What Is An Accounting Equation, And How Do You Calculate It?

Wajiha Danish | March 17 2023

1. What is Accounting Equation?

The Accounting Equation is a fundamental principle in accounting that represents the relationship between a company’s assets, liabilities, and Equity.

The accounting equation formula is Assets = Liabilities + Equity, which means that the total assets of a company must always equal the sum of its liabilities and Equity.

Accounting contact us

2. What are Specific Names for Equity on the Balance Sheet?

There are several specific names for Equity on the balance sheet, including:


Assets are resources owned by a company that has monetary value and can be used to generate revenue.

A few examples of assets include accounts receivable, inventory, property, cash, plant, equipment, and more.


Liabilities are duties that a company owes to others, such as suppliers or lenders. Liabilities can be short-term, such as accounts payable, or long-term, such as loans or bonds payable.


Equity represents the residual interest in a company’s assets after deducting liabilities. Equity includes contributions from shareholders or owners, retained earnings, and other comprehensive income.

Common stock

It represents the ownership stake in a company held by its common shareholders.

Preferred stock

This represents the ownership stake in a company held by its preferred shareholders, who typically have priority over common shareholders in terms of receiving dividends and in the event of liquidation.

Additional paid-in capital

Represents the amount that shareholders have paid over the par value of a company’s shares.

Retained earnings

Represents the portion of a company’s earnings that have been retained rather than paid out as dividends.

Treasury stock

Represents shares of a company’s stock that have been repurchased and are being held by the company, often to reissue later or for other corporate purposes.

3. What is Double-Entry Accounting (Bookkeeping)?

Double-entry accounting (bookkeeping) is a system of recording financial transactions that involve recording both a debit and a credit entry for each transaction. This system ensures that the accounting equation remains balanced and provides a clear and accurate picture of a company’s financial position.

4. What is the Expanded Accounting Equation?

The expanded accounting equation is a more detailed version of the basic accounting equation (Assets = Liabilities + Equity) that considers all the Equity components.

If you ask what an accounting equation is, the answer would be quite simple:

Assets = Liabilities + Equity (Beginning Capital + Revenues – Expenses – Dividends).

5. How Does the Accounting Equation Differ from the Working Capital Formula?

The accounting equation (Assets = Liabilities + Equity) is a fundamental equation in accounting that represents the relationship between a company’s assets, liabilities, and Equity. In contrast, the working capital formula calculates a company’s short-term liquidity by subtracting current liabilities from current assets. While both equations provide important insights into a company’s financial position, the accounting equation focuses on the long-term financial health of a company. At the same time, the working capital formula is more concerned with a company’s ability to meet its short-term financial obligations.

6. Importance of Accounting Equation

The accounting equation is a fundamental concept in accounting that represents the relationship between assets, liabilities, and Equity. The accounting equation formula is:

Assets = Liabilities + Equity

This equation is essential in accounting because it is the foundation for financial reporting and analysis. Here are some reasons why the accounting equation is important:

Balance sheet preparation

The accounting equation forms the basis of the balance sheet, a financial statement showing the company’s assets, liabilities, and Equity at a specific time. The balance sheet is essential for investors, creditors, and other stakeholders to understand a company’s financial position.

Business decisions

The accounting equation helps make important business decisions, such as whether to take on debt or issue Equity. It also helps determine these decisions’ financial impact on the company’s assets, liabilities, and Equity.

Financial analysis

It is a tool for financial analysis, and it helps in evaluating a company’s financial performance. For example, if a company’s assets are increasing while its liabilities and Equity remain the same, it suggests that the company is growing and generating more value for its shareholders.


The accounting equation is used in compliance with accounting standards and regulations. It ensures that financial statements are prepared in a standardized and consistent manner.

7. What are the delimitations of the accounting equation?

While the Accounting Equation is a useful tool for understanding a company’s financial position, it does have some limitations, including:

Non-monetary assets are not accounted for

The Accounting Equation only accounts for monetary assets and liabilities and does not consider non-monetary assets such as goodwill, patents, or trademarks. This can limit the accuracy of a company’s financial statements.

Historical cost principle

The Accounting Equation is based on the historical cost principle, which means that assets are recorded at their original purchase cost. This can lead to discrepancies between the reported value of assets and their current market value.

Omission of time factor

The Accounting Equation does not consider the time factor, meaning that it does not account for changes in value over time. This can be a limitation in financial analysis and forecasting.

Limited scope

The Accounting Equation only focuses on a company’s financial position at a specific time. It does not consider other factors, such as a company’s operations or ability to generate cash flow.

Does not consider all stakeholders

The Accounting Equation only considers the interests of shareholders and does not consider the interests of other stakeholders such as employees, customers, and suppliers.


Overall, while the Accounting Equation is a useful tool for understanding a company’s financial position, it has its limitations and should be used with other financial analysis techniques to gain a complete picture of its financial health.

Read Also: Accounting 101 for Small Business Owners

bookkeeping contact us

Author Bio

Wajiha is a Brampton-based CPA, CGA, and Controller with 17+ years of experience in the financial services industry. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Applied Accounting from Oxford Brookes University and is a Chartered Certified Accountant. Wajiha spearheads Monily as its Director and is a leader who excels in helping teams achieve excellence. She talks about business financial health, innovative accounting, and all things finances.