Relationship Between Assets, Liabilities, and Equity Explained

Assets, Liabilities, and Equity: Key Differences and Formula

In your accounting spreadsheet, the three biggest categories are assets, liabilities, and equity. All of the things your company possesses are its assets. What your company owes to its owners and other parties are its liabilities and equity. The main rule in accounting says that assets are equal to liabilities + equity, so you can keep your financial records straight.

Owners of businesses need to monitor three critical aspects of their company: Equity, liabilities, and assets. Sound accounting is based on knowing each sum and ensuring the figures add up correctly. It can even stop fraud and help with critical company decisions. In this blog, we will look into what assets are. It will also cover liabilities and equity differences and explain them clearly for everyone to understand easily!

Key Highlights 

  • The accounting rule says that assets must always match up with liabilities plus equity to keep your books even. But it's very important to know about assets, liabilities and equity. 

  • This is necessary if you need a business loan or line of credit. When getting a loan, make sure it won't hurt your business budget. 

  • Debts and owners' part in a company show how its stuff is paid for.

  • Getting money by borrowing is shown as a debt while giving out shares to own the company shows up on the shareholders' part.

What Are Assets, Liabilities, and Equity? 

Assets and liabilities determine the financial health of every organization, regardless of size. The third part of the balance sheet is called owners' equity, sometimes known as shareholders' shares.

The connections between these three important parts are shown in the accounting formula. A company's debt is called liabilities, and assets are the things it owns and manages that have value.

Liabilities and shareholder money show how a business pays for its things. If paid with debt, it will act as a responsibility, but if funded by giving shareowners parts of the company called stock, it shows in money that belongs to those who own shares.

The money balance sheet helps check if the company's books and accounts show its business actions correctly. Examples of things you can find on the balance sheet are given below.


Cash, cash equivalents, bank deposits, and short-term bonds can be converted into money fast. Assets include cash and cash equivalents. Customer payments for corporate products are recorded in accounts receivable. 

Another category of asset includes inventory. Most firms' property, buildings, and machinery are their primary and frequently most valuable assets. These are long-term fixed assets that are typically held.


A business's debts and costs are the money it owes to keep running smoothly. If it's a big loan we can't pay fast or money owed that has yet to be returned, debt is always something you owe. Costs include rent, taxes, utilities, and payments to employees or owners.

Equity of Shareholders 

A company's total worth minus all its debts equals the money shareholders put in. It is the total amount of money that a company would still have after paying all its debts and selling everything they own. The people who own parts of a company would then get this.

Part of the money owned by shareholders is called retained earnings. This number shows all the money made that wasn't given back to shareholders as dividends. Retained earnings are the total profits saved for future use, so consider their savings.

Examples of Assets, Liabilities and Equity

Let's take an example where the top retailer XYZ Corporation's balance statement for the most recent complete fiscal year showed the following:

  • $170 billion in total assets

  • Liabilities totaling $120 billion

  • A whopping $50 billion in shareholders' equity!

Assets = Liabilities + Equity. 

So, ($50 billion plus $120 billion) equals $170 billion. That matches the company's stated worth of assets.

Now, let's take another example in an actual business situation. In 2018, ABC Corporation reported $90 million in shareholder equity and had total assets of $150 million while owing a sum for liabilities amounting to the same. Having $150 million in assets and owing $60 million, the leftover money of about $90 million belongs to shareholders.

ABC Corporation's accounting equation: $60 million in debts + $90 million from shareowners = $150 million worth of assets. With this data, ABC Corporation can be sure that its deals are correctly written in its records.

What is the Formula to Calculate Assets, Liabilities, and Equity?

Here is the way to figure out assets, liabilities, and equity.

Assets = Liabilities + Equity

This rule shows that a company's total worth is the same as what its owners have (Equity) plus what it owes to others (liabilities). One of the three main money reports, a balance sheet, also uses this rule.

