Skip to Content
OpenStax Logo
Principles of Accounting, Volume 1: Financial Accounting

11.5 Describe Some Special Issues in Accounting for Long-Term Assets

Principles of Accounting, Volume 1: Financial Accounting11.5 Describe Some Special Issues in Accounting for Long-Term Assets
Buy book
  1. Preface
  2. 1 Role of Accounting in Society
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 1.1 Explain the Importance of Accounting and Distinguish between Financial and Managerial Accounting
    3. 1.2 Identify Users of Accounting Information and How They Apply Information
    4. 1.3 Describe Typical Accounting Activities and the Role Accountants Play in Identifying, Recording, and Reporting Financial Activities
    5. 1.4 Explain Why Accounting Is Important to Business Stakeholders
    6. 1.5 Describe the Varied Career Paths Open to Individuals with an Accounting Education
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
  3. 2 Introduction to Financial Statements
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 2.1 Describe the Income Statement, Statement of Owner’s Equity, Balance Sheet, and Statement of Cash Flows, and How They Interrelate
    3. 2.2 Define, Explain, and Provide Examples of Current and Noncurrent Assets, Current and Noncurrent Liabilities, Equity, Revenues, and Expenses
    4. 2.3 Prepare an Income Statement, Statement of Owner’s Equity, and Balance Sheet
    5. Key Terms
    6. Summary
    7. Multiple Choice
    8. Questions
    9. Exercise Set A
    10. Exercise Set B
    11. Problem Set A
    12. Problem Set B
    13. Thought Provokers
  4. 3 Analyzing and Recording Transactions
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 3.1 Describe Principles, Assumptions, and Concepts of Accounting and Their Relationship to Financial Statements
    3. 3.2 Define and Describe the Expanded Accounting Equation and Its Relationship to Analyzing Transactions
    4. 3.3 Define and Describe the Initial Steps in the Accounting Cycle
    5. 3.4 Analyze Business Transactions Using the Accounting Equation and Show the Impact of Business Transactions on Financial Statements
    6. 3.5 Use Journal Entries to Record Transactions and Post to T-Accounts
    7. 3.6 Prepare a Trial Balance
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary
    10. Multiple Choice
    11. Questions
    12. Exercise Set A
    13. Exercise Set B
    14. Problem Set A
    15. Problem Set B
    16. Thought Provokers
  5. 4 The Adjustment Process
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 4.1 Explain the Concepts and Guidelines Affecting Adjusting Entries
    3. 4.2 Discuss the Adjustment Process and Illustrate Common Types of Adjusting Entries
    4. 4.3 Record and Post the Common Types of Adjusting Entries
    5. 4.4 Use the Ledger Balances to Prepare an Adjusted Trial Balance
    6. 4.5 Prepare Financial Statements Using the Adjusted Trial Balance
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  6. 5 Completing the Accounting Cycle
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 5.1 Describe and Prepare Closing Entries for a Business
    3. 5.2 Prepare a Post-Closing Trial Balance
    4. 5.3 Apply the Results from the Adjusted Trial Balance to Compute Current Ratio and Working Capital Balance, and Explain How These Measures Represent Liquidity
    5. 5.4 Appendix: Complete a Comprehensive Accounting Cycle for a Business
    6. Key Terms
    7. Summary
    8. Multiple Choice
    9. Questions
    10. Exercise Set A
    11. Exercise Set B
    12. Problem Set A
    13. Problem Set B
    14. Thought Provokers
  7. 6 Merchandising Transactions
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 6.1 Compare and Contrast Merchandising versus Service Activities and Transactions
    3. 6.2 Compare and Contrast Perpetual versus Periodic Inventory Systems
    4. 6.3 Analyze and Record Transactions for Merchandise Purchases Using the Perpetual Inventory System
    5. 6.4 Analyze and Record Transactions for the Sale of Merchandise Using the Perpetual Inventory System
    6. 6.5 Discuss and Record Transactions Applying the Two Commonly Used Freight-In Methods
    7. 6.6 Describe and Prepare Multi-Step and Simple Income Statements for Merchandising Companies
    8. 6.7 Appendix: Analyze and Record Transactions for Merchandise Purchases and Sales Using the Periodic Inventory System
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary
    11. Multiple Choice
    12. Questions
    13. Exercise Set A
    14. Exercise Set B
    15. Problem Set A
    16. Problem Set B
    17. Thought Provokers
  8. 7 Accounting Information Systems
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 7.1 Define and Describe the Components of an Accounting Information System
    3. 7.2 Describe and Explain the Purpose of Special Journals and Their Importance to Stakeholders
    4. 7.3 Analyze and Journalize Transactions Using Special Journals
    5. 7.4 Prepare a Subsidiary Ledger
    6. 7.5 Describe Career Paths Open to Individuals with a Joint Education in Accounting and Information Systems
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  9. 8 Fraud, Internal Controls, and Cash
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 8.1 Analyze Fraud in the Accounting Workplace
    3. 8.2 Define and Explain Internal Controls and Their Purpose within an Organization
    4. 8.3 Describe Internal Controls within an Organization
    5. 8.4 Define the Purpose and Use of a Petty Cash Fund, and Prepare Petty Cash Journal Entries
    6. 8.5 Discuss Management Responsibilities for Maintaining Internal Controls within an Organization
    7. 8.6 Define the Purpose of a Bank Reconciliation, and Prepare a Bank Reconciliation and Its Associated Journal Entries
