Sum of Years Digit Method of Depreciation

Sum of Years Depreciation (SYD) is a popular method of accelerated depreciation. Accelerated depreciation is any method which allows more deduction in the earlier years of the asset & gradually decreases in later years. This method  is based on the assumption that the productivity of the asset decreases with the passage of time.

Sum of Years Digit method is more suitable for those assets which may become obsolete very soon due to technological advancements, for example:- computers, Automobiles etc.


This method takes the asset’s expected life and adds together the digits for each year; so if the asset was expected to last for five years, the sum of the years’ digits would be obtained by adding: 5 + 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 to get a total of 15. Each digit is then divided by this sum to determine the percentage by which the asset should be depreciated each year, starting with the highest number in year 1.


The following formula is used to calculate depreciation under this method :-


Depreciation expense =
(Remaining useful life of the asset)/(Sum of the years digit) X Depreciable cost


Example of sum of years digit method of Depreciation

Let us understand this method with the help of an example –

Purchase price of asset = Rs 1,60,000

Useful life of the asset = 5 years

Salvage Value = Rs 10,000

This means that the total amount of Rs 1,50,000 will be spread over its useful life of 5 years.

Here, the sum of the years digits will be = 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5= 15







1 1,50,000 5 5/15 50,000 1,00,000
2 1,50,000 4 4/15 40,000 60,000
3 1,50,000 3 3/15 30,000 30,000
4 1,50,000 2 2/15 20,000 10,000
5 1,50,000 1 1/15 10,000
        Rs 1,50,000  


***Amount of depreciation is calculated as – 1,50,000 X 5/15 = Rs 50,000 & so on.

As the remaining life of the machine decreases, the depreciation expense also decreases.


  1. This method provides tax benefits since more depreciation expense is charged in initial years which means the company will have lower reportable net income, thus decreasing the tax expense .
  2. This method reflects the difference in usage of different assets from one period to the other more accurately as compared to other methods.
  3. This method better matches costs to revenues because it takes more depreciation in the early years of an assets’ useful life compared to the straight line depreciation method.


Thus, the sum of years digits method is an accelerated depreciation method that can be used to depreciate the value of the asset over the useful life of the asset.

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