How to record the purchase of a capital asset between start dates

This article explains how to record the purchase of a capital asset that was bought between your company start date and your FreeAgent start date

Initial entry

The capital asset would be entered as part of your opening balances. Please note that capital assets that are entered as opening balances will not appear in the Capital Assets report in FreeAgent.

It's also likely to have some depreciation brought forward.

You need to put the original cost of all the assets your business bought between these two dates as a debit balance into code 601, using the sub-accounts for the different kinds of capital assets you might have. You can add new ‘Capital Asset types’ by following the steps outlined in this article. The depreciation that's built up so far on all those assets should be entered into the sub-accounts of code 605 ‘Depreciation Brought Forward’ as credit balances.

On-going depreciation

Each year you'd need to work out the depreciation on this asset, because FreeAgent can't do this for you automatically for assets that you bought before your FreeAgent start date. Your accountant, if you have one, should be able to help you with this.

You'd then create journal entries for the depreciation, debit code 460 Depreciation Charge, credit code 606 Depreciation in Year. Use the sub-account under code 606 depending on what kind of an asset this is. For example, if it's a computer, you'd create the depreciation credit entry to code 606-1.

I'd suggest you create these entries on the anniversary of the day you bought the asset.

Do this each year until the asset is fully depreciated, that is, until you've created as much in depreciation for that asset as the asset originally cost.


Let's make it easier by crunching some numbers.

Mary is a self-employed web designer. Her company start date is 1st January 2020 and her FreeAgent start date is 5th April 2021.

She bought a new Mac for her business on 1st May 2020. It cost her £1,500 + VAT.

Mary's accountant tells her to depreciate this computer at £500 a year, to spread its value to the business over 3 years. So on 1st May 2020 Mary will enter depreciation of £500 into her old accounts system.

As part of the opening balances Mary puts into FreeAgent as at 5th April 2021, she will have:

601-1 Computer Equipment Brought Forward: Debit £1,500

605-1 Computer Equipment Depreciation Brought Forward: Credit £500

Mary will create journal entries dated 1st May 2021 to enter the next year's depreciation of £500, debit 460, credit 606-1. This takes the total depreciation posted for that asset to £1,000 (£500 in the opening balances, £500 by journal entry).

She will then create an identical set of journal entries dated 1st May 2022.

Once she's created that set, she has posted £1,500 worth of depreciation, which was as much as the asset cost.

So she won't create any more journal entries to depreciate that asset.


Notice that Mary always uses sub-account 1 for her entries for this asset. This is because this sub-account is for computer equipment. If Mary were making entries for a filing cabinet, she would use sub-account 2, for a car it would be 3, and so on.

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