The Basic Accounting Formula

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What is the Basic Accounting Formula?

Accounting formulas are the basic tools that accountants use to record, classify, and summarize financial transactions. They provide a framework for understanding the relationships between a company’s assets, liabilities, and equity, and help ensure that financial statements are accurate and consistent. In this article, we will explore the most important accounting formulas, and show how a number of typical accounting transactions are recorded within the framework of the accounting equation.

The Accounting Equation

The accounting equation is the foundation of financial record-keeping. It states that a company’s assets equal the sum of its liabilities and equity. This equation can be represented as follows:

Assets = Liabilities + Equity


Assets are resources that a company owns and that have future economic value. Examples of assets include cash, investments, inventory, and property. Assets play a critical role in a company’s financial health, as they provide the resources needed to generate future profits and support future growth.


Liabilities are obligations that a company owes to others. Examples of liabilities include loans, accounts payable, and salaries payable. Liabilities are an important part of a company’s financial picture, as they represent the resources that the company must pay out in the future.


Equity represents the ownership interests of a company’s shareholders. It represents the residual interest in the assets of a company after deducting its liabilities. Examples of equity include common stock and retained earnings. Equity is a key measure of a company’s financial health, as it represents the value that is available to shareholders after all other obligations have been paid.

Recording Transactions

To demonstrate how the accounting equation works in practice, let’s look at a few examples of typical accounting transactions and see how they are recorded.

Recording Accounting Transactions:

Borrowing money from a bank++
Purchasing inventory with cash
Selling goods on credit++
Paying off a loan

In the first example, the company borrows money from a bank, increasing its assets and liabilities. In the second example, the company purchases inventory using cash, reducing its assets and equity. In the third example, the company sells goods on credit, increasing its assets and equity. Finally, in the fourth example, the company pays off a loan, reducing its assets and liabilities.


In conclusion, the accounting equation provides a framework for understanding the relationships between a company’s assets, liabilities, and equity. By understanding the basic accounting formulas, businesses and organizations can ensure that their financial statements are accurate and consistent, and make informed decisions about their finances. The examples provided in this article show how the accounting equation can be used to record a variety of typical accounting transactions, helping to provide a solid foundation for financial record keeping.


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