Investor's wiki

Accounting Equation

Accounting Equation

What Is the Accounting Equation?

The accounting equation states that a company's total assets are equivalent to the sum of its liabilities and its shareholders' equity.

This clear relationship between assets, liabilities, and equity is viewed as the foundation of the [double-entry](/twofold entry) accounting system. The accounting equation guarantees that the balance sheet stays balanced. That is, every entry made on the debit side has a relating entry (or coverage) on the credit side.

The accounting equation is additionally called the essential accounting equation or the balance sheet equation.

Grasping the Accounting Equation

The financial position of any business, large or small, depends on two key parts of the balance sheet: assets and liabilities. Proprietors' equity, or shareholders' equity, is the third section of the balance sheet.

The accounting equation is a representation of how these three important parts are associated with one another.

Assets address the important resources controlled by the company, while liabilities address its obligations. The two liabilities and shareholders' equity address how the assets of a company are financed. On the off chance that it's financed through debt, it'll show as a liability, however assuming it's financed through giving equity shares to investors, it'll show in shareholders' equity.

The accounting equation assists with surveying whether the business transactions carried out by the company are accurately reflected in its books and accounts. Below are instances of things listed on the balance sheet.


Assets incorporate cash and cash equivalents or fluid assets, which might incorporate Treasury bills and declarations of deposit.

Accounts receivables list the amounts of money owed to the company by its customers for the sale of its products. Inventory is additionally viewed as an asset.

The major and frequently largest value asset of most companies be that company's machinery, structures, and property. These are fixed assets that are generally held for a long time.


Liabilities are debts that a company owes and costs that it needs to pay to keep the company running.

Debt is a liability, whether it is a long-term loan or a bill that is due to be paid.

Costs incorporate rent, taxes, utilities, salaries, wages, and dividends payable.

Shareholders' Equity

The shareholders' equity number is a company's total assets minus its total liabilities.

All it very well may be defined as the total number of dollars that a company would have left on the off chance that it liquidated its assets and paid off its all liabilities. This would then be distributed to the shareholders.

Retained earnings are part of shareholders' equity. This number is the sum of total earnings that were not paid to shareholders as dividends.

Think of retained earnings as savings, since it addresses the total profits that have been saved and put to the side (or "retained") for sometime later.

Accounting Equation Formula and Calculation

Assets=(Liabilities+Owner’s Equity)\text=(\text+\text{Owner's Equity})
The balance sheet holds the components that add to the accounting equation:

  1. Find the company's total assets on the balance sheet for the period.
  2. Total all liabilities, which ought to be a separate listing on the balance sheet.
  3. Find total shareholder's equity and add the number to total liabilities.
  4. Total assets will rise to the sum of liabilities and total equity.

For instance, say the leading retailer XYZ Corporation reported the accompanying on its balance sheet for its most recent full fiscal year:

  • Total assets: $170 billion
  • Total liabilities: $120 billion
  • Total shareholders' equity: $50 billion

Assuming that we compute the right-hand side of the accounting equation (equity + liabilities), we show up at ($50 billion + $120 billion) = $170 billion, which matches the value of the assets reported by the company.

About the Double-Entry System

The accounting equation is a brief articulation of the complex, expanded, and multi-thing display of a balance sheet.

Essentially, the representation compares all purposes of capital (assets) to all sources of capital, where debt capital prompts liabilities and equity capital prompts shareholders' equity.

For a company keeping accurate accounts, each business transaction will be addressed in no less than two of its accounts. For example, in the event that a business takes a loan from a bank, the borrowed money will be reflected in its balance sheet as both an increase in the company's assets and an increase in its loan liability.

On the off chance that a business purchases raw materials and pays in cash, it will bring about an increase in the company's inventory (an asset) while diminishing cash capital (another asset). Since there are at least two accounts impacted by each transaction carried out by a company, the accounting system is alluded to as twofold entry accounting.

The twofold entry practice guarantees that the accounting equation generally stays balanced, implying that the left side value of the equation will constantly match the right side value.

As such, the total amount, everything being equal, will continuously approach the sum of liabilities and shareholders' equity.

The global adherence to the twofold entry accounting system makes the account keeping and counting processes more normalized and more idiot proof.

The accounting equation guarantees that all passages in the books and records are checked, and an evident relationship exists between every liability (or expense) and its comparing source; or between every thing of income (or asset) and its source.

Limits of the Accounting Equation

Albeit the balance sheet generally balances out, the accounting equation can't let investors know how well a company is performing. Investors must decipher the numbers and choose for themselves whether the company has too numerous or too couple of liabilities, insufficient assets, or maybe too numerous assets, or whether its financing is adequate to guarantee its long-term growth.

Genuine Example

Below is a portion of Exxon Mobil Corporation's (XOM) balance sheet in millions as of Dec. 31, 2019:

  • Total assets were $362,597
  • Total liabilities were $163,659
  • Total equity was $198,938

The accounting equation is calculated as follows:

  • Accounting equation = $163,659 (total liabilities) + $198,938 (equity) equals $362,597, (which equals the total assets for the period)


  • The accounting equation is viewed as the foundation of the twofold entry accounting system.
  • The accounting equation shows on a company's balance that a company's total assets are equivalent to the sum of the company's liabilities and shareholders' equity.
  • Financing through debt shows as a liability, while financing through giving equity shares shows up in shareholders' equity.
  • Assets address the important resources controlled by the company. The liabilities address their obligations.
  • The two liabilities and shareholders' equity address how the assets of a company are financed.


What Is a Liability in the Accounting Equation?

A company's liabilities incorporate each debt it has incurred. These may incorporate loans, accounts payable, mortgages, deferred incomes, bond issues, guarantees, and accrued expenses.

What Are the 3 Elements of the Accounting Equation?

The three components of the accounting equation are assets, liabilities, and shareholders' equity. The formula is direct: A company's total assets are equivalent to its liabilities plus its shareholders' equity. The twofold entry bookkeeping system, which has been adopted globally, is intended to mirror a company's total assets accurately.

What Is an Asset in the Accounting Equation?

A asset is anything with economic value that a company controls that can be utilized to benefit the business now or later on. They incorporate fixed assets like machinery and structures. They might incorporate financial assets, like investments in stocks and bonds. They additionally might be immaterial assets like licenses, brand names, and goodwill.

Why Is the Accounting Equation Important?

The accounting equation catches the relationship between the three parts of a balance sheet: assets, liabilities, and equity. All else being equivalent, a company's equity will increase when its assets increase, as well as the other way around. Adding liabilities will diminish equity while lessening liabilities — like by paying off debt — will increase equity. These fundamental concepts are essential to modern accounting methods.

What Is Shareholders' Equity in the Accounting Equation?

Shareholders' equity is the total value of the company communicated in dollars. All put another way, the amount would remain assuming that the company liquidated its assets and paid off its all debts. The remainder is the shareholders' equity, which would be returned to them.