What Is Equity In Business?

In business and finance, the word equity describes the value of ownership in an asset or business. Equity is the measure of the owner’s share in a business and is often represented through the stocks issued by the business.

A company’s capital is made up of the two most important components: equity and debt. Debt includes the loans, preferred stock issued, and other financing instruments that are payable in the future. Consequently, equity belongs to the owners and investors. Business corporations issue stocks to raise capital through equity financing.

To understand equity in detail, let’s get ahead to what is equity in business and owners equity meaning in a business.

What Is Equity In Business: An Overview

An Overview

Equity in business is the value of ownership. In a nutshell, equity is the amount someone would pay an owner to buy the asset or business they own. If we look at what is equity in business in terms of a company or organization, it is narrowly defined as the market value of an individual item.

Equity is the term used to denote the amount of capital that is provided by the company’s owners. Equity is therefore added on the balance sheet often denoted as owner’s equity.

What is equity in business is described on the balance sheet where retained earnings and value of inventory is added to other assets. Then liabilities like loans, credit purchases, and note payables are subtracted from them.

Equity is used mostly in the context of investing and analyzing balance sheets but it can apply to numerous industries. Equity applies to homeowners too who start owning a house they mortgaged as they pay down debt. They can estimate the equity by assessing the property’s value and then subtracting the remaining balance on their mortgage.

To understand what is equity in business, here is an easy explanation: Equity or owners equity meaning is the sum of inventory, assets, and net earnings that are not purchased through debt financing. Equity always represents some type of business value but it can have multiple uses in the world of business finance.

Following are some components of what is equity in business.



As equity refers to the ownership of a company, it is represented by stocks or securities. The individuals who own the equity stocks in a company either own common stock or preferred stock. These stock shares are distributed among investors who each hold a different number of shares and consequently a percentage of the total equity ownership.

Each stock or share represents the cash value of that particular share, that the owner could get if they sell the share and consequently the ownership to another investor. They get cash value in return that might be less or more than the initial value they paid to acquire the stock.

The change in the value of a share can be the result of margin trading, and the company performing better or worse, and an increase in demand for the company’s product or service. So, to calculate the equity share of an investor, you should multiply the market value of each share by the number of shares owned by the investor.

What Is Equity In Business: Privately Owned Businesses

When an investor purchases shares in a private company that is not publicly traded, this type of equity is called private equity.

What Is Equity In Business: Balance Sheet Representation

Balance Sheet Representation

The company’s total equity is represented as a sum of common stock, preferred stock, retained earnings, and pain-in capital. The equity is also known as shareholder’s equity and owners equity meaning the same and is mentioned in the second part or right side of the balance sheet.

What Is Equity In Business: How Is It Related To Liquidation?

Generally, liquidation refers to the conversion of physical assets into money. If a business goes bankrupt and is given time to liquidate, the company sells all its assets bought with the owner’s equity and uses it to repay the entire amount of debt. Depending on the financial standing of the business, it may or may not have any owner’s equity left after paying down debt.

What Is Equity In Business: Is It Negative Or Positive?

The term positive and negative equity refers to the amount of equity left after subtracting the total debt. Lets’ demonstrate this through examples of equity. Damian owns a business called Wonder Motor Bikes. He used $15000 to buy inventory and equipment. After some time, to expand his business, he took a $5000 loan. This type of equity is positive equity because Damian can sell some inventory or assets to pay the debt in case of no profit from the business.

On the other hand, Stella owns a Grocery store which she set up using $40,000 of her own. She took out a loan of $30,000 and then another of $20,000. In case of bankruptcy, Stella won’t be able to pay back loans even if she sells all the business assets worth $40,000. This type of equity is negative equity where the business equity cannot cover total debt.

Intangible Equity

Intangible assets refer to the assets that cannot be touched. When a company calculates what is equity in business, it takes into account tangible and intangible assets. Tangible assets are product inventory, facilities, and property. While intangible assets cannot be touched, they are important in determining the value of a company. These include a company’s reputation, intellectual property, and brand identity

Let’s use some examples of equity to understand intangible equity in detail. A company that has been in business for a long time, is reputable and popular among users tends to have higher goodwill as compared to another company of the same size which is less popular, doesn’t have the same reputation, and is relatively new.

