Five Types of Equity Accounts for Businesses of Any Sizes

In your business financial statement generated by your accountant, you may have noticed equity accounts on the balance sheet. Often seen as a statement of equity, equity accounts aren’t always easy to decode. To add to the confusion, the jargon for the types of equity accounts varies wildly. Equity accounts are the assets you have invested in your business, so you should understand and monitor them on your financial statement.

What is Equity?

Equity is a company's assets minus liabilities. Assuming that all assets have been sold and all debts have been paid off, the business's equity will be the amount returned to shareholders following the company's liquidation. For investors, equity is critical since it can influence the price of a company's stock, so the dividends and capital gains it will pay out could be a significant factor in whether or not to invest.

How to calculate equity?

Equity can be calculated using a simple formula. Equity = Total Assets - Total Liabilities

Balance sheet

The balance sheet is a fundamental financial statement in financial modeling and accounting. The balance sheet shows the company's overall assets and the financing methods used to acquire those assets, such as debt or equity.


The term "assets" refers to anything that a company owns. Even though they are in the company's ownership, this does not imply that they are the legal owners of those items.A company's assets might be either tangible or intangible. Property, inventory, and equipment are tangible assets, while patents, trademarks, copyrights, accounts receivable, and a company's reputation are intangible assets.


Everything the company owes to others, such as accounts payable and credit card debt, health insurance responsibility, or perks, are liabilities. These are the parts of the business you do not fully own; thus, you are obligated to pay someone else.

What factors are considered while calculating equity?

Liabilities are subtracted from assets to determine a company's overall equity. Financial statements such as a company's balance sheet are used to calculate this figure. Cash, marketable securities, accounts receivable, prepaid costs, inventory, fixed assets, goodwill, and other assets are the asset line items that must be aggregated for the computation. Accounts payable, accrued liabilities, short-term debt, unearned revenue, long-term debt, and other liabilities are grouped for the calculation. This computation should consider that all assets and liabilities are shown on the balance sheet.

Positive and Negative Equity

When a company has positive equity, it signifies that its assets' total value exceeds its liabilities' real value. If the company has negative equity, it means the company's liabilities exceed its assets.

Book Value and Market Value

Knowing and distinguishing between a company's book value and its market value is critical when figuring out its equity. In a liquidation, the distribution to all shareholders is equal to the book value of their equity. Book Value is seldom considered while valuing tech startups because they focus more on building intangible assets (e.g., product ideas, research, development, copyrights, patents) rather than tangible assets like real estate and equipment. The market value incorporates growth projections and is sometimes more important than the book value. Market value can be calculated by multiplying the current share price by the number of shares issued.

Five types of equity accounts

All equity accounts, apart from the treasury stock account, have natural credit balances. There are cases where a retained earnings account has a debit balance. In such a scenario, a business may have either been experiencing losses or has issued more dividends than availability through retained earnings. Corporations commonly use the following equity accounts. Let us understand each of them.

  • Common Stock
  • Preferred Stock
  • Retained Earnings
  • Treasury Stock
  • Additional Paid-In Capital

Common Stock

Common stock symbolizes a shareholder's interest in a company (also called common shares). This equity gives investors voting rights and a share of the company's profits. Common stock is valued by multiplying its par value by the number of shares in circulation. Par value refers to the value mentioned on the common stock certificate, a corporation’s organization, or operating documents. Common stockholders have a greater say in a company's future. There are various obligations that common stockholders have in a corporation, including board elections, officer appointments, auditor selections, determining dividend policies, and overall corporate governance. In theory, holders of common stock are supposed to have some say in how the firm is run. People who want financial involvement from a corporation should not invest in common stock. Shareholders in the common stock of a corporation get more money when the stock's value rises. After all other claims and debts have been settled, common shareholders of a dissolving business retain certain significant rights, such as limited liability protection from creditors. Common stocks split company ownership. For example, one share of common stock symbolizes a company's ownership. One share equals 1% ownership of a firm with 100 outstanding shares, which means the 1% owners can vote 1% at business meetings. Common stockholders can retain their ownership percentage preemptively. If a company wants to expand by issuing more shares, the 1% owner can buy more to keep his ownership before new investors do.

