Accounting Equation: Definition and Formula with Example

Accounting Equation: Definition and Formula with Example


In a double-entry accounting system, every transaction affects at least two accounts. For example, if a company buys a $1,000 piece of equipment on credit, that $1,000 is an increase in liabilities but also an increase in assets. The reason why the accounting equation is so important is that it is alwaystrue – and it forms the basis for all accounting transactions in a double entry system. At a general level, this means that whenever there is a recordable transaction, the choices for recording it all involve keeping the accounting equation in balance. The accounting equation concept is built into all accounting software packages, so that all transactions that do not meet the requirements of the equation are automatically rejected. Although the balance sheet always balances out, the accounting equation can’t tell investors how well a company is performing. For a company keeping accurate accounts, every business transaction will be represented in at least two of its accounts.

What Are the 3 Elements of the Accounting Equation?

The three elements of the accounting equation are assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity. The formula is straightforward: A company’s total assets are equal to its liabilities plus its shareholders’ equity. The double-entry bookkeeping system, which has been adopted globally, is designed to accurately reflect a company’s total assets.

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”). The accounting equation is essential since it enables an assessment of the accuracy of recording business transactions carried on by the individual or the company in all relevant books and accounts.

accounting equation

Shanti purchases the laptop with a credit card, and the clerk finalizes the sale. Figure 5 shows the impact of the sale on the accounting equation.

  • Explain the conventional accounting concept of depreciation accounting.
  • These two decreases occur on different sides of the Balance sheet, maintaining the balance.
  • Liabilities are considered to be anything that is a claim against the company’s assets, such as payments or debts that the company owes.
  • The difference between the assets and the owner’s investment in the business is what the firm owes to its lenders and others.
  • The accounting equation is the basic concept of accounting on which the double-entry system is based.

Add the $10,000 startup from the first example to the $500 sales equity in example three. Add the total equity to the $2,000 liabilities from example two. AssetsAmountLiabilitiesAmountCash$9,000Service Revenue$14,000Furniture A/C$5,000Total$14,000Total$14,000It is seen that the total credit amount equals the total debt amount. It is fundamental to the double-entry bookkeeping system of accounting, which helps us understand from the illustration above that total assets should be equal to total liabilities. The accounting equation relies on a double-entry accounting system.

Balance in accounting

Changes in assets and liabilities caneitherincrease or decrease the value of the organization depending on the net result of the transaction. The equation summarizes one result of using making double-entry debits and credits correctly. The balance sheet equation answers important financial questions for your business. Use the balance sheet equation when setting your budget or when making financial decisions. Under the double-entry accounting system, each recorded financial transaction results in adjustments to a minimum of two different accounts. Liabilities are claims on the company assets by other companies or people.

These are the resources that the company has to use in the future like cash, accounts receivable, equipment, and land. This article gives a definition of accounting equation and explains double-entry bookkeeping. We show formulas for how to calculate it as a basic accounting equation and an expanded accounting equation. This provides valuable information to creditors or banks that might be considering a loan application or investment in the company.

What Are the 3 Elements of the Accounting Equation?

Real estate, though, is less liquid — selling for is time-consuming and sometimes difficult, depending on the market. This transaction affects both sides of the accounting equation; both the left and right sides of the equation increase by +$250. If you have just started using the software, you may have entered beginning balances for the various accounts that do not balance under the accounting equation. The accounting software should flag this problem when you are entering the beginning balances, and require you to correct the problem. Double entry is an accounting term stating that every financial transaction has equal and opposite effects in at least two different accounts. Shareholders’ equity is the total value of the company expressed in dollars.


The accounting equation is a simple but very important concept in accounts to move forward with other concepts and to understand them better. A correct accounting equation can simplify a lot of things, and an accounting equation approach properly taken paves the way for other transactions. The accounting equation is more of a measure to maintain the transactions’ mathematical and recording accuracy. The investors cannot trust the equation only for the actual impact of the transactions. They have to consider other things to understand them better and then invest in the company.

Income Statement Explained

They prove that the financial statements balance and the double-entry accounting system works. The company’s assets are equal to the sum of its liabilities and equity.

  • In terms of results, in double-entry accounting both sides of the accounting equation are required to balance out at all times.
  • Buildings, machinery, and land are all considered long-term assets.
  • To help you better understand how the accounting equation works, here is a quick example of how the equation can be used.
  • If you finance invoices worth $1,300, your assets increase by $1,300.
  • Consider the following accounting equation example of Rosé Ltd.
  • The remainder is the shareholders’ equity, which would be returned to them.

You must have heard that are formed based on a double-entry system, i.e. whenever a transaction takes place, if one account gets debited, the other gets credited. And that is exactly what forms the basis for the accounting equation, also known as the balance sheet equation or basic accounting equation. You will notice that stockholder’s equity increases with common stock issuance and revenues, and decreases from dividend payouts and expenses. Stockholder’s equity is reported on the balance sheet in the form of contributed capital and retained earnings. So, now you know how to use the accounting formula and what it does for your books. The accounting equation is important because it can give you a clear picture of your business’s financial situation. It is the standard for financial reporting, and it is the basis for double-entry accounting.

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