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The Impact of Depreciation: Unveiling the Hidden Costs on a Company’s Financial Statements

Depreciation: Understanding its Impact on Operating and Non-operating ExpensesDepreciation is a concept that plays a crucial role in financial accounting. Whether a company owns tangible assets like buildings and machinery or intangible assets like copyrights and patents, depreciation is an accounting method used to allocate the cost of these assets over their useful life.

In this article, we will delve into the two different types of depreciation and explore how they affect operating and non-operating expenses. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of how depreciation impacts a company’s financial statements.

1) Depreciation and Operating Expenses:

1.1) What is Depreciation? Depreciation is the gradual reduction in the value of an asset over time.

It represents the wear and tear, obsolescence, or any other factor that may diminish an asset’s value. 1.1.1) Depreciation Methods:

There are various depreciation methods, such as straight-line depreciation, declining balance depreciation, and units of production depreciation.

Each method follows a specific logic when allocating the cost of an asset over its useful life. 1.1.2) Straight-Line Depreciation:

Straight-line depreciation is the simplest and most commonly used method.

It evenly spreads the cost of an asset over its useful life. For example, if a computer costs $1,000 and has a useful life of five years, the annual depreciation expense would be $200 ($1,000 divided by five).

1.1.3) Impact on Operating Expenses:

Depreciation is considered an operating expense because it directly affects a company’s operational activities. By deducting the depreciation expense from revenues, a company can determine its operating income, which reflects its core business profitability.

1.2) Depreciation and Non-operating Expenses:

1.2.1) Non-operating Expenses:

Non-operating expenses are expenses incurred by a company that are not directly related to its regular business operations. These expenses, including interest, taxes, and depreciation, can impact a company’s net income, but not its operating income.

1.2.2) Depreciation as a Non-operating Expense:

While depreciation affects a company’s financial statements, it is classified as a non-operating expense because it does not directly impact its core business operations. Instead, it reflects the wear and tear of assets used to generate revenue.

1.2.3) Impact on Net Income:

By deducting depreciation along with other non-operating expenses from operating income, a company can determine its net income. It is important to note that non-operating expenses, including depreciation, do not affect a company’s taxable income.

2) Assets: Differentiating Operating Activities from Peripheral Activities:

2.1) What are Assets? Assets are economic resources owned or controlled by a company that have future economic value.

They can be tangible, like buildings and equipment, or intangible, like patents and trademarks. 2.1.1) Operating Activities:

Operating activities are the primary activities a company engages in to generate revenue.

They involve the core business operations and typically use tangible assets. For example, a manufacturing company’s operating activities include production and sales.

2.2) Peripheral Activities:

Peripheral activities are secondary or supportive to a company’s primary business operations. Companies may engage in peripheral activities to support their core business or explore new opportunities.

These activities often use intangible assets, such as trademarks. 2.2.1) Assets in Peripheral Activities:

While peripheral activities do not drive a company’s revenue, they still require the use of assets.

For instance, a manufacturing company may have a division responsible for research and development, which utilizes intangible assets like patents. These assets contribute to peripheral activities.


Depreciation is a fundamental concept in financial accounting, and understanding its impact on operating and non-operating expenses is crucial for comprehending a company’s financial statements. By distinguishing between operating and peripheral activities, companies can accurately allocate depreciation expenses to each category.

This knowledge allows businesses to evaluate their operational efficiency, assess the value of their assets, and make informed financial decisions. Depreciation: Examples of its Impact on Operating Expenses and Understanding the Income Statement

3) Examples of Depreciation and its Impact on Operating Expenses:

3.1) Various Examples of Depreciation:

Depreciation can be observed in multiple industries and can have a significant impact on a company’s operating expenses.

Let’s explore a few examples to better understand how depreciation functions in different sectors:

3.1.1) Manufacturing Sector:

In the manufacturing sector, heavy machinery and equipment are essential for production. These assets are subject to depreciation over their useful life.

For instance, a company may purchase a large manufacturing machine for $100,000, with an estimated useful life of 10 years. Using the straight-line method, the annual depreciation expense would be $10,000 ($100,000 divided by 10).

This depreciation expense is then recognized as an operating expense on the income statement. 3.1.2) Real Estate Sector:

In the real estate sector, buildings are significant assets that gradually depreciate over time.

Let’s consider an office building purchased for $5,000,000, with an estimated useful life of 30 years. Utilizing the straight-line method, the annual depreciation expense for the building would be $166,667 ($5,000,000 divided by 30).

This expense is recognized as an operating expense, affecting the company’s profitability. 3.1.3) Software Industry:

In the software industry, companies often invest in developing or acquiring software programs, which can be considered intangible assets.

However, these assets still depreciate. Suppose a company acquires a software program for $1,000,000, with an estimated useful life of five years.

Using the straight-line method, the annual depreciation expense would be $200,000 ($1,000,000 divided by five). This depreciation expense reduces the company’s operating income.

3.2) Understanding the Income Statement and its Relationship with Operating Expenses:

3.2.1) What is an Income Statement? An income statement, also known as a profit and loss statement, is a financial statement that summarizes a company’s revenues, expenses, and ultimately its net income over a specific period.

3.2.2) Breakdown of Operating Expenses:

Operating expenses are costs incurred during regular business activities and are crucial components of the income statement. They include expenses such as salaries, rent, utilities, and depreciation.

3.2.3) Depreciation’s Impact on Operating Expenses in the Income Statement:

Depreciation directly affects a company’s operating expenses and, consequently, its net income. When recording depreciation expense in the income statement, it is subtracted from revenues to calculate the operating income.

This deduction illustrates the utilization and reduction in value of assets used in the company’s operational activities. 3.2.4) Significance of Operating Expenses in Relation to Net Income:

Operating expenses significantly impact a company’s net income.

By subtracting operating expenses, including depreciation, from the operating income, a company can determine its net income. It is important to note that operating expenses provide a more accurate representation of a company’s ongoing profitability, as they exclude non-operating expenses and income.

3.2.5) Operating Income Margin:

The operating income margin is a profitability ratio that evaluates a company’s operating efficiency and its ability to control costs. It is calculated by dividing the operating income by the total revenue and multiplying by 100.

The higher the operating income margin, the more efficient the company is at generating profits from its core operations. Depreciation is a cost included in operating expenses, and understanding its impact on the operating income margin can help assess a company’s profitability.


Depreciation’s impact on a company’s financial statements is evident through the examples provided in various sectors. By recognizing and accounting for depreciation as an operating expense, companies can accurately reflect the wear and tear of their tangible and intangible assets.

This understanding is essential when analyzing income statements and calculating critical financial ratios, such as the operating income margin, to assess a company’s operational efficiency and profitability. In conclusion, depreciation plays a significant role in a company’s financial statements, specifically in its operating and non-operating expenses.

Through examples from sectors such as manufacturing, real estate, and software, we have seen how depreciation affects operating expenses, reducing a company’s profitability. Additionally, understanding the income statement and its relationship with operating expenses allows for a better assessment of a company’s operational efficiency.

By accurately accounting for depreciation and its impact on the operating income margin, businesses can make informed financial decisions. Remember, depreciation serves as a reminder of the wear and tear on assets and the importance of evaluating their value.

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