Cash, money owed by clients, items to sell, and land with buildings are some things a person owns. Long-term debt, taxes owed, and accounts payable are considered liabilities. Treasury stock, held-back money, and share ownership are some examples of equity.

The idea is that everything the company owns comes from someone. It could be an owner, like a person who buys stocks, or borrowers, like those getting loans from banks. Each company's dollar is ascribed to either an owner or a third party.

This implies that any item a company possesses is categorized as both an equity and an asset or a liability. Here are two instances:

  • A liability disguised as an asset: Ten dollars is all your company has, but you took it from George. The $10 is a liability (a loan you must repay) and an asset (cash).

  • An equity-based asset is: You purchased a $20 piece of equipment for your firm. The $20 represents equity (your right to someday reclaim your owner's equity) and an asset (equipment).

What happens if your company is profitable? Suppose your company makes $5 in profit, which you deposit into a bank account. That profit is both equity (company profit held for future use) and an asset (cash). The owners would each receive a portion of the stock if your company failed tomorrow.

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Key Difference between Assets, Liabilities and Equity

Discover the key differences between assets, liabilities, and equity below.

Assets: Your Financial Forte

Your precious resources that have the potential to provide future financial gains are your assets. These include many things, such as money, business shares, houses, and personal belongings. Cash in your bank, stocks, bonds, or houses are called assets. They make up the solid base of your money safety net. They boost your net worth and offer a solid basis for building long-term wealth.

Liabilities: Balancing Act of Debts

All your current money bills and debts like credit card balances, late payments, house loans, and car loans are considered problems. It's vital to know your debts. They tell us how much money we have to pay for our debts. This helps in figuring out our financial situation better. Managing liabilities well is critical to stabilize your finances and prevent overstretching yourself.

Equity: Unveiling Ownership and Value

Your money and things you owe are linked by equity, which is the part of your assets left after taking out what you owe. "Equity" means the parts of the property that people and firms own, like houses. When the money you owe is lower than what your assets are worth, your equity ratio is good. This shows that, financially, things are going well for you. Comprehending equity is essential for determining your actual financial value and security.

Simply put, your financial landscape is shaped by your assets, liabilities, and equity. Assets are your financial strength, liabilities are your financial commitments, and equity reveals ownership and value.

Final Words

So there you have it - assets, liabilities, and equity meaning and differences. Your business's health is greatly affected by equity, debts and things it owns. Before asking for a business loan or line of credit, check that your balance sheet is good. People who give money will review it to see if you can repay debt. To keep financial records even, your company's possessions should always add to its debts and owners' money.


How important is the accounting equation? 

Balance sheets include assets, liabilities, and equity. The accounting equation shows how these three components relate. If everything stays the same, a business's value will increase when its property increases and decreases if it reduces. Adding debts will lower assets while lessening them - like clearing debt - will raise equity. These central ideas are needed for modern ways of counting money.

What Are the Three Elements of the Accounting Equation?

The accounting equation has three parts - assets, debts, and money for shareowners. The formula is straightforward: A firm's total assets equal its debts plus what shareholders own. The bookkeeping system that uses two sides worldwide is made so a company's total assets are correct.

How do you identify assets, liabilities, and equity?

Assets show the things your business has, and they help make money. Debts or money owed to other people are called liabilities. Equity means the owner's share in a company. Usually, we should have the same amount in assets as liabilities plus equity.

  • Assets. Anything that you can assign a dollar value to and increases the worth of your business.

  • Liabilities. The money your company owes to other people or groups.

  • Equity. The leftover money that the owners are owed.

How do you calculate equity, liabilities, and assets?

A balance sheet can be created by taking the sum of your liabilities and equity (assets = liabilities + equity). At first, using a spreadsheet for each category can help you watch these significant numbers closely. Using accounting software and hiring a bookkeeper or accountant could be beneficial as you expand.

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04 Jan, 2024


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