Monday, April 12, 2010

Introduction of Accounting

In 1941, The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) had 
defined accounting as the art of recording, classifying, and summarising in a significant manner and in terms of money, transactions and events which are, in part at least, of financial character, and interpreting the results thereof’.
With greater economic development resulting in changing role of accounting,its scope, became broader. In 1966, the American Accounting Association(AAA) defined accounting as ‘the process of identifying, measuring and communicating economic information to permit informed judgments and decisions by users of information’.

In 1970, the Accounting Principles Board of AICPA also emphasised that the function of accounting is to provide quantitative information, primarily
financial in nature, about economic entities, that is intended to be useful in
making economic decisions.

Accounting can therefore be defined as the process of identifying,
measuring, recording and communicating the required information relating
to the economic events of an organisation to the interested users of such
information. In order to appreciate the exact nature of accounting, we must
understand the following relevant aspects of the definition:
• Economic Events
• Identification, Measurement, Recording and Communication
• Organisation
• Interested Users of Information

History and Development of Accounting
Accounting enjoys a remarkable heritage. The history of accounting is as old as
civilisation. The seeds of accounting were most likely first sown in Babylonia and
Egypt around 4000 B.C. who recorded transactions of payment of wages and taxes
on clay tablets. Historical evidences reveal that Egyptians used some form of
accounting for their treasuries where gold and other valuables were kept. The incharge
of treasuries had to send day wise reports to their superiors known as Wazirs (the
prime minister) and from there month wise reports were sent to kings. Babylonia,
known as the city of commerce, used accounting for business to uncover losses
taken place due to frauds and lack of efficiency. In Greece, accounting was used for
apportioning the revenues received among treasuries, maintaining total receipts,
total payments and balance of government financial transactions. Romans used
memorandum or daybook where in receipts and payments were recorded and
wherefrom they were posted to ledgers on monthly basis. (700 B.C to 400 A.D).

Organisation refers to a business enterprise, whether for profit or not-forprofit
motive. Depending upon the size of activities and level of business
operation, it can be a sole-proprietory concern, partnership firm, cooperative
society, company, local authority, municipal corporation or any other
association of persons.

The owners/shareholders use them to see if they are getting a satisfactory return
on their investment, and to assess the financial health of their company/business.

The directors/managers use them for making both internal and external
comparisons in their attempts to evaluate the performance. They may compare
the financial analysis of their company with the industry figures in order to
ascertain the company’s strengths and weaknesses. Management is also
concerned with ensuring that the money invested in the company/organisation
is generating an adequate return and that the company/organisation is able to
pay its debts and remain solvent.

The creditors (lenders) want to know if they are likely to get paid and look
particularly at liquidity, which is the ability of the company/organisation to pay
its debts as they become due.

The prospective investors use them to assess whether or not to invest their
money in the company/organisation.

The government and regulatory agencies such as Registrar of companies, Custom
departments IRDA, RBI, etc. require information for the payment of various taxes
such as Value Added Tax (VAT), Income Tax (IT), Customs and Excise duties for
protecting the interests of investors, creditors(lenders), and also to satisfy the
legal obligations imposed by the Companies Act 1956 and SEBI from time-totime.

 Accounting as a Source of Information
As discussed earlier, accounting is a definite processes of interlinked activities,
(refer figure 1.1) that begins with the identification of transactions and ends
with the preparation of financial statements. Every step in the process of
accounting generates information. Generation of information is not an end
in itself. It is a means to facilitate the dissemination of information among
different user groups. Such information enables the interested parties to
take appropriate decisions. Therefore, dissemination of information is an
function of accounting. To be useful, the accounting information should
ensure to:
• provide information for making economic decisions;
• serve the users who rely on financial statements as their principal source
of information;
• provide information useful for predicting and evaluating the amount,
timing and uncertainty of potential cash-flows;
• provide information for judging management’s ability to utilise resources
effectively in meeting goals;
• provide factual and interpretative information by disclosing underlying
assumptions on matters subject to interpretation, evaluation, prediction,
or estimation; and
• provide information on activities affecting the society.

Qualitative Characteristics of Accounting Information
Qualitative characteristics are the attributes of accounting information which
tend to enhance its understandability and usefulness. In order to assess
whether accounting information is decision useful, it must possess the
characteristics of reliability, relevance, understandability and comparability.
Reliability means the users must be able to depend on the information. The
reliability of accounting information is determined by the degree of
correspondence between what the information conveys about the transactions
or events that have occurred, measured and displayed. A reliable information
should be free from error and bias and faithfully represents what it is meant
to represent. To ensure reliability, the information disclosed must be credible,
verifiable by independent parties use the same method of measuring, and be
neutral and faithful.

Branches of Accounting
The economic development and technological improvements have resulted in an
increase in the scale of operations and the advent of the company form of business
organisation. This has made the management function more and more complex and
increased the importance of accounting information. This gave rise to special branches
of accounting. These are briefly explained below :
Financial accounting
financial accounting: The purpose of this branch of accounting is to keep a record
of all financial transactions so that:
(a) the profit earned or loss sustained by the business during an accounting period
can be worked out,
(b) the financial position of the business as at the end of the accounting period
can be ascertained, and
(c) the financial information required by the management and other interested
parties can be provided.
Cost Accounting : The purpose of cost accounting is to analyse the expenditure so
as to ascertain the cost of various products manufactured by the firm and fix the
prices. It also helps in controlling the costs and providing necessary costing
information to management for decision-making.
Management Accounting : The purpose of management accounting is to assist the
management in taking rational policy decisions and to evaluate the impact of its
decisons and actions.

To be relevant, information must be available in time, must help in prediction
and feedback, and must influence the decisions of users by :
(a) helping them form prediction about the outcomes of past, present or
future events; and/or
(b) confirming or correcting their past evaluations.
Understandability means decision-makers must interpret accounting
information in the same sense as it is prepared and conveyed to them. The
qualities that distinguish between good and bad communication in a message
are fundamental to the understandability of the message. A message is said
to be effectively communicated when it is interpreted by the receiver of the
message in the same sense in which the sender has sent. Accountants should
present the comparable information in the most intenlligible manner without
sacrificing relevance and reliability.

