Recently I’ve been watching my accountant wife work out depreciation for various assets. The process is pretty old fashioned, she would need to look up the asset in a big printed book (or online PDF form) and then do some calculations to work out the prime value or the diminishing value of the asset. The tables are broken up into categories, so if you know the particular category name you can then navigate to the asset. But if you don’t know the category then you end up doing quite a bit of searching.
The ideal process would be to search for the asset on your phone and then even do the calculation once you’ve found the asset. So I took the ATO document and parsed out all the relevant information. It’s possible to work out the prime and diminishing values from the effective life of the asset. Then I moved all of this data into a nice little SQL Lite database and built some features over the top of it such as browsing history and favorites. The ATO also provide a simple calculator that builds up a depreciation report, so I’ve also added the ability to generate a report similar to this, which also supports exporting as a PDF.
The Australian Tax Depreciation Helper is now available in the app store. Hopefully it saves accountants some time in looking up the depreciation rates of assets.