I was looking into company investment data and was doing some ratio calculation when I stumbled upon 4 Terms "Total Assets", "Current Assets", "Total Liabilities", "Current Liabilities". My instinct tells me that Total Assets should always be > than Current Assets.
However when I went to msn.money 10-Year-Historic data I have found 2 columns named Current Assets and Current Liabilities that are BIGGER when Total Current Assets and Total Current Liabilities for same year same company in msn.money Balance-Sheet page. Which can only mean one thing - I don't understand what Total Assets and Current Assets actually mean.

What is the difference between them and how can Total Assets be less when Current Assets?

2 Answers 2


Did you notice these headings under "Total Non-Current Assets" (These would be the difference between Total Current Assets and Total Assets to my mind as Assets are either current or non-current):

Net Property,Plant,and Equipment

Gross Property,Plant,and Equipment

Accumulated Depreciation

Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets


Other Intangible Assets

Investments and Advances

Notes Receivable,Non-Current

Derivative Assets,Non-Current

The Depreciation being one that is negative that could cause the sum of "Total Assets" to be less than "Total Current Assets."

From Investopedia:

Definition of 'Accumulated Depreciation'

The cumulative depreciation of an asset up to a single point in its life. Regardless of the method used to calculate it, the depreciation of an asset during a single period is added to the previous period's accumulated depreciation to get the current accumulated depreciation.

An asset's carrying value on the balance sheet is the difference between its purchase price and accumulated depreciation.

Investopedia explains 'Accumulated Depreciation'

A company buys an asset for $5,000 that has a five-year lifespan and zero salvage value. The company uses straight-line depreciation, and the asset depreciates at a rate of $1,000 per year.

In year one, depreciation will be $1,000, as will accumulated depreciation, and carrying value of the asset will be $4,000.

In year two, depreciation will be $1,000, accumulated depreciation will be $2,000 ($1,000 from the current year + $1,000 accumulated from previous years) and carrying value will be $3,000.

Each subsequent year will follow the same process.

  • Hello JB, Could you please expand on how Deprecation could make total assets be less than current assets. I am not trying to be a smart-ass, I am really trying to learn something. BTW Why did you picked headings on Total Non-Current Assets? Sorry if I sound like a moron I just recently got into investments. Jul 26, 2014 at 14:23

The 10-Year Summary is mislabeled.

They previously displayed the data for current assets & liabilities, but it appears as if they now show data for total assets & liabilities but haven't changed the label.

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