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What You Need to Know about Asset Retirement Obligation (ARO)

When running an Ecommerce business in Australia, it’s not enough to simply focus on providing excellent customer service and promoting what you offer. You also need to be knowledgeable about the technicalities of accounting and bookkeeping, including Asset Retirement Obligation (ARO).

What Is Asset Retirement Obligation?

Asset Retirement Obligation (ARO) refers to a legal obligation related to the eventual retirement of tangible assets. It comes into action at the termination of your office’s lease, making you responsible for returning it to its original condition.This includes getting rid of equipment or cleaning up hazardous materials.

This legal requirement is applicable to any businesses that need to set up infrastructure on a leased property, demanding that they demolish any erected configuration before the end of the lease. For this reason, it is primarily used by companies dealing with power plants, mining operations, nuclear plants, and oil drilling. It’s an egress that must be a part of the business’s financial statements so an accurate view of the company’s overall value can be seen.

How Is ARO Calculated?

ARO is incurred when a tangible and long-term asset is installed in a leased site but has to be removed in the future. Once the construction begins for this infrastructure, Ecommerce accountants create a discounted liability on the balance sheet. Over time, this liability increases to match the estimated obligation at the end of the asset’s life term.

Determining the fair value as quickly as possible must be prioritised for the sake of the stakeholders. Calculating ARO is done by checking the fair value of the incurred liability. If the fair value of the liability is not identified immediately, it has to be confirmed as soon as the fair value is available.

A risk-free interest rate is used for computing the liability annually and adjusted for the effect of the company’s credit holding. In addition, the rise in the liability is considered as an accretion expense on the profit and loss statement. This expense is calculated by multiplying liability with the risk-free rate.

During assessments, the alterations in the estimated costs are adjusted. The long-term asset on the balance sheet also gets depreciated. Finally, these values are included in the profit and loss statement.

How Do Accountants Handle ARO?

Once you hire an accountant to help you deal with ARO, this liability will be accounted for at the time of the site’s construction or the acquisition of the infrastructure. This will also be accounted for at the current value of the estimated asset retirement or remediation costs.

To illustrate, a business that requires fuel for production has to build fuel tanks on its leased site. These infrastructures should be dismantled at the time of the end of the property lease. The costs incurred for restoring the property at the end of the lease period is managed by this legal obligation.


ARO incentivises business owners and investors to be aware of the costs related to removing assets and restoring the original appearance of their leased property. Since calculating for this obligation can be complicated, it is best to seek help from accountants for Ecommerce to ensure compliance with the accounting standards. With years of experience, these professionals are skilled and knowledgeable to help you recognise the fair value of your ARO on your balance sheets.

If you need the expertise of accountants for your Ecommerce business, we are here to help. At The Ecommerce Accountant, we help you have peace of mind knowing you are staying on top of all your tax obligations. Contact us now to book a free strategy session!

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