Accounting Equation Assets, Liabilities, Owners Equity

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liabilities +

In that case, you can subtract the equity from assets to determine that the liabilities must total $2 million. In this way, the accounting equation offers a simple standard for retaining balance. When this transaction takes place, furniture is added, and cash is reduced. This simultaneous debit and credit of assets have a zero net effect, and the accounting equation remains balanced. Eventually that debt must be repaid by performing the service, fulfilling the subscription, or providing an asset such as merchandise or cash.

Coming to the accounting equation, if you have a basic idea of assets, liabilities, shareholders equity, double-entry, and simple plus and minus, you are good to go. Just keep adding or removing items as per the transactions in this simple equation and keep it balanced at all times to know that you are going well. Another component of stockholder’s equity is company earnings. These retained earnings are what the company holds onto at the end of a period to reinvest in the business, after any distributions to ownership occur. Stated more technically, retained earnings are a company’s cumulative earnings since the creation of the company minus any dividends that it has declared or paid since its creation. One tricky point to remember is that retained earnings are not classified as assets.

Accounting equation is also called balance sheet equation and fundamental accounting equation. In addition, the accounting equation only provides the underlying structure for how a balance sheet is devised. Any user of a balance sheet must then evaluate the resulting information to decide whether a business is sufficiently liquid and is being operated in a fiscally sound manner. However, due to the fact that accounting is kept on a historical basis, the equity is typically not the net worth of the organization.


Most companies maintain the accounting equation using a double-entry bookkeeping system to record financial data. Under this system, a change in one account must be matched in another account. These changes are made by debits and credits and for every entry, the sum of debits must equal the sum of credits. On a sheet of paper, use three columns to create your own accounting equation for your personal assets, liabilities, and expenses.

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They include items such as land, buildings, equipment, and accounts receivable. It is the key to ensuring that each transaction which reflects a debit will always have its corresponding entry on the credit side. The Accounting Equation states that assets equals the total of liabilities and equity.


For instance, if you ran a lumber company and had 70,000 lbs. Of lumber sitting in a warehouse, that would be considered an asset. Assets also include non-physical holdings, such as prepaid insurance and investments.

Accounting Equation: Assets = Liabilities + Equity

Three parts of accounting equation are the assets, liabilities, and equity. More precisely, a company uses assets to generate revenue; this is everything that the company owns. Liabilities and equity represent the means of acquiring and owning the assets.

  • The accounting equation shows how a company’s assets, liabilities, and equity are related and how a change in one typically results in a change to another.
  • Equity includes any money that has been invested into the company by shareholders as well as retained earnings which have not yet been paid to shareholders as dividends.
  • First, it can sell shares of its stock to the public to raise money to purchase the assets, or it can use profits earned by the business to finance its activities.
  • This decreases the inventory account and creates a cost of goods sold expense that appears as a decrease in the income account.
  • Under this system, a change in one account must be matched in another account.

This is because creditors – parties that lend money such as banks – have the first claim to a company’s assets. Accountants and members of a company’s financial team are the primary users of the accounting equation. Understanding how to use the formula is a crucial skill for accountants because it is a quick way to check that transactions are recorded correctly. These may include loans, accounts payable, mortgages, deferred revenues, bond issues, warranties, and accrued expenses. The accounting equation is also called the basic accounting equation or the balance sheet equation. These three elements of the accounting equation are what constitute a balance sheet.

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Let’s now take a look at the right side of the accounting equation. The accounting equation is the first concept you need to master to build on this skill set. Per the image below, the accounting equation states that the value of a company’s assets is equal to the sum of the company’s liabilities and equity. When the cash is spent, reducing the assets column to zero, a new asset account for the computer is created to record the dollar amount paid for the laptop. Again, because Shanti doesn’t owe another party at the end of the transaction (because she didn’t make any additional contribution), the balance of the owner’s equity account remains the same.

debit and credit

This equation provides a snapshot of a company’s financial position at a given moment in time. By tracking how the equation changes over time, businesses can see whether they are increasing or decreasing in value. The accounting equation is similar to the format of the balance sheet. At this point, let’s consider another example and see how various transactions affect the amounts of the elements in the accounting equation.

Introduction to Business

These are fixed assets that are usually held for many years. Accounts receivableslist the amounts of money owed to the company by its customers for the sale of its products. For an interesting discussion on the history of accounting click here.

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Unearned from the money you have yet to receive for services or products that you have not yet delivered is considered a liability. Get instant access to video lessons taught by experienced investment bankers. Learn financial statement modeling, DCF, M&A, LBO, Comps and Excel shortcuts.

1 Defining the Accounting Equation Components

Owner’s equity is the amount of money that a company owner has personally invested in the company. The residual value of assets is also what an owner can claim after all the liabilities are paid off if the company has to shut down. The basic accounting equation is very useful in analyzing transactions with the global practice of double entry in bookkeeping and ledger organization. For a more detailed analysis of the shareholder’s equity, an expanded accounting formula may also be used. This expansion of the equity section allows a company to see the impact to equity from changes to revenues and expenses, and to owner investments and payouts. It is important to have more detail in this equity category to understand the effect on financial statements from period to period.

When she’s not writing, Barbara likes to research public companies and play social games including Texas hold ‘em poker, bridge, and Mah Jongg. Working forensic accounting defined indicates whether a company will have the amount of money needed to pay its bills and other obligations when due. The net assets part of this equation is comprised of unrestricted and restricted net assets.

For this reason, you must implement proper bookkeeping and auditing practices. Liabilities are the existing obligations and debt that your company owes. This includes bank loans, accounts payable, wages payable, rent, utilities, and taxes.

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Unlike other long-term assets such as machinery, buildings, and equipment, land is not depreciated. The process to calculate the loss on land value could be very cumbersome, speculative, and unreliable; therefore, the treatment in accounting is for land tonotbe depreciated over time. Accounting equation is the general tool of accounting whioch measures resources and claims on the resources of the business.