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What is equity ownership?

Equity is the worth of a company when total liabilities are subtracted from total assets. Owner’s equity refers to an individual or group of shareholders.

6 min read

As a small business owner, it is no easy feat to own and operate an independent company. 

As the owner of the business, your responsibilities are immense. Still, you also own everything connected to your business, except for liabilities owed to other people. You are in a unique position of ownership when it comes to equity, but what does that mean exactly.

What is owner’s equity?

Simply put, equity refers to the worth of something. This means the owner’s equity represents the owner’s net worth of a business. It is the total value of a company’s net assets after all liabilities have been deducted.

How do you calculate equity?

To calculate a company’s worth, you need to know their assets and liabilities. The accounting formula required to do this is as follows:

Equity = Assets – Liabilities

The company’s assets (resources), minus liabilities (what the company owes others), is equal to the total net worth of the company, also known as owner’s equity. This is attributable to one, or multiple owners, depending upon how the company is owned.

Owner’s equity in a balance sheet

Owner’s equity of a company can be found along with liabilities on the right side of the balance sheet, and assets can be found along the left side.

Typically, the items that are included in the owner’s equity on the balance sheet are:

  • Money invested into the business by the owner

  • Profits of the business since its inception

  • Minus money the owner has taken out of the business

  • Minus money owed to others

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What are examples of owner’s equity?

Generally, equity begins with the original contribution to the organisation by way of assets, typically cash and, or assets used within the business. For example, suppose the owner contributed £100 of cash and a machine that cost £200 for his product’s manufacturing. In that case, the company’s assets would be £300, and the equity would be £300 as well.

Net income increases equity over time. Equity fluctuates as the business operations generate net income or loss. Net income is the excess amount of a company’s revenue over expenses for a specific period. If a business is making money, it is generating net income. Like owner investment, net income causes the owner’s equity in the enterprise’s assets to increase.

Reinvesting earnings in your business vs. distributing earnings

Capital reflects the sources of financing needed to acquire assets for a business. Equity and debt are two forms of capital.

Suppose the previously discussed entrepreneur who possesses £300 in equity, decides to buy a second machine. However, he does not have the funds to do it himself, so he asks the bank for a loan. This loan is a debt of the company. Once he receives the £200 loan and buys the second machine, his assets increase to £500, but his equity remains the same £300. At the same time, he takes on liabilities of £200.

With two machines, he generates twice the amount of operating profit, doubling his operating earnings, minus interest on the loan, allowing him to grow his equity account.

If the owner’s equity is the owner’s share of assets in a company, then the debt is other peoples’, or the bank’s, capital deployed in the business.

A decrease in owner’s equity is when the owner, or entrepreneur, withdraws some of those earnings to support himself while operating the business, such as his wage.

What is a statement of owner’s equity?

A statement of owner’s equity reflects these increases and decreases in owner’s equity over a specific period. As noted above, this statement will reflect an increase in owner’s equity for the operating income generated by the business. It will also include the decreases from the distribution of wages to fund the owner’s lifestyle.

Therefore, these financial statements record all contributions and incomes, as well as withdrawals and expenses of the company.

Business organisation and ownership

The legal organisation of a business is often driven by the number of parties owning the business. Sole proprietorship refers to a business owned by one person. In contrast, multiple owners of a company are legally organised as partnerships or corporations. Thus, the worth of a business reflects the aggregation of all (one or more) owner’s equity.

Sole proprietorship

This private form of ownership means that one person holds a company. The sole proprietor, or owner, has possession over all of the equity of the company.

Partnership

A partnership refers to a business with two or more owners/ partners. As a result, the owner’s equity appears as an aggregation of all partner’s equity. Each partner, or owner, possesses a separate capital account, including the partner’s investments, withdrawals, and corresponding share of the company’s net income / net loss from operations.

Generally speaking, net earnings will be divided between the partners depending on the percentage of the business they own.

Corporation

Similar to partnerships, corporations are often formed with multiple equity owners. However, corporations differ from partnerships in that they provide legal liability protection to the owners which facilitates transferability of ownership interests. These numerous owners of a corporation are referred to as stockholders.

Stockholders, also known as shareholders, are the investors that have purchased shares of stock in a company, thus becoming owners of said company. There can be between one and a limitless number of stockholders, depending on the corporation’s size. Therefore, the owner’s equity of a corporation is referred to as the aggregate shareholder’s equity.

Once the shareholders have been paid their dues at the end of an accounting period, what is left over is known as retained earnings, which can then be funnelled back into the corporation to keep it growing.

Is shareholder’s equity the same thing as owner’s equity?

When one person or sole proprietor owns a company, it is known as the owner’s equity. However, when a company, or corporation, is owned by multiple people, or shareholders, it is referred to as shareholder’s equity.

What is owner’s equity capital?

Capital refers to the funding sources that are used by the owners to acquire the assets used to run a business. There are two main types of capital, equity capital and debt capital. Equity capital is the funding of a business by investors, while the owner’s equity capital is the funding of the company by the owner. Debt capital refers to funds loaned to the company from a bank to fund purchase of assets used in the business.

How do I calculate owner’s equity statement?

A statement of owner’s equity covers the increases and decreases within the company’s worth. It can be calculated by using the accounting formula of net assets minus net liabilities is equal to owner’s equity.

Creating this statement relies on the accurate recording and analysis of your business’s balance sheets. Accounting software can help your small business do this. With the QuickBooks reporting feature, create professional-looking balance sheets, covering assets and liabilities, to gain a clear picture of your business’s equity. Try our free 30-day trial now.

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