Basic Accounting Equation and Expanded Accounting Equation

All accounting courses start with the accounting equation and the meaning it has. There might be many names or variations for the accounting equation but in reality the accounting equation is one.

Basic Accounting Equation


The accounting equation basically says that at any point of the time, the assets should equal the liabilities plus the equity (the capital and the reserves).

However, each item in this equation can be further expanded which will give us the expanded accounting equation. The expanded accounting equation will be the same as a more compact view of the statement of financial position or the balance sheet.

Therefore, the assets can be further analyzed in cash, accounts receivable, prepayments and other short or long term assets. Similarly, the liabilities can be further expanded and include financial statement line items such as the accounts payable, the accruals, the short term and the long term interest bearing debt and other liabilities line items.

The most important thing in the expanded accounting accounting equation is the equity. The equity generally consists of the share capital or the capital contributed by the shareholders and the reserves or the retained earnings. There are many different types of reserves but for simplicity we will just consider the retained earnings.

The retained earnings is the accumulated profits (or losses) less any dividends paid to the shareholders. Therefore, the retained earnings, a statement of financial position line item is the only way that the income statement and the statement of financial position can interact.

Expanded Accounting Equation

Assets=Liabilities + Capital + Retained Earnings

As mentioned above, the retained earnings include the profits accumulated less any dividends paid. Let’s assume that a company has just started trading and will pay no dividends. The expanded accounting equation can be therefore written as follows:


Expanded Accounting Equation Example

Let’s assume that company A, a consultancy company has just started trading. The following transactions have occured:

  • The owner contributed $1,000 capital which was deposited in the company’s bank account.
  • $200 was spent to buy stationery
  • $200 was paid to for electricity all of which relates to this period
  • Cash Sales worth of $600 were made to Company B.

The transactions will be recorded as follows:

[table id=3 /]

As shown above, there are three transactions that will be recorded in the income statement which are as follows:

  • Stationery Expenses
  • Electricity Expenses
  • Revenue Generated

In addition, there are four transactions that will have an impact on the balance sheet:

  • The capital contribution
  • The stationery expenses (the cash paid)
  • The electricity expenses (the cash paid)
  • The revenue generated (the cash received)

The income statement will therefore look like this:

[table id=4 /]

The profit and loss account will be closed and “cleared” at the year end and the $200 balance will be transferred to retained earnings.

Therefore, the balance sheet will be as follows:

[table id=5 /]

Back to the accounting equations, the basic accounting equation for this example is as follows:



Cash=Capital + Retained Earnings

or 1,200=1,200.

The expanded accounting equation is as follows:




which is the same as 1,200=1,200.

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