Preferred stock

For investors, preferred shares are those issued by corporations that pay a fixed dividend and have many common shareholders. A company's preferred stockholders will receive any outstanding debts owed to them if its operations are terminated. Preferred stock dividends are paid out first if dividends are suspended from distribution to stockholders. Firms can enhance preferred stockholder agreements to make them more attractive to shareholders and attract more investment. Preferred stock can be made more appealing by including convertibility and call provisions. Many investors find this an attractive option when preferred shares can be converted into common shares.Preferred investors, on the other hand, typically have no say in the company's operations and are not allowed to vote in the selection of officers or board members. Preferential stock dividends build up over time if not paid yearly, and investors that hold preferred dividends are guaranteed dividend payments.If your company is successful, you’ll likely never have to worry about liquidation preferences. But liquidation preferences will come into play if your startup runs out of business or sells for less than its valuation. These preferences pay out the investors first by mitigating their risk. The fine print determines the remaining amount to be distributed among you and your employees. Notably, common stocks and preferred stocks are two different concepts. The major difference is that equity classes represent partial ownership versus ownership combining the shareholder benefits of common stocks and consistent income payment of bonds. Explore our blog to learn more.

Retained earnings

The percentage of a company's profits held back for reinvestment rather than being given as dividends to shareholders is known as Retained Earnings. Typically, these funds are put toward purchasing fixed assets and working capital (also known as capital expenditures) or are earmarked to pay down debt obligations. Retained earnings = Beginning retained earnings + Net income or loss - Dividends. Suppose a business has $7,000 retained earnings at the start of a new accounting period. These are the profits that the business kept from the last accounting period. The company then has a net income of $5,000 and pays dividends totaling $2,000. This would be calculated as $7,000 + $5,000 - $2,000 = $10,000. In other words, the corporation has accumulated $10,000 in profits for this fiscal year's accounting.

Treasury stock

Treasury stock is often composed of a corporation's formerly issued shares of common stock purchased from the business's stockholders but not yet been retired from circulation by the company. The difference between the total number of shares issued and the total number of currently outstanding shares is the number of shares of treasury stock, also known as treasury shares. There is a possibility that the company's earnings per share will go up slightly due to the treasury shares, which will lead to a decrease in the total number of outstanding shares. For instance, consider a company that has a surplus of cash but can't think of any investments that would be appealing. Consequently, it concludes that it should buy 10,000 of the stockholders' existing 300,000 shares of common stock. At the current market price, each of the 10,000 shares is worth $40. The company's entry to record the purchase of these shares was a debit for $400,000 worth of Treasury Stock and a cash credit of $400,000.

Additional paid-in capital

An investor's additional paid-in capital (APIC) is the amount of money they pay in addition to the stock price. In other words, it's the difference in price between when a business buys a stock and when it sells it. To have an APIC, a shareholder must purchase stock directly from the corporation.Let's say a corporation has issued 1 million shares, and the par value of each share is $50. What happens next? In addition to the share's par value, investors must also pay a premium of $20 for each share, bringing the total cost of each share to $70. The sum of $50 million that is recorded as being received as capital from the issue is referred to as share capital or paid-in capital when the record of the capital is made. The additional sum of $20 million, regarded as additional paid-in capital, is then moved to the contributed surplus account. However, certain businesses choose to keep additional paid-in capital and contribute excess on separate lines in their financial accounts.The management of equity ought to be straightforward. To effectively manage your most valuable asset, what is necessary is a solution that encompasses the whole stack. After spending a lot of our time talking to business leaders, owners, founders, and influencers like CFOs and HR managers, you have identified a common pain point. All of these business leaders face difficulties in managing equity.There’s no apt way to access reliable information apart from hiring a specialist or paying a premium for personalized advice. To fulfill the unique business requirements, even the information on the internet falls short. This forced us to think: what if equity was made simpler, easy to issue, grant, and control? It would be valued by everyone involved and appreciated. With this in mind, we created trica equity. Explore how it can help you.

Also, Read - How trica equity’s tools helped Thoucentric strengthen the relationship with its employees.

Thoucentric’s capital generation journey was quite different from its peers. The company did not go through the private equity or venture capital route. Profits were capitalized, and the company's Retained Earnings were plowed back into the business. This led to Thoucentric’s capital generation. As the working capital needs grew, a round of raising equity through friends and family occurred. Once the Thoucentric Lab was set up, the company issued debentures to people within its known circles. The impact of this capital structure over time is neatly captured by trica equity’s Cap Table tool. This is an excellent example of how technology facilitates transparency and establishes trust.

What’s next?

As equity decisions can have long-term impacts on a company's operations. The administration of a company's equity is made easier with software explicitly designed for equity management. Companies can use equity management software like trica equity to track and manage their equity efficiently. Check out trica’s equity management software to know more.

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