Looking at my balance sheet that my accountant prepared, and he has listed the depreciation of my property as follows

    Non Current Liabilities 
    Accum Dep'n Property       20000

I don't understand I always thought dep'n is on the Asset side of the balance sheet and deducted from the asset is depreciates?

  • 2
    Typically it's viewed as a contra-asset, with a credit balance.
    – Hart CO
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 4:13
  • 1
    Did you ask your accountant? For a business it's found on the asset side (so "net" assets is the starting value minus depreciation). I'd expect the same on a personal balance sheet, but your accountant may have a reason for doing it that way.
    – D Stanley
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 13:26
  • What do you use a 'personal balance sheet'? More importantly, why are you paying an accountant to create one for you? If you don't know what he's telling you, and you don't know why he's preparing it... you might want to just cut this accountant out of your life and go to one who only prepares services you need / understand. Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 17:26
  • This question fits the Accounting topic perfectly. @Peter will you take a look at the Accounting proposal in Area 51? area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/113560/…
    – Jacob
    Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 3:24

1 Answer 1


Depreciation is typically a contra-asset (an asset with a credit balance used to reduce net asset amounts) account on the balance sheet.

A decent example is a building:

  Building                                    200,000
    Accumulated Depreciation - Building       (30,000)
  Net Building                                170,000

As the asset is depreciated, the book value of the asset is calculated as a net of the historical cost and the depreciation accumulated/expensed over the life of the asset. When referring to an asset, you typically refer to its net value (net of asset and depreciation). In our example, I'd say that my building asset is 170,000 in my books.

To your issue: Depreciation is not a liability. Liabilities are (to put it simply) things we owe. Depreciation is a contra-asset and will be listed under the balance sheet as an asset with a negative (or credit) balance.

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