It is not sufficient that the financial information is relevant and reliable at a
particular time, in a particular circumstance or for a particular reporting entity.
But it is equally important that the users of the general purpose financial reports
are able to compare various aspects of an entity over different time period and
with other entities. To be comparable, accounting reports must belong to a
common period and use common unit of measurement and format of reporting.

 Objectives of Accounting
As an information system, the basic objective of accounting is to provide useful
information to the interested group of users, both external and internal. The
necessary information, particularly in case of external users, is provided in
the form of financial statements, viz., profit and loss account and balance
sheet. Besides these, the management is provided with additional information
from time to time from the accounting records of business. Thus, the primary
objectives of accounting include the following:
Accounting is used for the maintenance of a systematic record of all financial
transactions in book of accounts. Even the most brilliant executive or manager
cannot accurately remember the numerous amount of varied transactions
such as purchases, sales, receipts, payments, etc. that takes place in business
everyday. Hence, a proper and complete records of all business transactions
are kept regularly. Moreover, the recorded information enables verifiability
and acts as an evidence.

The owners of business are keen to have an idea about the net results of their
business operations periodically, i.e. whether the business has earned profits
or incurred losses. Thus, another objective of accounting is to ascertain the
profit earned or loss sustained by a business during an accounting period
which can be easily workout with help of record of incomes and expenses
relating to the business by preparing a profit or loss account for the period.
Profit represents excess of revenue (income), over expenses. If the total revenue
of a given period is Rs 6,00,000 and total expenses are Rs. 5,40,000 the profit
will be equal to Rs. 60,000(Rs. 6,00,000 – Rs. 5,40,000). If however, the total
expenses exceed the total revenue, the difference reflects the loss.

Accounting also aims at ascertaining the financial position of the business
concern in the form of its assets and liabilities at the end of every accounting
period. A proper record of resources owned by business organisation (Assets)
Qualitative Characteristic of Accounting Information
Decision Makers
(Users of Accounting Information)
Decision Usefulness
Relevance Relability
Dedicative Feedback Verifiability Faithfulness
Value Value

Providing Accounting Information to its Users
The accounting information generated by the accounting process is
communicated in the form of reports, statements, graphs and charts to the
users who need it in different decision situations. As already stated, there are
two main user groups, viz. internal users, mainly management, who needs
timely information on cost of sales, profitability, etc. for planning, controlling
and decision-making and external users who have limited authority, ability
and resources to obtain the necessary information and have to rely on financial
statements (Balance Sheet, Profit and Loss account). Primarily, the external
users are interested in the following:
• Investors and potential investors-information on the risks and returns
on investments;
• Unions and employee groups-information on the stability, profitability
and distribution of wealth within the business;
• Lenders and financial institutions-information on the creditworthiness of
the company and its ability to repay loans and pay interest;
• Suppliers and creditors-information on whether amounts owed will be
repaid when due, and on the continued existence of the business;
• Customers-information on the continued existence of the business and
thus the probability of a continued supply of products, parts and after
sales service;
• Government and other regulators- information on the allocation of
resources and the compliance to regulations;
• Social responsibility groups, such as environmental groups-information
on the impact on environment and its protection;
• Competitors-information on the relative strengths and weaknesses of their
competition and for comparative and benchmarking purposes. Whereas
the above categories of users share in the wealth of the company,
competitors require the information mainly for strategic purposes.

Role of Accounting
For centuries, the role of accounting has been changing with the changes in
economic development and increasing societal demands. It describes and
analyses a mass of data of an enterprise through measurement, classification
and summarisation, and reduces those date into reports and statements,
which show the financial condition and results of operations of that enterprise.
Hence, it is regarded as a language of business. It also performs the service
activity by providing quantitative financial information that helps the users in
various ways. Accounting as an information system collects and communicates
economic information about an enterprise to a wide variety of interested parties.
However, accounting information relates to the past transactions and is
quantitative and financial in nature, it does not provide qualitative and nonfinancial
information. These limitations of accounting must be kept in view
while making use of the accounting information.

Different Roles of Accounting
�� As a language – it is perceived as the language of business which is used to
communicate information on enterprises;
�� As a historical record- it is viewed as chronological record of financial transactions
of an organisation at actual amounts involved;
�� As current economic reality- it is viewed as the means of determining the true
income of an entity namely the change of wealth over time;
�� As an information system – it is viewed as a process that links an information
source (the accountant) to a set of receivers (external users) by means of a channel
of communication;
�� As a commodity- specialised information is viewed as a service which is in demand
in society, with accountants being willing to and capable of providing it.
1.5 Basic Terms in Accounting
1.5.1 Entity
Entity means a thing that has a definite individual existence. Business entity
means a specifically identifiable business enterprise like Super Bazaar, Hire
Jewellers, ITC Limited, etc. An accounting system is always devised for a
specific business entity (also called accounting entity).
1.5.2 Transaction
A event involving some value between two or more entities. It can be a purchase
of goods, receipt of money, payment to a creditor, incurring expenses, etc. It
can be a cash transaction or a credit transaction.

Assets are economic resources of an enterprise that can be usefully expressed
in monetary terms. Assets are items of value used by the business in its
operations. For example, Super Bazar owns a fleet of trucks, which is used by
it for delivering foodstuffs; the trucks, thus, provide economic benefit to the
enterprise. This item will be shown on the asset side of the balance sheet of
Super Bazaar. Assets can be broadly classified into two types: Fixed Assets
and Current Assets.
Fixed Assets are assets held on a long-term basis, such as land, buildings,
machinery, plant, furniture and fixtures. These assets are used for the normal
operations of the business.
Current Assets are assets held on a short-term basis such as
debtors(accounts receivable), bills receivable (notes receivable), stock
(inventory), temporary marketable securities, cash and bank balances.

