What is the Accounting Equation? Formula and Examples
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the accounting equation may be expressed as

This means that revenues exceeded expenses for the period, thus increasing retained earnings. If a business has net loss for the period, this decreases retained earnings for the period. This means that the expenses exceeded the revenues for the period, thus decreasing retained earnings.

What are the three basic elements of accounting equation?

  • Assets. A company's assets could include everything from cash to inventory.
  • Liabilities. The second component of the accounting equation is liabilities.
  • Equity.

A business transaction will result in the change in either of the assets, liabilities or capital of the firm and even after the change the assets will be again equal to the total of capital and liabilities. If a business transactions results in the increase of assets, there will also be a corresponding increase in the amount of either capital or liabilities by the same amount. Every transaction of a business, regardless of its complexity, has its effect on the accounting equation. A business transaction may bring a change in all or any of the components of the equation.

Not All Transactions Affect Equity

The shareholders’ equity number is a company’s total assets minus its total liabilities. The next activity should help you to understand the importance of both forms of the accounting equation. LiabilitiesLiabilities are the claims of others against the business. Like an asset, a liability may be changed from transactions of a business.

the accounting equation may be expressed as

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. This may be difficult to understand where these changes have occurred without revenue recognized individually in this expanded equation. The accounting equation is based on the principle that assets of a business should always be equal to the total outside liabilities and owner’s equity or capital.

Accounting Equation Formula and Calculation

A notes payable is similar to accounts payable in that the company owes money and has not yet paid. Some key differences are that the contract terms are usually longer than one accounting period, interest is included, and there is typically a more formalized contract that dictates the terms of the transaction. The accounting equation emphasizes a basic idea in business; that is, businesses need assets in order to operate. There are two ways a business can finance the purchase of assets. 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.

  • Debt, including long-term debt, is a liability that can be overwhelming for any company if not managed properly.
  • Recall that we defined equity as the net worth of an organization.
  • Finance Strategists is a leading financial literacy non-profit organization priding itself on providing accurate and reliable financial information to millions of readers each year.
  • 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.
  • If essential payments like these or utilities go unpaid for too long, they can become liabilities as well.
  • The Liabilities may be Long term Liabilities (payable within more than a year) or Short term Liabilities (payable within a year).

Therefore, the basic accounting equation helps businesses around the world create financial statements. Let’s learn more about what the basic accounting equation is, why it exists, and how to use it in the expanded accounting equation. A business can now use this equation to analyze transactions in more detail.


Responses should be able to evaluate the benefit of investing in college is the wage differential between earnings with and without a college degree. In the final activity of this section, you will need to apply your knowledge of the double-entry rules, the P&L https://www.vizaca.com/bookkeeping-for-startups-financial-planning-to-push-your-business/ account, the balance sheet and the accounting equation. The effect of this transaction on the accounting equation is the same as that of loss by fire that occurred on January 20. This transaction would reduce cash by $9,500 and accounts payable by $10,000.

the accounting equation may be expressed as