Equipment Appraisal Blog | Understanding Machinery Appraisals

How is depreciation of equipment figured and how does it impact value?

Posted by Equipment Appraisal Services on Tue, Dec 12, 2017 @ 10:04 AM

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When you own machinery assets for your home workshop or your company, you know that the depreciation of equipment can rapidly change the value of those assets. But what is depreciation? Exactly how is depreciation figured? How does depreciation impact your bottom line and the value of the machinery? Are there any other ways to determine value for machinery assets? Here are the answers to these questions and more.

How is depreciation of equipment figured and how does it impact value?

Depreciation is one process by which equipment values may be estimated. It's commonly used for taxes and similar business financial documentation. Generally speaking, it breaks down the estimated value of a piece of equipment over the expected period of time that machinery will function. It creates a simple way to lower equipment values over time, accounting for the change in value of the asset. It's one of the most common ways to track changes in machinery value for many businesses. But that doesn't mean it's the best possible option for your company.

A depreciation table assumes that all machinery of a particular type ages at the same rate. But what about when you have a piece of equipment that is expected to last much longer because it's well cared for and lightly used? What about when a piece of equipment is abused and worked hard beyond its expected limits? At that point, the expected lifespan of the equipment may vary widely compared to a piece of equipment that has more standardized care and maintenance. This makes a strong impact on the machinery's actual value when compared to the depreciation table, throwing your business' finances off - specifically the value of your assets.

There are a few different but very common situations where this happens. Well maintained machinery will still have value after it has been fully depreciated. Abused equipment will fail before it has been fully depreciated. In either instance, the machinery's depreciated value does not accurately reflect its actual value. When you have machinery that is initially used extensively but then takes a back burner to other processes, the rate at which it depreciates can change over time, making the value change as well. What can you do to depreciate the machinery using an accurate value and timeframe?

When you have a machinery valuation performed, you get all the information you need to set up a proper depreciation schedule. The valuation will determine the machinery's estimated value using standardized methodologies and the expected useful lifespan of that piece of machinery. By having these two pieces of information available, you can create your own depreciation table that is backed up by the valuation report and is customized to your company's situation. Because the methodologies used by certified equipment appraisers has been developed over the past several decades in legal, financial, insurance and tax agency circles, they stand up well to strong scrutiny.

By knowing how depreciation of equipment is determined, you can figure out exactly what type of value method works best for your assets. But when you're starting with equipment that isn't brand new, how do you figure out an initial value to determine your depreciation from? Many equipment owners have found that having an equipment valuation performed can make a big difference in being able to track realistic machinery values. 

Tags: Equipment Appraisal, depreciation of equipment