Liabilities are obligations or debts that an enterprise has to pay at some time
in the future. They represent creditors’ claims on the firm’s assets. Both small
and big businesses find it necessary to borrow money at one time or the other,
and to purchase goods on credit. Super Bazar, for example, purchases goods
for Rs. 10,000 on credit for a month from Fast Food Products on March 25,
2005. If the balance sheet of Super Bazaar is prepared as at March 31, 2005,
Fast Food Products will be shown as creditors on the liabilities side of the
balance sheet. If Super Bazaar takes a loan for a period of three years from
Delhi State Co-operative Bank, this will also be shown as a liability in the
balance sheet of Super Bazaar. Liabilities are classified as long-term liabilities
and short-term liabilities (also known as short-term liabilities).
Long-term liabilities are those that are usually payable after a period of
one year, for example, a term loan from a financial institution or debentures
(bonds) issued by a company.
Short-term liabilities are obligations that are payable within a period of one
year, for example, creditors, bills payable, bank overdraft.

Amount invested by the owner in the firm is known as capital. It may be
brought in the form of cash or assets by the owner for the business entity
capital is an obligation and a claim on the assets of business. It is, therefore,
shown as capital on the liabilities side of the balance sheet.
Sales are total revenues from goods or services sold or provided to customers.
Sales may be cash sales or credit sales.
These are the amounts of the business earned by selling its products or
providing services to customers, called sales revenue. Other items of revenue
common to many businesses are: commission, interest, dividends, royalities,
rent received, etc. Revenue is also called income.
Costs incurred by a business in the process of earning revenue are known as
expenses. Generally, expenses are measured by the cost of assets consumed
or services used during an accounting period. The usual items of expenses
are: depreciation, rent, wages, salaries, interest, cost of heater, light and water,
telephone, etc.
Spending money or incurring a liability for some benefit, service or property
received is called expenditure. Payment of rent, salary, purchase of goods,
purchase of machinery, purchase of furniture, etc. are examples of expenditure.
If the benefit of expenditure is exhausted within a year, it is treated as an
expense (also called revenue expenditure). On the other hand, the benefit of
an expenditure lasts for more than a year, it is treated as an asset (also called
capital expenditure) such as purchase of machinery, furniture, etc.
The excess of revenues of a period over its related expenses during an
accounting year profit. Profit increases the investment of the owners.
A profit that arises from events or transactions which are incidental to business
such as sale of fixed assets, winning a court case, appreciation in the value of
an asset.
The excess of expenses of a period over its related revenues its termed as loss.
It decreases in owner’s equity. It also refers to money or money’s worth lost
(or cost incurred) without receiving any benefit in return, e.g., cash or goods
lost by theft or a fire accident, etc. It also includes loss on sale of fixed assets.
Discount is the deduction in the price of the goods sold. It is offered in two
ways. Offering deduction of agreed percentage of list price at the time selling
goods is one way of giving discount. Such discount is called ‘trade discount’.
It is generally offered by manufactures to wholesellers and by wholesellers to
retailers. After selling the goods on credit basis the debtors may be given
certain deduction in amount due in case if they pay the amount within the
stipulated period or earlier. This deduction is given at the time of payment on
the amount payable. Hence, it is called as cash discount. Cash discount acts
as an incentive that encourages prompt payment by the debtors.
The documentary evidence in support of a transaction is known as voucher.
For example, if we buy goods for cash, we get cash memo, if we buy on credit,
we get an invoice; when we make a payment we get a receipt and so on.
It refers to the products in which the business units is dealing, i.e. in terms of
which it is buying and selling or producting and selling. The items that are
purchased for use in the business are not called goods. For example, for a
furniture dealer purchase of chairs and tables is termed as goods, while for
other it is furniture and is treated as an asset. Similarly, for a stationery merchant,
stationery is goods, whereas for others it is an item of expense (not purchases)
Withdrawal of money and/or goods by the owner from the business for personal
use is known as drawings. Drawings reduces the investment of the owners.
Purchases are total amount of goods procured by a business on credit and on
cash, for use or sale. In a trading concern, purchases are made of merchandise
for resale with or without processing. In a manufacturing concern, raw
materials are purchased, processed further into finished goods and then sold.
Purchases may be cash purchases or credit purchases.
Stock (inventory) is a measure of something on hand-goods, spares and other
items in a business. It is called Stock in hand. In a trading concern, the stock
on hand is the amount of goods which are lying unsold as at the end of an
accounting period is called closing stock (ending inventory). In a manufacturing
company, closing stock comprises raw materials, semi-finished goods and
finished goods on hand on the closing date. Similarly, opening stock (beginning
inventory) is the amount of stock at the beginning of the accounting period.
Debtors are persons and/or other entities who owe to an enterprise an amount
for buying goods and services on credit. The total amount standing against
such persons and/or entities on the closing date, is shown in the balance
sheet as sundry debtors on the asset side.
Creditors are persons and/or other entities who have to be paid by an enterprise
an amount for providing the enterprise goods and services on credit. The total
amount standing to the favour of such persons and/or entities on the closing
date, is shown in the Balance Sheet as sundry creditors on the liabilities side.


Summary with Reference to Learning Objectives
1. Meaning of Accounting : Accounting is a process of identifying, measuring,
recording the business transactions and communicating thereof the required
information to the interested users.
2. Accounting as a source of information : Accounting as a source of information
system is the process of identifying, measuring, recording and communicating
the economic events of an organisation to interested users of the information.
3. Users of accounting information : Accounting plays a significant role in society
by providing information to management at all levels and to those having a
direct financial interest in the enterprise, such as present and potential
investors and creditors. Accounting information is also important to those
having indirect financial interest, such as regulatory agencies, tax authorities,
customers, labour unions, trade associations, stock exchanges and others.
4. Qualitative characteristics of Accounting : To make accounting information
decision useful, it should possess the following qualitative characteristics.
• Reliability • Understandability
• Relevance • Comparability
5. Objective of accounting : The primary objectives of accounting are to :
• maintain records of business;
• calculate profit or loss;
• depict the financial position; and
• make information available to various groups and users.
6. Role of accounting : Accounting is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end.
It plays the role of a :
• Language of a business
• Historical record
• Current economic reality
• Information system
• Service to users

