Depreciation Accounting Practices And Profitability Of Selected Sme In Port Harcourt


Depreciation Accounting Practices And Profitability Of Selected Sme In Port Harcourt

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This section will consist of two major sections which are conceptual framework and the review of relevant literature. Basic concepts related to depreciation accounting practices and its influence on profitability. The review of relevant literature will consist of issues that has been discussed on the research topic by historians and scholars.



One of the basic objectives of financial accounting is to calculate the true profit of loss from the operation of the enterprise for a particular period (Moody, 1974). As per matching principle of accountancy the costs of the products must be matched with the revenues in each period. This principle indicates that if any revenue is earned and recorded then all costs whether paid or outstanding must also be recorded in books of account so that the profit and loss account could give a true and fair view of the profits earned or loss suffered during the period and balance sheet presents true and fair view of a financial position of the business (Edwards, 1961).

The accounting concept of depreciation refers to the process of allocating the initial or re-stated input valuation (cost or other basis) of plant and equipments to their useful life and charge the amount to revenue account as expenditure (Woods, 2007).

According to Akanni (1988) depreciation is charged on the fixed assets or those assets which are of material value having long life and are held to be used in business and are not primarily for resale or for conversion into cash. Usually, with the exception of land, fixed assets have a limited number of the years of useful life. Motor vans, machines, buildings and fixtures, for instance do not last for ever. Even land itself may have all or part of its usefulness exhausted after few years. Some types of lands used for quarries, mines or land of another sort of washing nature would be examples. When a fixed asset bought is put out of use by the firm, that part of the cost that is not recovered on disposal is called depreciation.

The American institute of certified public accountants has defined the depreciation as Depreciation accounting is a system of accounting which aims to distribute the cost or other basic value of tangible capital assets less salvage (if any), over the estimated useful life of the unit (which may be a group of assets) in a systematic and rational manner. It is a process of allocation, not valuation (Matheson, 1984). Depreciation for the year is the portion of the total charge under such a system that is allocated to the year. Although the allocation may properly take into account occurrences during the year, it is not intended to the effect of all such occurrences (Anao, 1996).

Some definitions given by prominent authors and institutes of accountancy are given as depreciation may be defined as the permanent and continuous diminution in the quality, quantity or value of an asset. Also, depreciation is diminution in the intrinsic value of asset due to use and/or the lapse of the time. This is according to ICMA Terminology. In simple words, depreciation can be defined as a permanent, continuing and gradual shrinkage in the book value of a fixed asset.

From the above definitions it is clear that depreciation is the gradual, continuing and permanent fall in the value of fixed assets. The main causes for this fall in value are wear and tear of assets accidents, passage of time, obsolescence, inadequacies, and depletion etc. even in the recent edition of English language dictionaries the word “depreciation” has been described as “decline in the value of an asset due to such causes as wear and tear, action of elements, obsolescence and inadequacy.” Although these traditional views are under pressure because of the recognition of the changes in the value of naira and replacement costs, (Development of inflation accounting and replacement value technique) even then they have their historical significances.


Following are the main causes of depreciation:

1. Physical deterioration

2. Economic factors

3. Time factor

4. Depletion

Physical deterioration: It is caused mainly from wear and tear when the asset is in use and from erosion, rust, rot and decay from being exposed to wind, rain, sun and other elements of nature (Okoye, 1997).

Economic factors: These may be said to be those that cause the asset to be put out of the use even though it is in good physical condition. These arise due to obsolescence and inadequacy. Obsolescence means the process of becoming obsolete or out of date. Old machinery in good physical conditions may be rendered obsolete by the introduction of new model which produce more than the old machinery. Inadequacy refers to the termination of the use of an asset because of growth and changes in the size of the firm. But obsolescence and inadequacy do not necessarily mean that the asset is scrapped. It is merely put out of use by firm. Another firm will often buy it (Jennings, 1990).

Time factor: There are certain assets with a fixed period of legal life such as lease, patents and copyrights. For instance, a lease can be entered into for any period while a patent’s legal life is for some years but on certain grounds this can be extended. Provision for the consumption of these assets is called amortization rather than depreciation (Adekunle, 2000).

Depletion: Some assets are of wasting characters perhaps due to extraction of raw materials from them. These materials are then either used by the firm to make something else or are sold in their raw state to other firms. Natural resources such as mines, quarries and oil wells come under this heading. To provide for the consumption of an asset of a wasting character is called provision for depletion (Igben, 1999).



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