    8. 8.7 Describe Fraud in Financial Statements and Sarbanes-Oxley Act Requirements
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary
    11. Multiple Choice
    12. Questions
    13. Exercise Set A
    14. Exercise Set B
    15. Problem Set A
    16. Problem Set B
    17. Thought Provokers
  10. 9 Accounting for Receivables
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 9.1 Explain the Revenue Recognition Principle and How It Relates to Current and Future Sales and Purchase Transactions
    3. 9.2 Account for Uncollectible Accounts Using the Balance Sheet and Income Statement Approaches
    4. 9.3 Determine the Efficiency of Receivables Management Using Financial Ratios
    5. 9.4 Discuss the Role of Accounting for Receivables in Earnings Management
    6. 9.5 Apply Revenue Recognition Principles to Long-Term Projects
    7. 9.6 Explain How Notes Receivable and Accounts Receivable Differ
    8. 9.7 Appendix: Comprehensive Example of Bad Debt Estimation
    9. Key Terms
    10. Summary
    11. Multiple Choice
    12. Questions
    13. Exercise Set A
    14. Exercise Set B
    15. Problem Set A
    16. Problem Set B
    17. Thought Provokers
  11. 10 Inventory
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 10.1 Describe and Demonstrate the Basic Inventory Valuation Methods and Their Cost Flow Assumptions
    3. 10.2 Calculate the Cost of Goods Sold and Ending Inventory Using the Periodic Method
    4. 10.3 Calculate the Cost of Goods Sold and Ending Inventory Using the Perpetual Method
    5. 10.4 Explain and Demonstrate the Impact of Inventory Valuation Errors on the Income Statement and Balance Sheet
    6. 10.5 Examine the Efficiency of Inventory Management Using Financial Ratios
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  12. 11 Long-Term Assets
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 11.1 Distinguish between Tangible and Intangible Assets
    3. 11.2 Analyze and Classify Capitalized Costs versus Expenses
    4. 11.3 Explain and Apply Depreciation Methods to Allocate Capitalized Costs
    5. 11.4 Describe Accounting for Intangible Assets and Record Related Transactions
    6. 11.5 Describe Some Special Issues in Accounting for Long-Term Assets
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  13. 12 Current Liabilities
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 12.1 Identify and Describe Current Liabilities
    3. 12.2 Analyze, Journalize, and Report Current Liabilities
    4. 12.3 Define and Apply Accounting Treatment for Contingent Liabilities
    5. 12.4 Prepare Journal Entries to Record Short-Term Notes Payable
    6. 12.5 Record Transactions Incurred in Preparing Payroll
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  14. 13 Long-Term Liabilities
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 13.1 Explain the Pricing of Long-Term Liabilities
    3. 13.2 Compute Amortization of Long-Term Liabilities Using the Effective-Interest Method
    4. 13.3 Prepare Journal Entries to Reflect the Life Cycle of Bonds
    5. 13.4 Appendix: Special Topics Related to Long-Term Liabilities
    6. Key Terms
    7. Summary
    8. Multiple Choice
    9. Questions
    10. Exercise Set A
    11. Exercise Set B
    12. Problem Set A
    13. Problem Set B
    14. Thought Provokers
  15. 14 Corporation Accounting
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 14.1 Explain the Process of Securing Equity Financing through the Issuance of Stock
    3. 14.2 Analyze and Record Transactions for the Issuance and Repurchase of Stock
    4. 14.3 Record Transactions and the Effects on Financial Statements for Cash Dividends, Property Dividends, Stock Dividends, and Stock Splits
    5. 14.4 Compare and Contrast Owners’ Equity versus Retained Earnings
    6. 14.5 Discuss the Applicability of Earnings per Share as a Method to Measure Performance
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  16. 15 Partnership Accounting
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 15.1 Describe the Advantages and Disadvantages of Organizing as a Partnership
    3. 15.2 Describe How a Partnership Is Created, Including the Associated Journal Entries
    4. 15.3 Compute and Allocate Partners’ Share of Income and Loss
    5. 15.4 Prepare Journal Entries to Record the Admission and Withdrawal of a Partner
    6. 15.5 Discuss and Record Entries for the Dissolution of a Partnership
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  17. 16 Statement of Cash Flows
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 16.1 Explain the Purpose of the Statement of Cash Flows
    3. 16.2 Differentiate between Operating, Investing, and Financing Activities
    4. 16.3 Prepare the Statement of Cash Flows Using the Indirect Method
    5. 16.4 Prepare the Completed Statement of Cash Flows Using the Indirect Method
    6. 16.5 Use Information from the Statement of Cash Flows to Prepare Ratios to Assess Liquidity and Solvency
    7. 16.6 Appendix: Prepare a Completed Statement of Cash Flows Using the Direct Method
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary
    10. Multiple Choice
    11. Questions
    12. Exercise Set A
    13. Exercise Set B
    14. Problem Set A
    15. Problem Set B
    16. Thought Provokers
  18. Financial Statement Analysis
  19. Time Value of Money
  20. Suggested Resources
  21. Answer Key
    1. Chapter 1
    2. Chapter 2
    3. Chapter 3
    4. Chapter 4
    5. Chapter 5
    6. Chapter 6
    7. Chapter 7
    8. Chapter 8
    9. Chapter 9
    10. Chapter 10
    11. Chapter 11
    12. Chapter 12
    13. Chapter 13
    14. Chapter 14
    15. Chapter 15
    16. Chapter 16
  22. Index

