# What Is the Accounting Equation, and How Do You Calculate It?

A debit refers to an increase in an asset or a decrease in a liability or shareholders’ equity. A credit in contrast refers to a decrease in an asset or an increase in a liability or shareholders’ equity. If a company’s assets were hypothetically liquidated (i.e. the difference between assets and liabilities), the remaining value is the shareholders’ equity account. On the balance sheet, the assets side represents a company’s resources with positive economic utility, while the liabilities and shareholders equity side reflects the funding sources. For a company keeping accurate accounts, every business transaction will be represented in at least two of its accounts. For instance, if 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.

The fundamental components of the accounting equation include the calculation of both company holdings and company debts; thus, it allows owners to gauge the total value of a firm’s assets. In this form, it is easier to highlight the relationship between shareholder’s equity and debt (liabilities). As you can see, shareholder’s equity is the remainder after liabilities have been subtracted from assets. This is because creditors โ parties that lend money such as banks โ have the first claim to a company’s assets. The fundamental accounting equation, as mentioned earlier, states that total assets are equal to the sum of the total liabilities and total shareholders equity. The accounting equation is based on the premise that the sum of a company’s assets is equal to its total liabilities and shareholders’ equity.

## Shareholders’ Equity

The Accounting Equation is a fundamental principle that states assets must equal the sum of liabilities and shareholders equity at all times. This equation sets the foundation of double-entry accounting, also known as double-entry bookkeeping, and highlights the structure of the balance sheet. Double-entry accounting is a system where every transaction affects at least two accounts. The accounting equation is a core principle in the double-entry bookkeeping system, wherein each transaction must affect at a bare minimum two of the three accounts, i.e. a debit and credit entry. However, due to the fact that accounting is kept on a historical basis, the equity is typically not the net worth of the organization. Often, a company may depreciate capital assets in 5โ7 years, meaning that the assets will show on the books as less than their “real” value, or what they would be worth on the secondary market.

Alternatively, an increase in an asset account can be matched by an equal decrease in another asset account. It is important to keep the accounting equation in mind when performing journal entries. The accounting equation states that a company’s assets must be equal to the sum of its liabilities and equity on the balance sheet, at all times. Since the balance sheet is founded on the principles of the accounting equation, this equation can also be said to be responsible for estimating the net worth of an entire company.

1. In other words, the total amount of all assets will always equal the sum of liabilities and shareholders’ equity.
2. This transaction affects both sides of the accounting equation; both the left and right sides of the equation increase by +\$250.
3. Each entry on the debit side must have a corresponding entry on the credit side (and vice versa), which ensures the accounting equation remains true.
4. The fundamental accounting equation, as mentioned earlier, states that total assets are equal to the sum of the total liabilities and total shareholders equity.
5. The accounting equation plays a significant role as the foundation of the double-entry bookkeeping system.
6. This straightforward relationship between assets, liabilities, and equity is considered to be the foundation of the double-entry accounting system.

These are some simple examples, but even the most complicated transactions can be recorded in a similar way. Although the balance sheet always balances out, the accounting equation can’t tell investors how well a company is performing. If a business buys raw materials and pays in cash, it will result in an increase in the company’s inventory (an asset) while reducing cash capital (another asset). Because there are two or more accounts affected by every transaction carried out by a company, the accounting system is referred to as double-entry accounting. The accounting equation sets the foundation of “double-entry” accounting, since it shows a company’s asset purchases and how they were financed (i.e. the off-setting entries).

## What Are the Three Elements of the Accounting Equation?

The accounting equation will always be “in balance”, meaning the left side (debit) of its balance sheet should always equal the right side (credit). This transaction affects only the assets of the equation; therefore there is no corresponding effect in liabilities or shareholder’s equity on the right side of the equation. For example, if a company becomes bankrupt, its assets are sold and these funds are used to settle its debts first. Only after debts are settled are shareholders entitled to any of the company’s assets to attempt to recover their investment.

Put another way, it is the amount that would remain if the company liquidated all of its assets and paid off all of its debts. These may include loans, accounts payable, mortgages, deferred revenues, bond issues, warranties, and accrued expenses. In other words, the total amount of all assets will always equal the sum of liabilities and shareholders’ equity. Essentially, the representation equates all uses of capital (assets) to all sources of capital, where debt capital leads to liabilities and equity capital leads to shareholders’ equity. Each entry on the debit side must have a corresponding entry on the credit side (and vice versa), which ensures the accounting equation remains true. Under the double-entry accounting system, each recorded financial transaction results in adjustments to a minimum of two different accounts.

Regardless of how the accounting equation is represented, it is important to remember that the equation must always balance. Take your learning and productivity to the next level with our Premium Templates. Access and download collection of free Templates to help power your productivity and performance.

## Company worth

As a core concept in modern accounting, this provides the basis for keeping a company’s books balanced across a given accounting cycle. The balance sheet is one of the three main financial statements that depicts a company’s assets, liabilities, and equity sections at a specific point in time (i.e. a “snapshot”). A company’s quarterly and annual reports are basically derived directly from the accounting equations used in bookkeeping practices. These equations, entered in a business’s general ledger, will provide the material that eventually makes up the foundation of a business’s financial statements. This straightforward relationship between assets, liabilities, and equity is considered to be the foundation of the double-entry accounting system. That is, each entry made on the debit side has a corresponding entry (or coverage) on the credit side.

## What is the Accounting Equation?

For all recorded transactions, if the total debits and credits for a transaction are equal, then the result is that the company’s assets are equal to the sum of its liabilities and equity. The accounting equation plays a significant role as the foundation of the double-entry bookkeeping system. It is used to transfer totals from books of prime entry into the nominal ledger. Every transaction is recorded twice so that the debit is balanced by a credit. For example, an increase in an asset account can be matched by an equal increase to a related liability or shareholder’s equity account such that the accounting equation stays in balance.

Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets. Simply put, the rationale is that the assets belonging to a company must have been funded somehow, i.e. the money used to purchase the assets did not just appear out of thin air to state the obvious. Think of retained earnings as savings, since it represents the total profits that have been saved and put aside (or “retained”) for future use. The major and often largest value assets of most companies are that company’s machinery, buildings, and property. Assets include cash and cash equivalents or liquid assets, which may include Treasury bills and certificates of deposit. Our popular accounting course is designed for those with no accounting background or those seeking a refresher.

## Liabilities

A company’s “uses” of capital (i.e. the purchase of its assets) should be equivalent to its “sources” of capital (i.e. debt, equity). The double-entry practice ensures that the accounting equation always remains balanced, meaning that the left side value of the equation will always match the right side value. It can be defined as the total number of dollars that a company would have left if it liquidated all of its assets and paid off all of its liabilities. The shareholders’ equity number is a company’s total assets minus its total liabilities. The accounting equation is also called the basic accounting equation or the balance sheet equation. This transaction affects both sides of the accounting equation; both the left and right sides of the equation increase by +\$250.