Questions for Practice
Short Answers
1. Define accounting.
2. State what is end product of financial accounting.
3. Enumerate main objectives of accounting.
4. List any five users who have indirect interest in accounting.
5. State the nature of accounting information required by long-term lenders.
6. Who are the external users of information?
7. Enumerate informational needs of management.
8. Give any three examples of revenues.
9. Distinguish between debtors and creditors.
10. ‘Accounting information should be comparable’. Do you agree with this
statement. Give two reasons.
11. If the accounting information is not clearly presented, which of the qualitative
characteristic of the accounting information is violated?
12. “The role of accounting has changed over the period of time”- Do you agree?
13. Giving examples, explain each of the following accounting terms :
• Fixed assets • Gain • Profit
• Revenue • Expenses • Short-term liability
• Capital
14. How will you define revenues and expenses?
15. What is the primiary reason for the business students and others to
familiarise themselves with the accounting discipline?

Matching principle requires that the revenue of a given period is matched against the  expenses for the same period. This ensures ascertainment of the correct amount of profit or loss. If some cost is incurred whose benefits extend for more than one accounting period then it is not justified to charge the entire cost as expense in the year in which it is incurred. Rather such a cost must be spread over the periods in which it provides benefits.
Depreciation, which is the main subject matter of the present chapter, deals with such a situation. Further, it may not always be possible to ascertain with certainty the amount of some particular expense. Recall that the principle of conservatism (prudence) requires that instead of ignoring such items of expenses, adequate provision must be made and charged against profits of the current period. Moreover, a part of profit may be retained in the business in the form of reserves to provide for growth, expansion or meeting certain specific needs of the business in future. This chapter deals with two distinct topics and hence is being presented in two different sections. First section deals with depreciation and second section deals with provisions and reserves.

Now you are aware that fixed assets are the assets which are used in business for more than one accounting year. Fixed assets (technically referred to as “depreciable assets”)tend to reduce their value once they are put to use. In general, the term
“Depreciation” means decline in the value of a fixed assets due to use, passage
of time or obsolescence. In other words, if a business enterprise procures a
machine and uses it in production process then the value of machine declines
with its usage. Even if the machine is not used in production process, we can
not expect it to realise the same sales price due to the passage of time or
arrival of a new model (obsolescence). It implies that fixed assets are subject
to decline in value and this decline is technically referred to as depreciation.
As an accounting term, depreciation is that part of the cost of a fixed asset
which has expired on account of its usage and/or lapse of time. Hence,
depreciation is an expired cost or expense, charged against the revenue of a
given accounting period. For example, a machine is purchased for Rs.1,00,000
on April 01, 2005. The useful life of the machine is estimated to be 10 years.
It implies that the machine can be used in the production process for next 10
years till March 31, 2015. You understand that by its very nature, Rs. 1,00,000
is a capital expenditure during the year 2005. However, when income statement
(Profit and Loss account) is prepared, the entire amount of Rs.1,00,000 can
not be charged against the revenue for the year 2005, because of the reason
that the capital expenditure amounting to Rs.1,00,000 is expected to derive
benefits (or revenue) for 10 years and not one year. Therefore, it is logical to
charge only a part of the total cost say Rs.10,000 (one tenth of Rs. 1,00,000)
against the revenue for the year 2005. This part represents, the expired cost
or loss in the value of machine on account of its use or passage of time and is
referred to as ‘Depreciation’. The amount of depreciation, being a charge against
profit, is debited to the profit and loss account.

 Meaning of Depreciation
Depreciation may be described as a permanent, continuing and gradual
shrinkage in the book value of fixed assets. It is based on the cost of assets
consumed in a business and not on its market value.
According to Institute of Cost and Management Accounting, London (ICMA)
terminology “ The depreciation is the diminution in intrinsic value of the asset
due to use and/or lapse of time.”
Accounting Standard-6 issued by The Institute of Chartered Accountants
of India (ICAI) defines depreciation as “a measure of the wearing out, consumption
or other loss of value of depreciable asset arising from use, effluxion of time or
obsolescence through technology and market-change. Depreciation is allocated
so as to charge fair proportion of depreciable amount in each accounting period
during the expected useful life of the asset. Depreciation includes amortisation
of assets whose useful life is pre-determined”.

 Features of Depreciation
Above mentioned discussion on depreciation highlights the following features
of depreciation:
1. It is decline in the book value of fixed assets.
2. It includes loss of value due to effluxion of time, usage or obsolescence.
For example, a business firm buys a machine for Rs. 1,00,000 on April
01, 2000. In the year 2002, a new version of the machine arrives in the
market. As a result, the machine bought by the business firm becomes
outdated. The resultant decline in the value of old machine is caused by
3. It is a continuing process.
4. It is an expired cost and hence must be deducted before calculating taxable
profits. For example, if profit before depreciation and tax is Rs. 50,000,
and depreciation is Rs. 10,000; profit before tax will be:
Profit before depreciation & tax 50,000
(-) Depreciation (10,000)
Profit before tax 40,000
5. It is a non-cash expense. It does not involve any cash outflow. It is the
process of writing-off the capital expenditure already incurred.
Do it Yourself
Look at your surroundings and identify at least five depreciable assets in your home,
school, hospital, printing press and in a bakery.

The term depletion is used in the context of extraction of natural resources
like mines, quarries, etc. that reduces the availability of the quantity of the
material or asset. For example, if a business enterprise is into mining business
and purchases a coal mine for Rs. 10,00,000. Then the value of coal mine
declines with the extraction of coal out of the mine. This decline in the value of
mine is termed as depletion. The main difference between depletion and
depreciation is that the former is concerned with the exhaution of economic
resources, but the latter relates to the usage of an asset. In spite of this, the
result is erosion in the volume of natural resources and expiry of the service
potential. Therefore, depletion and depreciation are given similar accounting

Amortisation refers to writing-off the cost of intangible assets like patents,
copyright, trade marks, franchises, leasehold mines which have entitlements
to use for a specified period of time. The procedure for amortisation or periodic
write-off of a portion of the cost of intangible assets is the same as that for the
depreciation of fixed assets. For example, if a business firm buys a patent for
Rs. 10,00,000 and estimates that its useful life will be 10 years then the
business firm must write-off Rs. 10,00,000 over 10 years. The amount so
written- off is technically referred to as amortisation.

