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Amortization: The process of spreading out the cost of an intangible asset, such as a patent or trademark, over its useful life.

Amortization is a process used in accounting to spread out the cost of an intangible asset over its useful life. Intangible assets are non-physical assets that lack a physical substance, such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, goodwill, and intellectual property rights. Unlike tangible assets, such as machinery or buildings, intangible assets do not have a specific useful life and are not depreciated like physical assets.

The process of amortization involves dividing the total cost of the intangible asset by its estimated useful life, resulting in an annual amortization expense. This expense is then recorded on the company's income statement over the asset's useful life. By doing so, the cost of the asset is allocated over its useful life, reflecting its gradual consumption or use over time.

For example, if a company pays $10,000 for a patent with a useful life of 10 years, the annual amortization expense would be $1,000 ($10,000 divided by 10 years). The $1,000 would then be recorded as an expense on the company's income statement each year over the patent's useful life.

Amortization serves as a way to accurately account for the use of intangible assets over their useful lives. It also provides a means for matching the costs of an intangible asset with the revenues it generates. This helps companies to better evaluate the profitability of their operations and make informed decisions about future investments.

In addition, amortization is also used to reduce the carrying value of an intangible asset over time. This means that as the asset is consumed or used up, its value on the balance sheet decreases. The reduction in the carrying value of the asset is reflected as an expense on the company's income statement.

Overall, the process of amortization helps companies to accurately account for the use and value of intangible assets over time, and provides useful information for financial analysis and decision-making.