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Accounting Equation: Definition, Formula and Examples

Sakshi Jain
Sakshi Jain at March 07, 2023

What is the Accounting Equation?

Accounting equation is a formulation that represents the sum of a company’s total liabilities and shareholders’ equity is identical to its total assets (Assets = Liabilities + Equity). The exact association between a company’s liabilities, assets, and equity is the backbone of double-entry bookkeeping.

Like different equations, if two periods of the basic accounting equation are understood, you can solve for the third duration. For representative, Total Assets – Total Liabilities = Total Equity, or Whole Assets – Whole Equity = Accumulative Liabilities. You drag a term from the right side to the left side of the accounting equation by employing a minus sign.

The picture of an organization's accounting equation numerals is its balance sheet. Equity present in the company balance sheet can be Shareholders’ Equity, Stockholders’ Equity, or Owner’s Equity. Words meaning the exact Balance Sheet are Statement of Financial Position or Statement of Financial Reporting.

Why is the Accounting Equation Important?

The cause why the accounting equation is so significant is that it is invariably true - and it creates the basis for all accounting transactions in a double-entry system. At a broad level, this implies that whenever there is a recordable transaction, the options for documenting it all involve maintaining the accounting equation in balance. The accounting equation concept is created into all accounting software packages so that all transactions that do not satisfy the provisions of the equations are automatically abandoned.

So, now you understand how to utilize the accounting formula and what it does for your statements. But why is it crucial for your bookkeeping? The accounting equation is necessary because it can give you a clear picture of your business’s financial situation. It is ideal for financial reporting, and it is the foundation for double-entry accounting. Without the balance sheet equation, you cannot accurately understand your balance sheet or understand your financial statements. 
Your accounting equation enables you to respond to queries like:

  • Do you have adequate assets to buy more equipment or a new office area?
  • Should you take out a company loan (raise both liabilities and assets) to make investments for your business?
  • Do you have adequate revenue (assets) to settle down your liabilities? 

The balance sheet equation replies to essential financial questions for your business. Utilize the balance sheet equation when developing your budget or while making financial decisions. 

Accounting Equations Rules

The accounting equation contains two fundamental equations and a substance to accrual accounting and a double-entry accounting system.

The observing is two basic rules of accounting equation that differentiate the accrual system of accounting from cash cause accounting, and the single-entry system from the double-entry system:

  • The foremost among them is the basic accounting equation which is composed of Assets = Liabilities + Equities.
  • The second one is known as an ‘Expanded Accounting Equation’ which is a mixture of the basic equation and secondary equation i.e. Debit = Credit.

It emanates its quality only from the accrual system of accounting and thereby, it does not involve a cash-based, single-entry accounting system.

What Is the Double-Entry Accounting System?

The accounting equation depends on a double-entry accounting procedure. In a double-entry accounting system, every transaction involves at least two transactions. For illustration, if a corporation buys a $1,000 piece of tools on credit, that $1,000 is an expansion in liabilities (the corporation must pay it back) it is also an increase in assets. 

These two flanks of a transaction are debit (DR) and the other one is credit (CR). So, carrying out a corporation loan will increase liabilities (credit) but furthermore increase spending power and assets (debit). Contrarily, reducing liabilities, possibly by paying off a loan or trading property, will have a positive and negative effect on assets: the lost asset is deducted but the increased spending capacity is a positive asset transformation. 


Comprehending the Accounting Equation

The financial role of any corporation, large or small, is based on two fundamental components of the balance sheet: assets and liabilities. Owners’ equity, or shareholders' equity, is the third phase of the balance sheet.

The accounting equation is an expression of how these three essential factors are associated with each other. Assets convey the beneficial resources owned by the company, while liabilities convey their responsibilities. Accordingly, both liabilities and shareholders' equity illustrate how a company's assets are financed in the market. If it's financed via debt, it'll display as a liability, but if it's financed via issuing equity shares to investors, it'll display in shareholders' equity.

The accounting equation enables us to evaluate whether the business transactions carried out by the company are fairly reflected in the books and accounts. Below are illustrations of items recorded on the balance sheet.


Assets include cash and cash equivalents or liquid assets, which may include Treasury bills and certifications of deposit. Accounts receivables list the amount of money owed by customers to the company for selling the company products. Inventory has furthermore been deemed an asset. The significant and often most important asset of the companies is the company's machinery, buildings, and property. These are fixed assets that are typically held for many years.


Liabilities are debts incurred by a business and the expenses it has to deliver to maintain its business. Debt is a liability, whether it's a long-term loan or a bill to pay. Expenses include rent, taxes, utilities, wages, salaries, and dividends payable.