Causes of Depreciation
These have been very clearly spelt out as part of the definition of depreciation
in the Accounting Standard 6 and are being elaborated here.
7.3.1 Wear and Tear due to Use or Passage of Time
Wear and tear means deterioration, and the consequent diminution in an
assets value, arising from its use in business operations for earning revenue.
It reduces the asset’s technical capacities to serve the purpose for, which it
has been meant. Another aspect of wear and tear is the physical deterioration.
An asset deteriorates simply with the passage of time, even though they are
not being put to any use. This happens especially when the assets are exposed
to the rigours of nature like weather, winds, rains, etc.

 Expiration of Legal Rights
Certain categories of assets lose their value after the agreement governing
their use in business comes to an end after the expiry of pre-determined
period. Examples of such assets are patents, copyrights, leases, etc. whose
utility to business is extinguished immediately upon the removal of legal
backing to them.
Obsolescence is another factor leading to depreciation of fixed assets. In
ordinary language, obsolescence means the fact of being “out-of-date”.
Obsolescence implies to an existing asset becoming out-of-date on account of
the availability of better type of asset. It arises from such factors as:
• Technological changes;
• Improvements in production methods;
• Change in market demand for the product or service output of the asset;
• Legal or other description.
Abnormal Factors
Decline in the usefulness of the asset may be caused by abnormal factors
such as accidents due to fire, earthquake, floods, etc. Accidental loss is
permanent but not continuing or gradual. For example, a car which has been
repaired after an accident will not fetch the same price in the market even if it
has not been used.

 Need for Depreciation
The need for providing depreciation in accounting records arises from
conceptual, legal, and practical business consideration. These considerations
provide depreciation a particular significance as a business expense.

 Matching of Costs and Revenue
The rationale of the acquisition of fixed assets in business operations is that
these are used in the earning of revenue. Every asset is bound to undergo
some wear and tear, and hence lose value, once it is put to use in business.
Therefore, depreciation is as much the cost as any other expense incurred in
the normal course of business like salary, carriage, postage and stationary,
etc. It is a charge against the revenue of the corresponding period and must
be deducted before arriving at net profit according to ‘Generally Accepted
Accounting Principles’.
Consideration of Tax
Depreciation is a deductible cost for tax purposes. However, tax rules for the
calculation of depreciation amount need not necessarily be similar to current
business practices,
 True and Fair Financial Position
If depreciation on assets is not provided for, then the assets will be over valued
and the balance sheet will not depict the correct financial position of the
business. Also, this is not permitted either by established accounting practices
or by specific provisions of law.
7.4.4 Compliance with Law
Apart from tax regulations, there are certain specific legislations that indirectly
compel some business organisations like corporate enterprises to provide
depreciation on fixed assets.

Factors Affecting the Amount of Depreciation
The determination of depreciation depends on three parameters, viz. cost,
estimated useful life and probable salvage value.
 Cost of Asset
Cost (also known as original cost or historical cost) of an asset includes invoice
price and other costs, which are necessary to put the asset in use or working
condition. Besides the purchase price, it includes freight and transportation
cost, transit insurance, installation cost, registration cost, commission paid
on purchase of asset add items such as software, etc. In case of purchase of a
second hand asset it includes initial repair cost to put the asset in workable
condition. According to Accounting Standand-6 of ICAI, cost of a fixed asset is
“the total cost spent in connection with its acquisition, installation and
commissioning as well as for addition or improvement of the depreciable asset”.
For example, a photocopy machine is purchased for Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 5,000
is spent on its transportation and installation. In this case the original cost of
the machine is Rs. 55,000 (i.e. Rs. 50,000 + Rs.5,000 ) which will be writtenoff
as depreciation over the useful life of the machine.

Methods of Calculating Depreciation Amount
The depreciation amount to be charged for during an accounting year depends
up on depreciable amount and the method of allocation. For this, two methods
are mandated by law and enforced by professional accounting practice in
India. These methods are straight line method and written down value method.
Besides these two main methods there are other methods such as – annuity
method, depreciation fund method, insurance policy method, sum of years
digit method, double declining method, etc. which may be used for determining
the amount of depreciation. The selection of an appropriate method depends
upon the following :
• Type of the asset;
• Nature of the use of such asset;
• Circumstances prevailing in the business;
As per Accounting Standard-6, the selected depreciation method should
be applied consistently from period to period. Change in depreciation method
may be allowed only under specific circumstances.
 Straight Line Method
This is the earliest and one of the widely used methods of providing
depreciation. This method is based on the assumption of equal usage of the
asset over its entire useful life. It is called straight line for a reason that if the
amount of depreciation and corresponding time period is plotted on a graph,
it will result in a straight line
It is also called fixed installment method because the amount of depreciation
remains constant from year to year over the useful life of the asset. According
to this method, a fixed and an equal amount is charged as depreciation in
every accounting period during the lifetime of an asset. The amount annually
charged as depreciation is such that it reduces the original cost of the asset to
its scrap value, at the end of its useful life. This method is also known as fixed
percentage on original cost method because same percentage of the original
cost (infact depreciable cost) is written off as depreciation from year to year.
The depreciation amount to be provided under this method is computed
by using the following formula:
Estimated useful life of the asset
Cost of asset Estimated net residential value
Rate of depreciation under straight line method is the percentage of the
total cost of the asset to be charged as deprecation during the useful lifetime
of the asset. Rate of depreciation is calculated as follows:
Acquisition cost
Annual depreciation amount
Rate of Depreciation = ×
Consider the following example, the original cost of the asset is Rs. 2,50,000.
The useful life of the asset is 10 years and net residual value is estimated to
be Rs. 50,000. Now, the amount of depreciation to be charged every year will
be computed as given below:
Depreciation, Provisions and Reserves 237
Annual Depreciation Amount
Estimated life of asset
Acqusition cost of asset − Estimated net residential value
Rs. 20,000
Rs. 2,50,000 Rs. 50,000
i.e. =