A company will account for some events for long-term assets that are less routine than recording purchase and depreciation or amortization. For example, a company may realize that its original estimate of useful life or salvage value is no longer accurate. A long-term asset may lose its value, or a company may sell a long-term asset.

Revision of Remaining Life or Salvage Value

As you have learned, depreciation is based on estimating both the useful life of an asset and the salvage value of that asset. Over time, these estimates may be proven inaccurate and need to be adjusted based on new information. When this occurs, the depreciation expense calculation should be changed to reflect the new (more accurate) estimates. For this entry, the remaining depreciable balance of the net book value is allocated over the new useful life of the asset. To work through this process with data, let’s return to the example of Kenzie Company.

  • Kenzie has a press worth $58,000.
  • Its salvage value was originally estimated to be $10,000.
  • Its economic life was originally estimated to be five years.
  • Kenzie uses straight-line depreciation.

After three years, Kenzie determines that the estimated useful life would have been more accurately estimated at eight years, and the salvage value at that time would be $6,000. The revised depreciation expense is calculated as shown:

Original Cost $58,000; Depreciation Previously Taken (3 times $9,600) equals 28,800; Book Value at Beginning of Year 4 $29,200; Revised Salvage Value 6,000; Revised Remaining Depreciable Cost $23,200. Revised Remaining Useful Life 5 years. Revised Depreciation $23,200 divided by 5 years equals $4,640 per year.

These revised calculations show that Kenzie should now be recording a depreciation of $4,640 per year for the next five years.

Your Turn

Useful Life

Georgia-Pacific is a global company that employs a wide variety of property, plant, and equipment assets in its production facilities. You work for Georgia-Pacific as an accountant in charge of the fixed assets subsidiary ledger at a warehouse facility in Pennsylvania. You find out that the useful lives for the fork trucks need to be adjusted. As an asset category, the trucks were bought at the same time and had original useful lives of seven years. However, after depreciating them for two years, the company makes improvements to the trucks that allow them to be used outdoors in what can be harsh winters. The improvements also extend their useful lives by two additional years. What is the remaining useful life after the improvements?

Solution

Seven original years – two years depreciated + two additional years = seven years remaining.

Obsolescence

Obsolescence refers to the reduction in value and/or use of the asset. Obsolescence has traditionally resulted from the physical deterioration of the asset—called physical obsolescence. In current application—and considering the role of modern technology and tech assets—accounting for functional obsolescence is becoming more common. Functional obsolescence is the loss of value from all causes within a property except those due to physical deterioration. With functional obsolescence, the useful life still needs to be adjusted downward: although the asset physically still works, its functionality makes it less useful for the company. Also, an adjustment might be necessary in the salvage value. This potential adjustment depends on the specific details of each obsolescence determination or decision.

