DB – Declining Balance Depreciation in Google Sheets

The fixed declining balance depreciation method is one of the techniques used to depreciate an asset more quickly during the beginning of its life than the end. Unlike under the straight-line method, the depreciation expense is not the same for every period. Instead, the depreciation expense declines in each successive period like its name.

See a table comparing the different depreciation amounts using all of the methods.

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To return the value of one period of declining balance depreciation expense.



  • cost – This is the asset’s acquisition cost, including the purchase price and costs associated with its acquisition, such as freight and sales tax.
  • salvage – Amount you expect to receive in exchange for the asset at the end of its useful life. This formula will not work with a zero in this field.
  • life – The length of time you expect the asset to be in service given in many periods
  • period – The period for which you are calculating depreciation expense.
  • [month] – OPTIONAL. The number of months in the first year of depreciation if it is not a full year.
  • Note: Be sure that life and period are in the same units (months or years). Only use the [month] option if use months for the period and life.


DB formula


Example 1 – Simple Purchase

You purchase an automobile for $40,000 that you expect to last three years and trade in for $4,000.

2$40,000costacquisition cost
3$4,000salvagemoney back at the end of its life
43lifenumber of periods for the useful life
51periodwhich period the expense is for
=DB(A2,A3,A4,A5)Depreciation expense for the first period$21,440
=DB(A2,A3,A4,2)Depreciation expense for the second period$9,948
=DB(A2,A3,A4,3)Depreciation expense for the final period$4,616

Notice that the three results add up to 36,004 instead of 36,000. Although this difference would be immaterial to a financial statement user, it could cause problems for bookkeepers trying to balance the accounts.

Example 2 – Salvage Value

You purchase a laptop computer for €3,000. You expect the laptop to last 36 months and be worth €150 at the end of the three years.

=DB(3000,150,36,11)Depreciation expense for month 11€104

Live Example in Sheets

Go to this spreadsheet for a live version of the DB function that you can study and use anywhere you would like.

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