The rate of depreciation will be calculated as :
(i) 100
Acquisition cost
Annual depreciation amount
Rate of Depreciation = ×
From point (i), the annual depreciation amounts to Rs. 20,000.
Thus, the rate of depreciation will be = 100 8%
Rs. 2,50,000
Rs. 20,000 × =
 Advantages of Straight Line Method
Straight Line method has certain advantages which are stated below:
• It is very simple, easy to understand and apply. Simplicity makes it a
popular method in practice;
• Asset can be depreciated upto the net scrap value or zero value. Therefore,
this method makes it possible to distribute full depreciable cost over useful
life of the asset;
• Every year, same amount is charged as depreciation in profit and loss
account. This makes comparison of profits for different years easy;
• This method is suitable for those assets whose useful life can be estimated
accurately and where the use of the asset is consistent from year to year
such as leasehold buildings.

Fig. 7.1 : Depreciation amount under straight line method Limitations of Straight Line Method
Although straight line method is simple and easy to apply it suffers from
certain limitations which are given below.
• This method is based on the faulty assumption of same utility of the asset
in different accounting years;
• With the passage of time, work efficiency of the asset decreases and repair
and maintenance expense increases. Hence, under this method total
amount charged against profit on account of depreciation and repair taken
together will not be uniform throughout the life of the asset, rather it will
keep on increasing from year to year.
 Written Down Value Method
Under this method, depreciation is charged on the book value of the asset.
Since book value keeps on reducing by the annual charge of depreciation, it is
also known as reducing balance method. This method involves the application
of a pre-determined proportion/percentage of the book value of the asset at
the beginning of every accounting period, so as to calculate the amount of
depreciation. The amount of depreciation reduces year after year.
For example, the original cost of the asset is Rs. 2,00,000 and depreciation
is charged @ 10% p.a. at written down value, then the amount of depreciation
will be computed as follows:
(i) Depreciation (I year) = Rs. 20,000
Rs. 20,00,000 × =
(ii) Written down value = Rs. 2,00,000 – 20,000 = Rs.1,80,000
(at the end of the I year)
(iii) Depreciation (II year) = Rs. 18,000
Rs. 1,80,000 × =
(iv) Written down value = Rs. 1,80,000 – Rs.18,000 = 1,62,000
(at the end of the II year)
(v) Depreciation (III year) = Rs. 16,200
Rs. 1,62,000 × =
(vi) Written down value = Rs. 1,62,000 – Rs. 16,200 = Rs. 1,45,800
(at the end of III year)
As evident from the example, the amount of depreciation goes on reducing
year after year. For this reason, it is also known reducing installment or
diminishing value method. This method is based upon the assumption that
the benefit accruing to business from assets keeps on diminishing as the
asset becomes old (refer figure 7.2). This is due to the reason that a predetermined
percentage is applied to a gradually shrinking balance on the
Depreciation, Provisions and Reserves 239
asset account every year. Thus, large amount is recovered depreciation charge
in the earlier years than in later years.
 Advantages of Written Down Value Method
Written down value method has the following advantages:
• This method is based on a more realistic assumption that the benefits
from asset go on diminishing with the passage of time. Hence, it calls for
proper allocation of cost because higher depreciation is charged in earlier
years when asset’s utility is more as compared to later years when it
becomes less useful;
• It results into almost equal burden on profit or loss account of depreciation
and repair expenses taken together every year;
• Income Tax Act accept this method for tax purposes;
• As a large portion of cost is written-off in earlier years, loss due to
obsolescence gets reduced;
• This method is suitable for fixed assets, which lasts for long and which
require increased repair and maintenance expenses with passage of time.
It can also be used where obsolescence rate is high.
 Limitations of Written Down Value Method
Although this method is based upon a more realistic assumption it suffers
from the following limitations.
• As depreciation is calculated at fixed percentage of written down value,
depreciable cost of the asset cannot be fully written-off. The value of the
asset can never be zero;
• It is difficult to ascertain a suitable rate of depreciation.
Straight Line Method and Written Down Method: A Comparative Analysis
Straight line and written down value methods are generally used for calculating
depreciation amount in practice. Following are the points of differences between
these two methods.
Basis of Charging Depreciation
In straight line method, depreciation is charged on the basis of original cost or
(historical cost). Whereas in written down value method, the basis of charging
depreciation is net book value (i.e., original cost less depreciation till date) of
the asset, in the beginning of the year.

Provisions and Reserve
There are certain expenses/losses which are related to the current accounting
period but amount of which is not known with certainty because they are not
yet incurred. It is necessary to make provision for such items for ascertaining
true net profit. For example, a trader who sells on credit basis knows that
some of the debtors of the current period would default and would not pay or
would pay only partially. It is necessary to take into account such an expected
loss while calculating true and fair profit/loss according to the principle of
Prudence or Conservatism. Therefore, the trader creates a Provision for Doubtful
Debts to take care of expected loss at the time of realisation from debtors. In
a similar way, Provision for repairs and renewals may also be created to provide
for expected repair and renewal of the fixed assets. Examples of provisions
are :
• Provision for depreciation;
• Provision for bad and doubtful debts;
• Provision for taxation;
• Provision for discount on debtors; and
• Provision for repairs and renewals.
It must be noted that the amount of provision for expense and loss is a
charge against the revenue of the current period. Creation of provision ensures
proper matching of revenue and expenses and hence the calculation of true
profits. Provisions are created by debiting the profit and loss account. In the
balance sheet, the amount of provision may be shown either:
• By way of deduction from the concerned asset on the assets side. For
example, provision for doubtful debts is shown as deduction from the
amount of sundry debtors and provision for depreciation as a deduction
from the concerned fixed assets;
Depreciation, Provisions and Reserves
• On the liabilities side of the balance sheet alongwith current liabilities, for
example provision for taxes and provision for repairs and renewals.