To understand what is equity in business in detail, we are covering intangible equity as well. Consider two brands where one has a brand name while one is a generic one. The branded product costs more than the generic one and its value is tied to brand awareness. As a well-known known brand, it gets higher sales because people trust this product and the makers.

So, the intangible equity is built successfully over the years when customers trust your brand’s products more than the generic products. This is the reason, large corporations that serve a large region for years build the intangible equity over the years and are more likely to have higher intangible equity as compared to a new startup business.

Because “equity” is a term used in several different ways, from home value to investments, there are many ways to describe equity. To understand what is equity in business accounting, read on to find out how equity in accounting is different from business.

What Is Equity In Accounting?

What Is Equity In Accounting

There are two main types of equity used in finance and consequently accounting: the owner’s equity is calculated as a difference of assets and liabilities, and the equity is used to describe the market value of a business or asset.

To understand what is equity in accounting, here is a detailed explanation. The equity which refers to the market value of an asset is based on the current share price as well. The company’s investor is the shareholder and his/her equity is called the shareholder’s equity or net worth. If the company’s entire assets are liquidated and paid off, the shareholder’s equity is the amount of money that will remain and will be distributed among the business shareholders.

How Is Book Value Of Equity Calculated?

Book value of equity in accounting is calculated using the following formula:

Equity= Total Assets – Total Liabilities

To prepare balance sheets and other financial statements, accountants calculate the equity. All the terms on the balance sheet are like puzzle sheets where one helps find another and look deeper into the company’s earnings, operations, expenses, and shortcomings. The valuation of a company is therefore a tricky process and equity is another puzzle piece.

Market Value Of Equity

The market value of a business is subject to change and each investor calculates it separately. Investors evaluate the market value of companies using different in-depth analyses and checks that enable them to correctly determine the right stock price of the business firm.

Financial experts know what is equity in accounting and use historical data and current accounting statements to determine the book value of the company. The projections or performance forecasts help determine market value. It is easier to calculate these figures for a public traded company because the data is easily available on their website and is updated and audited regularly.

To find the market value of equity, use the following formula:

Equity Market Value = Share Price x Total Number of Outstanding Shares

Calculations when valuing a privately owned company can be more complicated. You might not be able to do it on your own and need a financial analyst to do it for you. Investment consultants and accounting firms provide such services as well. Various methods used to determine the owners equity meaning and value of a company are through:

  1. Precedent transactions
  2. Comparable company analysis
  3. Discounted cash flow analysis

Analysts look at all the aspects of a business and draw conclusions based on their research and analysis. It is important to note that the result of each analysis can be different from the other.

Personal Equity

Now, that you know what is equity in business, it is time to understand personal equity. Personal equity is the personal net worth or personal equity of a person. An individual can calculate his/her personal equity by subtracting the total liabilities from the total value of assets he owns.

How Is Equity Recorded?

Businesses record what is equity in business on the company’s balance sheet. It is displayed at the right end of the balance sheet under the heading of ‘Stockholder’s Equity or “Owner’s Equity”. A negative value means that the liabilities of the business outweigh the assets and is seen as a red flag for most investors. Therefore, you should keep a close eye on equity especially when you are considering investing in a business that is privately owned.

Equity In Real Estate

Equity In Real Estate

Equity in real estate is the difference between what an owner owes and what is being paid according to the worth of the house. When someone owns real estate property, they benefit from it in multiple ways. Many people build wealth through acquiring real estate property. And real estate equity also is commonly known as home equity is among the top reasons people use this way of investing.

Here are some examples of equity to help you understand and differentiate what is equity in business, accounting, and real estate. Imagine you buy a house of $100,000 today and 3 years later, the same house is worth $130,000. This way you built home equity of $30,000. This difference can be used to gain financial leverage and earn through home equity. Some investors also sell down homes and use the equity as a down payment for the new home, investing the initial funds in business or any other investment.

Mortgage companies also allow you to tap into the home equity in real estate and use it to refinance a business. Also, it acts like an emergency fund that you can use anytime your family needs money to send a child to college or pay for medical bills if a family member falls sick when they don’t have medical insurance.

The investors use the equity in real estate to earn a profit and invest it again. Therefore, some investors use the home equity to save a down payment for their next house and then mortgage it. After purchasing the home, often owners rent it out and pay the installments using the income from rent. This is a passive income idea that many shrewd real estate investors use.