Sale of an Asset

When an asset is sold, the company must account for its depreciation up to the date of sale. This means companies may be required to record a depreciation entry before the sale of the asset to ensure it is current. After ensuring that the net book value of an asset is current, the company must determine if the asset has sold at a gain, at a loss, or at book value. We look at examples of each accounting alternative using the Kenzie Company data.

Recall that Kenzie’s press has a depreciable base of $48,000 and an economic life of five years. If Kenzie sells the press at the end of the third year, the company would have taken three years of depreciation amounting to $28,800 ($9,600 × 3 years). With an original cost of $58,000, and after subtracting the accumulated depreciation of $28,800, the press would have a book value of $29,200. If the company sells the press for $31,000, it would realize a gain of $1,800, as shown.

Cost of Press $58,000; Less: Accumulated Depreciation: Printing Press 28,800; Book Value $29,200. Sales Price $31,000; Less: Book Value 29,200; Gain on Sale of Printing Press $1,800.

The journal entry to record the sale is shown here.

Journal entry dated Dec. 31, 2019 debiting Cash for 31,000 and Accumulated Depreciation: Printing Press for 28,800 and crediting Printing Press for 58,000 and Gain on Sale: Printing Press for 1,800.

If Kenzie sells the printing press for $27,100, what would the journal entries be? The book value of the press is $29,200, so Kenzie would be selling the press at a loss. The journal entry to record the sale is shown here.

Journal entry dated Dec. 31, 2019 debiting Cash for 27,100 and Accumulated Depreciation: Printing Press for 28,800 and Loss on Sale of Printing Press for 2,100 and crediting Printing Press for 58,000.

What if Kenzie sells the press at exactly book value? In this case, the company will realize neither a gain nor a loss. Here is the journal entry to record the sale.

Journal entry dated Dec. 31, 2019 debiting Cash for 29,200 and Accumulated Depreciation: Printing Press for 28,800 and crediting Printing Press for 58,000.

While it would be ideal to estimate a salvage value that provides neither a gain nor a loss upon the retirement and sale of a long-term asset, this type of accuracy is virtually impossible to reach, unless you negotiate a fixed future sales price. For example, you might buy a truck for $80,000 and lock in a five-year life with 100,000 or fewer miles driven. Under these conditions, the dealer might agree to pay you $20,000 for the truck in five years.

Under these conditions, you could justify calculating your depreciation over a five-year period, using a depreciable base of $60,000. Under the straight-line method, this would provide an annual depreciation amount of $12,000. Also, when you sell the truck to the dealer after five years, the sales price will be $20,000, and the book value will be $20,000, so there would be neither a gain nor a loss on the sale.

In the Kenzie example where the asset was sold for $31,000 after three years, Kenzie should have recorded a total of $27,000 in depreciation (cost of $58,000 less the sales value of $31,000). However, the company recorded $28,800 in depreciation over the three-year period. Subtracting the gain of $1,800 from the total depreciation expense of $28,800 shows the true cost of using the asset as $27,000, and not the depreciation amount of $28,800.

When the asset was sold for $27,100, the accounting records would show $30,900 in depreciation (cost of $58,000 less the sales price of $27,100). However, depreciation is listed as $28,800 over the three-year period. Adding the loss of $2,100 to the total depreciation expense of $28,800 results in a cost of $30,900 for use of the asset rather than the $28,800 depreciation.

If the asset sells for exactly the book value, its depreciation expense was estimated perfectly, and there is no gain or loss. If it sells for $29,200 and had a book value of $29,200, its depreciation expense of $28,800 matches the original estimate.

Think It Through

Depreciation of Long-Term Assets

You are a new staff accountant at a large construction company. After a rough year, management is seeking ways to minimize expenses or increase revenues before year-end to help increase the company’s earnings per share. Your boss has asked staff to think “outside the box” and has asked to you look through the list of long-term assets to find ones that have been fully depreciated in value but may still have market value. Why would your manager be looking for these specific assets? How significantly might these items impact your company’s overall performance? What ethical issues might come into play in the task you have been assigned?

Citation/Attribution

Want to cite, share, or modify this book? This book is Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License 4.0 and you must attribute OpenStax.

Attribution information
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a print format, then you must include on every physical page the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/principles-financial-accounting/pages/1-why-it-matters
  • If you are redistributing all or part of this book in a digital format, then you must include on every digital page view the following attribution:
    Access for free at https://openstax.org/books/principles-financial-accounting/pages/1-why-it-matters
Citation information

© Apr 11, 2019 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License 4.0 license. The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the Creative Commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University.