 Accounting Treatment for Provisions
The accounting treatment of all types of provisions is almost similar. Therefore,
the accounting treatment is explained here taking up the case of provision for
doubtful debts.
As already stated that when business transaction takes place on credit
basis, debtors account is created and its balance is shown on the asset-side
of the balance sheet. These debtors may be of three types:
• Good Debtors are those from where collection of debt is certain.
• Bad Debts are those debtors from where collection of money is not
possible and the amount of credit given is a certain loss.
• Doubtful Debts are those debtors who may pay but business firm is not
sure about the collection of full amount from them. In fact, as a matter
of business experience, some percentage of such debtors are not likely
to pay, hence treated as doubtful debts. To consider this possible loss
on account of non-payment by some debtors, it is a common practice
(and necessary also) to make a suitable provision for doubtful debts at
the time of ascertaining true profit or loss. The provision for doubtful
debts is usually calculated as a certain percentage of the total amount
due from sundry debtors after deducting/writing-off all known bad
debts. Provision for doubtful debts is also called ‘Provision for bad and
doubtful debts’. It is created by debiting the amount of required provision
to the profit and loss account and crediting it to provision for doubtful
debts account.
For creating a provision for doubtful debts the following journal entry
is recorded:
Profit and Loss A/c Dr. (with the amount of provision)
To Provision for doubtful debts A/c
This is explained with the help of the following example
Observe an extract of the trial balance from the books of Trehan Traders
on March 31, 2005 is given below:
Date Account title L.F. Debit Credit
Amount Amount
Rs. Rs.
Sundry Debtors 68,000

A part of the profit may be set aside and retained in the business to provide
for certain future needs like growth and expansion or to meet future
contingencies such as workmen compensation. Unlike provisions, reserves
are the appropriations of profit to strengthen the financial position of the
business. Reserve is not a charge against profit as it is not meant to cover any
known liability or expected loss in future. However, retention of profits in the
form of reserves reduces the amount of profits available for distribution among
the owners of the business. It is shown under the head Reserves and Surpluses
on the liabilities side of the balance sheet after capital.Examples of reserves
• General reserve;
• Workmen compensation fund;
• Investment fluctuation fund;
• Capital reserve;
Depreciation, Provisions and Reserves
• Dividend equalisation reserve;
• Reserve for redemption of debenture.
 Difference between Reserve and Provision
The points of difference between reserve and provision are explained below:
1. Basic nature : A provision is a charge against profit whereas reserve is an
appropriation of profit. Hence, net profit cannot be calculated unless all
provisions have been debited to profit and loss account, while a reserve is
created after the calculation of net profit.
2. Purpose : Provision is made for a known liability or expense pertaining to
current accounting period, the amount of which is not certain. On the
other hand reserve is created for strengthening the financial position of
the business. Some reserves are also mandatory under the law.
3. Presentation in balance sheet: Provision is shown either (i) by way of
deduction from the item on the asset side for which it is created, or (ii) on
the liabilities side along with current liabilities. On the other hand, reserve
is shown on the liabilities side after capital.
4. Effect on taxable profits : Provision is deducted before calculating taxable
profits. Hence, it reduces taxable profits. A reserve is created from profit
after tax and therefore it has no effect on taxable profit.
5. Element of compulsion : Creation of provision is necessary to ascertain
true and fair profit or loss in compliance with ‘Prudence’ or ‘Conservatism’
concept. It has to be made even if there are no profits. Whereas creation of
a reserve is generally at the discretion of the management. However, in
certain cases law has stipulated for the creation of specific reserves such
as Debenture Redemption Reserve. Reserve cannot be created unless there
are profits.
6. Use for the payment of dividend : Provision cannot be used for distribution
as dividends while general reserve can be used for dividend distribution.
Basis of Difference Provision Reserve
1. Basic nature Charge against profit. Appropriation of profit.
2. Purpose It is created for a known It is made for strengthening
liability or expense pertaining the financial position of
to current accounting period, the business.Some reserves
the amount of which is not are also mandatory under law.
3. Effect on taxable It reduces taxable profits. It has no effect on taxable
profits. profit.
4. Presentations in It is shown either (i) by way It is shown on the liabilities.
Balance sheet of deduction from the item on side after capital amount.
the asset side for which it is
created, or (ii) In the liabilities
side along with current
5. Element of Creation of provision is Generally, creation of a Reserve
compulsion necessary to ascertain true is at the discretion of the manaand
fair profit or loss in gement. Reserve cannot be
compliance ‘Prudence’ or created unless there are profits.
‘Conservatism’ concept. However, in certain cases law
It must be made even has stipulated for the creation
if there are no profits. of specific reserves such as
‘Debenture’ ‘Redemption ’reserve.
6. Use for the payment It can not be used for It can be used for divided
of dividend dividend distribution. distribution.

 Types of Reserves
A reserve is created by retention of profit of the business can be for either a
general or a specific purpose.
1. General reserve : When the purpose for which reserve is created is not
specified, it is called General Reserve . It is also termed as free reserve
because the management can freely utilise it for any purpose. General
reserve strengthens the financial position of the business.
2. Specific reserve : Specific reserve is the reserve, which is created for some
specific purpose and can be utilised only for that purpose. Examples of
specific reserves are given below :
(i) Dividend equalisation reserve: This reserve is created to stabilise or
maintain dividend rate. In the year of high profit, amount is transferred
to Dividend Equalisation reserve. In the year of low profit, this reserve
amount is used to maintain the rate of dividend.
(ii) Workmen compensation fund: It is created to provide for claims of the
workers due to accident, etc.
(iii) Investment fluctuation fund: It is created to make for decline in the
value of investment due to market fluctuations.
(iv) Debenture redemption reserve: It is created to provide funds for
redemption of debentures.
Reserves are also classified as revenue and capital reserves according to
the nature of the profit out of which they are created.
Depreciation, Provisions and Reserves 269
(a) Revenue reserves : Revenue reserves are created from revenue profits
which arise out of the normal operating activities of the business and are
otherwise freely available for distribution as dividend. Examples of revenue
reserves are:
• General reserve;
• Workmen compensation fund;
• Investment fluctuation fund;
• Dividend equalisation reserve;
• Debenture redemption reserve;
(b) Capital reserves: Capital reserves are created out of capital profits which
do not arise from the normal operating activities. Such reserves are not
available for distribution as dividend. These reserves can be used for
writing off capital losses or issue of bonus shares in case of a company.
Examples of capital profits, which are treated as capital reserves, whether
transferred as such or not, are :
• Premium on issue of shares or debenture.
• Profit on sale of fixed assets.
• Profit on redemption of debentures.
• Profit on revaluation of fixed asset & liabilities.
• Profits prior to incorporation.
• Profit on reissue of forfeited shares

