16.4. Short or Long-term Assets

This section explains why some types of assets may be short or long-term and presents an example.

An example is deposits (e.g., utility, rental, security). If the deposit agreement contains a provision to recover the deposit at the end of a year, the treatment could be that of a short-term asset. However, when the agreement is that the deposit holder returns the funds only upon successful inspection at the end of the relationship, then at the start of the relationship or agreement, the person paying the deposit has to decide whether to write it off as a current expense or to track it for eventual recovery at the end of the agreement (not infrequently, moving to a new location).

Whichever decision is made, the accounting treatment is to debit (increase) expense (assuming the write-off decision) or debit (increase) Deposits Receivable (assuming the intent is to recover the deposit in the future) and credit (decrease) Bank for the amount of the deposit (if paid by cash) or credit (increase) credit card if paid using that payment method.