Shareholders' Equity

Shareholder equity is a company's total assets minus its total liabilities. It can be characterized as the total number of dollars a company will have left if it liquidates all of its assets and pays off all of its debts. This will then be allocated to the shareholders.

Retained earnings are the portion of shareholders' equity and this digit is the sum of total earnings that were unpaid profits to shareholders as dividends. Consider retained earnings as conserving, since it symbolizes the total profits that have been reserved and set aside (or "retained") for future use.

Accounting Equation Formula and Calculation

Assets=(Liabilities+Owner’s Equity)Assets=(Liabilities+Owner’s Equity)

The balance sheet carries the factors that contribute to the accounting equation:

  1. Discover the company's complete assets on the balance sheet for the term.
  2. Sum up all liabilities, which should be a different listing on the balance sheet.
  3. Discover the entire shareholder's equity and add the numeral to the total liabilities.
  4. Total assets will equal the aggregate of liabilities and complete equity.

How Does the Accounting Equation Contradict the Working Capital Formula?

The accounting equation utilizes total assets, total liabilities, and total equity in the computation. This procedure varies from working capital, established on current assets and current liabilities.

Working capital estimates liquidity. The working capital formulation is Current Assets – Current Liabilities. 

Current assets possess cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable, stock, and prepaid assets. 

Current liabilities are short-term monetary debts owed in cash within a year. Current liabilities contain accounts payable, accrued expenditures, and the short-term amount of the obligation. 

Working capital demonstrates whether a business will maintain the amount of money required to settle its bills and other debts when due.

What is the objective of the accounting equation?

To comprehend the objective of the accounting equation, it’s first helpful to take a closer countenance at double-entry accounting. At the core of this is the balance sheet, which offers a balance of total assets, total liabilities, and shareholder equity.
The accounting equation provides that all usages of capital (assets) stay equal to all sources of capital (debt and equity).

Double-entry accounting needs every company transaction to be marked in at least two financial accounts. For instance, if a corporation purchases raw materials using cash, it would rather mark this in the inventory accounts. The raw materials would be an asset, directing to an expansion in stock. The transaction should also be marked as a decrease in capital due to the spending of cash. In double-entry bookkeeping, this single transaction requires two postings. Likewise, Even if a company takes out a business loan, the borrowed money will lead to an addition in assets. At the exact time, this raises the organization’s liability in the form of debt. As you can see from the illustrations above, double-entry accounting possesses balanced books.

This is where the conception of the accounting equation arrives. The two flanks of the equation must constantly add up to the equivalent value. Assets must equal the aggregate of equity and liabilities.

Making this an international standard will make it easier for multinational businesses to maintain track of their accounts. It’s likewise valuable on a lower level by preserving all transactions in balance, with a verifiable connection between each expenditure and its source of financing.

Limitations of the Accounting Equation

Although the balance sheet consistently balances out, the accounting equation can't suggest to investors how sufficiently a company is performing. Investors must analyze the numbers and determine for themselves that the corporation has too many or too few liabilities, not adequate assets, or possibly too many assets, or whether its financing is acceptable to guarantee its long-term growth.

Accounting Equation Examples

To comprehend the above hypothesis of accounting equation system and accurate accounting equation better, let us take some functional accounting equation illustrations:

  • Purchased furniture with cash

When this transaction occurs, furniture (an asset) is added, and cash (an asset) is decreasing. This simultaneous debit and credit of assets have a nil net effect, and the accounting equation stays balanced.

  • Purchased furniture with cash and credit

In this transaction, furniture (an asset is added), cash (an asset) decreases, but credit (a liability) is added. Even after the concurrent debit and credit, the accounting equation stays balanced

  • Introduced capital in the business

In this transaction, with capital (the right side of the equation) being boosted in the business, cash (an asset) is measured, which gets the consequence of the accounting equation being completely balanced.

Real-World Example

Downward is a piece of Exxon Mobil Company balance sheet in millions as of Dec. 31, 2022:

  • Total assets were Rs. 362,597
  • Total liabilities were Rs. 163,659
  • Total equity was Rs. 198,9381

The accounting equation is computed as follows:

Accounting equation = Rs. 163,659 (total liabilities) + Rs. 198,938 (equity) equals Rs. 362,597, (which matched the total assets for the term).


The Accounting Equation is a vigorous formula to comprehend and consider when it comes to the financial health of your business. The accounting equation is an element in nearly every characteristic of your business accounting. The accounting equation displays the company’s valuable resources describing its obligations in the form of liabilities. It thus enables shareholders to determine the company’s worth and establish the connection between them. Nevertheless, it may not offer investors the appropriate learning of the company’s future, which may hinder further investment. It even furnishes insights into the growing trend, which can help stakeholders make sound business and economic conclusions.

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