipment for $60,000. The equipment is expected to have a useful life of 5 years and an estimated salvage value of $10,000.


Initial Cost: $60,000

Salvage Value: $10,000

Useful Life: 5 years

Using the Straight-Line Method, we can calculate the annual depreciation expense:

Depreciation Expense = (Initial Cost – Salvage Value) / Useful Life

Depreciation Expense = ($60,000 – $10,000) / 5 = $50,000 / 5 = $10,000 per year

Depreciation Schedule:

Year Initial Cost Depreciation Expense Accumulated Depreciation Book Value
1 $60,000 $10,000 $10,000 $50,000
2 $60,000 $10,000 $20,000 $40,000
3 $60,000 $10,000 $30,000 $30,000
4 $60,000 $10,000 $40,000 $20,000
5 $60,000 $10,000 $50,000 $10,000


  • In each year, the company records a depreciation expense of $10,000, which is calculated by dividing the initial cost of the equipment ($60,000) minus the salvage value ($10,000) by the useful life (5 years).
  • The accumulated depreciation is the sum of the depreciation expenses over the years, representing the total reduction in the asset’s value.
  • The book value is calculated by subtracting the accumulated depreciation from the initial cost, showing the remaining value of the asset at the end of each year.
  • By the end of the fifth year, the equipment’s book value will have decreased to its salvage value of $10,000, indicating that it has been fully depreciated.

Important differences between WDV and SLM

Basis of Comparison

Written Down Value (WDV)

Straight-Line Method (SLM)

Depreciation Distribution Front-loaded Evenly distributed
Calculation Complexity More complex Less complex
Initial Cost Impact High Uniform
Matching Principle Reflects wear and tear Equal allocation
Salvage Value Treatment Considered Subtracted at the end
Technological Obsolescence More adaptive Less adaptive
Accuracy in Later Years Less accurate More accurate
Early-Year Expense Impact Higher depreciation Consistent depreciation
Tax Deductions Higher initial, decrease Consistent over time
Suitable Asset Types Rapidly declining value Uniform wear and tear
Record-keeping Challenges Complex changes Minimal changes
Budgeting Predictability Less predictable More predictable
Useful Life Impact Influences depreciation Does not affect method

Similarities between WDV and SLM

  • Depreciation Purpose: Both methods are used to allocate the cost of an asset over its useful life for accounting and financial reporting purposes.
  • Useful Life Consideration: Both methods involve estimating the useful life of an asset, which is a key factor in calculating the depreciation expense.
  • Matching Principle: Both methods adhere to the matching principle in accounting, where expenses are matched with the revenues they help generate.
  • Asset Valuation: Both methods result in a reduction of the asset’s value on the balance sheet as it ages and experiences wear and tear.
  • Financial Reporting: Both methods provide a systematic approach to reflecting the decrease in the value of assets over time in financial statements.
  • Predictable Expenses: Both methods provide a degree of predictability in depreciation expenses, aiding in budgeting and financial planning.
  • Tax Deductions: Both methods can be used for tax purposes to calculate deductions related to asset depreciation.
  • Uniform Treatment: Both methods are widely recognized and accepted accounting practices for allocating depreciation.

Advisory Note: Article shared based on knowledge available on internet and for the Knowledge purpose only. Please contact Professional/Advisor/Doctor for treatment/Consultation.

error: Content is protected !!