SYNOPSIS

Traditional depreciation methods used by financial accounting as well as the capacity-based depreciation method recommended by managerial accounting literature assume that assets either lose value due to obsolescence or wear and tear. Recognizing that many assets lose value due to both obsolescence and use, Balakrishnan, Sivaramakrishnan, and Sunder, in the September 2004 issue of Accounting Horizons, propose a granularity framework that creates a nonlinear allocation by simultaneously considering an asset's use-based and time-based losses. However, their approach over-allocates and assigns all resource costs to periods before its usefulness has expired. We introduce several adjustments to the Balakrishnan et al. (2004) methodology with the notion of “flexibility value” and a partitioning of the cost of the acquired resources into a time-based and use-based component that avoids any over-allocation of resource costs. This approach also permits a further partitioning of those expired costs into costs that should be allocated to production or products and costs that should be allocated to periods as cost of unused or idle capacity—that is, to produce more accurate product costs for pricing and planning purposes. Finally, we offer a real-world example for partitioning a resource's acquisition cost into a use-based component and a time-based component.

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