# Accounting equation

Page written by AI. Reviewed internally on July 12, 2024.

### Definition

The accounting equation, also known as the balance sheet equation, is a concept in accounting that forms the basis for recording financial transactions.

### What is accounting equation?

Accounting equation illustrates the relationship between a company’s assets, liabilities, and owner’s equity at any given point.

To calculate accounting equation, use the following formula:

Assets = liabilities + owner’s equity

The equation must always balance, meaning that the total value of the company’s assets must equal the total of its liabilities plus owner’s equity. This principle reflects the accounting principle of double-entry bookkeeping.

The accounting equation is the foundation of financial accounting and is used to prepare the balance sheet, which is one of the three main financial statements that provide a snapshot of a company’s financial health at a given time.

##### Limitations of accounting equation

The accounting equation has several limitations. It provides a snapshot of a company’s financial position at a specific point in time but does not offer insights into the company’s operational efficiency, profitability, or cash flow. It also does not account for the qualitative aspects of a business, such as management quality or market conditions.

The equation relies on historical cost for asset valuation, which may not reflect current market values. Additionally, it does not capture intangible assets like intellectual property or brand value accurately. Lastly, it can be affected by accounting policies and practices, potentially reducing its comparability across different companies and time periods.

##### Expanded accounting equation

The expanded accounting equation provides a more detailed view of a company’s financial position by breaking down equity into its components. It is expressed as:

Asset = Liabilities + Owner’s capital + Revenue – Expenses – Owner’s draws

This equation extends the basic accounting equation by including the impacts of revenues, expenses, and owner withdrawals (draws) on equity. Revenues increase equity, while expenses and draws decrease it. The expanded equation offers a comprehensive look at how a company’s operations and owner activities affect its overall financial health. It is particularly useful for understanding the detailed changes in equity over time and for tracking the sources and uses of funds within a business.

### Example of accounting equation

Let’s say a business, ABC Corporation, starts its operations. At the beginning, the company’s financial position can be represented by the following transactions:

ABC Corporation takes out a loan of £30,000 from a bank.

The accounting equation is in balance: £70,000 = £30,000 + £40,000