Understanding the true cost of borrowing: What is amortization, and why does it matter?


A fixed repayment schedule is set during which the duration and break-up of loan repayment is clearly stated. Along with this schedule, the loan amount, interest rate, and payment distribution is provided. Amortization is the process of reducing the estimated or nominal value of either an intangible asset, in case of an enterprise, or a loan, in case of an individual. This is done with the use of an amortization schedule, which is a structured payment method such as an Equated Monthly Instalment . In other words, it means spreading out the value of an intangible asset over its lifetime. This is also applicable to loans whose book value reduces over the years through fixed and varied interest rates. Looking at amortization is helpful if you want to understand how borrowing works.

  • Though assets generate value, they also incur maintenance costs.
  • When a company acquires an asset, that asset may have a long useful life.
  • However, since intangible assets are usually do not have any residual value, the full amount of the asset is typically amortized.
  • Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines.
  • With these payment types, you either receive your principal and interest upon your investment’s maturity, or you can earn monthly interest and receive your principal only upon maturity.

So, instead of the outstanding principal balance decreasing, it is increased by the unpaid interest instead. Lenders do not want negative amortization and will likely consider the borrower in default if it persists. After 15 months, $15,000 of principal will have been paid and $345,000 of principal will therefore remain. Calculating the amortization amount of any loan or asset (i.e., the amount of principal paid in any given time period) depends on the amortization method being used. There are different techniques for calculating amortization and depreciation and there is guidance for the industry in section FAS 142 of generally accepted accounting principles .

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https://personal-accounting.org/ and tax rules provide guidance to accountants on how to account for the depreciation of the assets over time. As shown, the total payment for each period remains consistent at $1,113.27 while the interest payment decreases and the principal payment increases. For example, a company often must often treat depreciation and amortization as non-cash transactions when preparing their statement of cash flow. Without this level of consideration, a company may find it more difficult to plan for capital expenditures that may require upfront capital. Amortization is the practice of spreading an intangible asset’s cost over that asset’s useful life.

What is Amortization?

The term “amortization” may refer to two completely different financial processes: amortization of intangibles in business, and amortization of loans.

Once a debt is amortized by equal payments at equal intervals, the debt becomes an annuity’s discounted value. But, the important point is amortization expenses must be carried out to gain clarity over expenses. Once you subtract the expenses and discounts from your revenue, you get the net revenue. Including amortization in the expenses list will reduce the net revenue. At the same time, any accumulated amortization is added to the credit side of the journal.

What Is Negative Amortization?

With the above information, use the amortization expense formula to find the journal entry amount. Learn accounting fundamentals and how to read financial statements with CFI’s free online accounting classes. Is determined by dividing the asset’s initial cost by its useful life, or the amount of time it is reasonable to consider the asset useful before needing to be replaced. So, if the forklift’s useful life is deemed to be ten years, it would depreciate $3,000 in value every year. In other words, the depreciated amount expensed in each year is a tax deduction for the company until the useful life of the asset has expired.


In the final month, only $1.66 is paid in interest, because the outstanding loan balance at that point is very minimal compared with the starting loan balance. Initially, most of your payment goes toward the interest rather than the principal. Lenders typically require a borrower to repay part of the principal with each loan payment to reduce their repayment risk. For smaller loans, like car loans, it makes the loan easier to pay off early by reducing principal from the beginning. This structure is especially beneficial to borrowers if they make extra payments directly to the principal early in the life of the loan. By making early principal payments, the borrower can reduce future interest charges by effectively shortening the timeframe over which they will be paying off their loan. If you pay $1,000 of the principal every year, $1,000 of the loan has amortized each year.

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Calculating and maintaining supporting amortization schedules for both book and tax purposes can be complicated. Using accounting software to manage intangible asset inventory and perform these calculations will make the process simpler for your finance team and limit the potential for error. For tax purposes, there are even more specific rules governing the types of expenses that companies can capitalize and amortize as intangible assets, as we’ll discuss. Amortization is paying off a debt over time in equal installments.

  • Though the notes may contain the payment history, a company only needs to record its currently level of debt as opposed to the historical value less a contra asset.
  • The related tool for tangible assets, such as buildings or equipment, is depreciation.
  • By the last payment, the full $460 goes to paying off the principal.
  • Meanwhile, amortization often does not use this practice, and the same amount of expense is recognized whether the intangible asset is older or newer.

For example, a business may buy or build an office building, and use it for many years. The business then relocates to a newer, bigger building elsewhere. The original office building may be a bit rundown but it still has value. The cost of the building, minus its resale value, is spread out over the predicted life of the building, with a portion of the cost being expensed in each accounting year. Residual value is the estimated value of a fixed asset at the end of its lease term or useful life. A fixed asset is a long-term tangible asset that a firm owns and uses to produce income and is not expected to be used or sold within a year. The beginning loan balance is amount of debt owed at the beginning of the period.

On the other hand, depreciation entries always post to accumulated depreciation, a contra account that reduces the carrying value of capital assets. Of the different options mentioned above, a company often has the option of accelerating depreciation. This means more depreciation expense is recognized earlier in an asset’s useful life as that asset may be used heavier when it is newest.

With the information laid out in an What Is Amortization? table, it’s easy to evaluate different loan options. You can compare lenders, choose between a 15- or 30-year loan, or decide whether to refinance an existing loan. You can even calculate how much you’d save bypaying off debt early.

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Corporate LoansLearn all about raising capital with Percent asset-backed deals. This link takes you to an external website or app, which may have different privacy and security policies than U.S. We don’t own or control the products, services or content found there. The customary method for amortization is the straight-line method.

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