 Difference between Revenue and Capital Reserve
Revenue reserves and capital reserves are differentiated on the following
1. Source of creation : Revenue reserve is created out of revenue profits, which
arise out of the normal operating activities of the business and are
otherwise available for dividend distribution. On the other hand capital
reserve is created primarily out of capital profit, which do not arise from
the normal operating activities of the business and are not available for
distribution as dividend. But revenue profits may also be used for creation
of capital reserves.
2. Purpose : Revenue reserve is created to strengthen the financial position, to
meet unforeseen contingencies or for some specific purposes. Whereas capital
reserve is created for compliance of legal requirements or accounting practices.
3. Usage : A specific revenue reserve can be utilised only for the earmarked
purpose while a general reserve can be utilised for any purpose including
distribution of dividend. Whereas a capital reserve can be utilised for specific
purposes as provided in the law in force, e.g. to write off capital losses or
issue of bonus shares.
Basic of Difference Revenue Reserve Capital Reserve
1. Source of creation It is created out of revenue It is created primarily out of
profits which arise out of capital profit which do not arise
normal operating activities out of the normal operating
of the business and are activities of the business and not
otherwise available for available for dividend distribution.
dividend distribution. But revenue profits may also be
used for this purpose.
2. Purpose It is created to strengthen It is created for compliance of
the financial position, to legal requirements or accounting
meet unforeseen practices.
contingencies or for some
specific purposes.
3. Usage A specific revenue reserve It can be utilised for specific can be utilised only for the purposes as provided in the law earmarked purpose while a in force e.g. to write off capital general reserve can be losses or issue of bonus shares.utilised for any purpose including distribution of dividend.

 Importance of Reserves
A business firm may consider it proper to set up some mechanism to protect
itself from the consequences of unknown expenses and losses, it may be
required to bear in future. It may also regard it as more appropriate in certain
cases to reduce the amount that can be drawn by the proprietors as profit in
order to conserve business resource to meet certain significant demands in
future. An example of such a demand is the much needed expansion in the
scale of business operations. This is presented as the justification for reserves
in business activities and in accounting. The amount so set aside may be
meant for the purpose of :
• Meeting a future contingency
• Strengthening the general financial position of the business;
• Redeeming a long-term liability like debentures, etc.

 Secret Reserve
Secret reserve is a reserve which does not appear in the balance sheet. It may
also help to reduce the disclosed profits and also the tax liability . The secret
reserve can be merged with the profits during the lean periods to show improved
Depreciation, Provisions and Reserves 271
profits. Management may resort to creation of secret reserve by charging higher
depreciation than required. It is termed as ‘Secret Reserve’, as it is not known
to outside stakeholders. Secret reserve can also be created by way of :
• Undervaluation of inventories/stock
• Charging capital expenditure to profit and loss account
• Making excessive provision for doubtful debts
• Showing contingent liabilities as actual liabilities
Creation of secret reserves within reasonable limits is justifiable on grounds
of expediency, prudence and preventing competition from other firms.
Identification, Measurement, Recording and Communication
Identification : It means determining what transactions to record, i.e., to identity
events which are to be recorded. It involves observing activities and selecting
those events that are of considered financial character and relate to the
organisation. The business transactions and other economic events therefore
are evaluated for deciding whether it has to be recorded in books of account.
For example, the value of human resources, changes in managerial policies
or appointment of personnel are important but none of these are recorded in
books of account. However, when a company makes a sale or purchase, whether
on cash or credit, or pays salary it is recorded in the books of account.
Measurement : It means quantification (including estimates) of business
transactions into financial terms by using monetary unit, viz. rupees and
paise as a measuring unit. If an event cannot be quantified in monetary
terms, it is not considered for recording in financial accounts. That is why
important items like the appointment of a new managing director, signing of
contracts or changes in personnel are not shown in the books of accounts.
Recording : Once the economic events are identified and measured in financial
terms, these are recorded in books of account in monetary terms and in a
chronological order. Recording is done in a manner that the necessary financial
information is summarised as per well-established practice and is made
available as and when required.
Communication : The economic events are identified, measured and recorded
in order that the pertinent information is generated and communicated in a
certain form to management and other internal and external users. The
information is regularly communicated through accounting reports. These
reports provide information that are useful to a variety of users who have an
interest in assessing the financial performance and the position of an
enterprise, planning and controlling business activities and making necessary
decisions from time to time. The accounting information system should be
designed in such a way that the right information is communicated to the
right person at the right time. Reports can be daily, weekly, monthly, or
quarterly, depending upon the needs of the users. An important element in
the communication process is the accountant’s ability and efficiency in
presenting the relevant information


Real Account:

The Accounting rule for Real Account is

Debit What Comes In and Credit What Goes Out

All Asset Accounts It Includes both Tangible assets like Cahs, car, Furniture and Intagible assets Like Goodwill, Patents.

Personal Accounts :

Accounting Rule for Personal Account is Credit the Benefit Giver and Debit the Benefit Receiver

All Accounts which can be attached to an individual or Organisation. It can be either an Asset or Liability

Say an organisation buys good on Credit from Mr X for 1000 $ so here the Account of Mr X is a Personal Account and will be a Creditor i.e Liability.

Nominal Accouns:

Debit All Losses and Expenses and Credit all Incomes and Profits.

All Income, Expense, Profit, Losses accounts are Nominal Account.