Equity (finance)

Last updated

In accounting, equity (or owner's equity) is the difference between the value of the assets and the value of the liabilities of something owned. It is governed by the following equation:

Asset economic resource, from which future economic benefits are expected

In financial accounting, an asset is any resource owned by the business. Anything tangible or intangible that can be owned or controlled to produce value and that is held by a company to produce positive economic value is an asset. Simply stated, assets represent value of ownership that can be converted into cash. The balance sheet of a firm records the monetary value of the assets owned by that firm. It covers money and other valuables belonging to an individual or to a business.

Liability (financial accounting) sum of the equity and the liabilities

In financial accounting, a liability is defined as the future sacrifices of economic benefits that the entity is obliged to make to other entities as a result of past transactions or other past events, the settlement of which may result in the transfer or use of assets, provision of services or other yielding of economic benefits in the future.

Contents

For example, if someone owns a car worth $15,000 (an asset), but owes $5,000 on a loan against that car (a liability), the car represents $10,000 of equity. Equity can be negative if liabilities exceed assets. Shareholders' equity (or stockholders' equity, shareholders' funds, shareholders' capital or similar terms) represents the equity of a company as divided among shareholders of common or preferred stock. Negative shareholders' equity is often referred to as a shareholders' deficit.

Negative equity occurs when the value of an asset used to secure a loan is less than the outstanding balance on the loan. In the United States, assets with negative equity are often referred to as being "underwater", and loans and borrowers with negative equity are said to be "upside down".

A shareholder is an individual or institution that legally owns one or more shares of stock in a public or private corporation. Shareholders may be referred to as members of a corporation. Legally, a person is not a shareholder in a corporation until their name and other details are entered in the corporation‘s register of shareholders or members.

Common stock form of corporate equity ownership, a type of security

Common stock is a form of corporate equity ownership, a type of security. The terms voting share and ordinary share are also used frequently in other parts of the world; "common stock" being primarily used in the United States. They are known as Equity shares or Ordinary shares in the UK and other Commonwealth realms. This type of share gives the stockholder the right to share in the profits of the company, and to vote on matters of corporate policy and the composition of the members of the board of directors.

Alternatively, equity can also refer to a corporation's share capital (capital stock in American English). The value of the share capital depends on the corporation's future economic prospects. For a company in liquidation proceedings, the equity is that which remains after all liabilities have been paid.

Corporation Separate legal entity that has been incorporated through a legislative or registration process established through legislation

A corporation is an organization, usually a group of people or a company, authorized to act as a single entity and recognized as such in law. Early incorporated entities were established by charter. Most jurisdictions now allow the creation of new corporations through registration.

A corporation's share capital or capital stock is the portion of a corporation's equity that has been obtained by the issue of shares in the corporation to a shareholder, usually for cash. "Share capital" may also denote the number and types of shares that compose a corporation's share structure.

Liquidation is the process in accounting by which a company is brought to an end in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and United States. The assets and property of the company are redistributed. Liquidation is also sometimes referred to as winding-up or dissolution, although dissolution technically refers to the last stage of liquidation. The process of liquidation also arises when customs, an authority or agency in a country responsible for collecting and safeguarding customs duties, determines the final computation or ascertainment of the duties or drawback accruing on an entry.

Owner's equity

When starting a business, the owners fund the business to finance various operations. Under the model of a private limited company, the business and its owners are separate entities, so the business is considered to owe these funds to its owners as a liability in the form of share capital. Throughout the business's existence, the equity of the business will be the difference between its assets and debt liabilities; this is the accounting equation.

Business Organization undertaking commercial, industrial, or professional activity

Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products. Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit. It does not mean it is a company, a corporation, partnership, or have any such formal organization, but it can range from a street peddler to General Motors."

The outcome of business operations is the harvesting of value from assets owned by a business. Assets can be either physical or intangible. An example of value derived from a physical asset, like a building, is rent. An example of value derived from an intangible asset, like an idea, is a royalty. The effort involved in "harvesting" this value is what constitutes business operations cycles.

Private limited company type of company used in many jurisdictions

A private limited company is a type of business entity in "private" ownership used in many jurisdictions in contrast to "public" ownership, with some differences from country to country. Examples include LLC in the US, private company limited by shares in the UK, GmbH in Germany or společnost s ručením omezeným in the Czech Republic.

When a business liquidates during bankruptcy, the proceeds from the assets are used to reimburse creditors. The creditors are ranked by priority, with secured creditors being paid first, other creditors being paid next, and owners being paid last. Owner's equity (also known as risk capital or liable capital) is this remaining or residual claim against assets, which is paid only after all other creditors are paid. In such cases where even creditors could not get enough money to pay their bills, the owner's equity is reduced to zero because nothing is left to reimburse it.

Bankruptcy legal status of a person or other entity that cannot repay the debts it owes to creditors

Bankruptcy is a legal process through which people or other entities who cannot repay debts to creditors may seek relief from some or all of their debts. In most jurisdictions, bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor.

A creditor is a party that has a claim on the services of a second party. It is a person or institution to whom money is owed. The first party, in general, has provided some property or service to the second party under the assumption that the second party will return an equivalent property and service. The second party is frequently called a debtor or borrower. The first party is called the creditor, which is the lender of property, service, or money.

The residual claimant refers to the economic agent who has the sole remaining claim on an organization's net cash flows, i.e. after the deduction of precedent agents' claims, and therefore also bears the residual risk. Residual risk is defined in this context as the risk associated with differences between the stochastic inflows of assets into the organization and precedent agents' claims on the organization's cash flows. Precedeagents' claims on an organization's cash flows can consist of e.g. employees' salaries, creditors' interest or the government's taxes.

Accounting

In financial accounting, owner's equity consists of the net assets of an entity. Net assets is the difference between the total assets and total liabilities. [1] Equity appears on the balance sheet (also known as the statement of financial position), one of the four primary financial statements.

Financial accounting field of accounting

Financial accounting is the field of accounting concerned with the summary, analysis and reporting of financial transactions related to a business. This involves the preparation of financial statements available for public use. Stockholders, suppliers, banks, employees, government agencies, business owners, and other stakeholders are examples of people interested in receiving such information for decision making purposes.

Balance sheet summary of the financial balances of a sole proprietorship, a business partnership, a corporation or other business organization

In financial accounting, a balance sheet or statement of financial position or statement of financial condition is a summary of the financial balances of an individual or organization, whether it be a sole proprietorship, a business partnership, a corporation, private limited company or other organization such as Government or not-for-profit entity. Assets, liabilities and ownership equity are listed as of a specific date, such as the end of its financial year. A balance sheet is often described as a "snapshot of a company's financial condition". Of the four basic financial statements, the balance sheet is the only statement which applies to a single point in time of a business' calendar year.

The assets of an entity can be both tangible and intangible items. Intangible assets include items such as brand names, copyrights or goodwill. Tangible assets include land, equipment, and cash. The types of accounts and their description that comprise the owner's equity depend on the nature of the entity and may include:

Book value

The book value of equity will change in the case of the following events:

Shareholders' equity

When the owners are shareholders, the interest can be called shareholders' equity; the accounting remains the same, and it is ownership equity spread out among shareholders. If all shareholders are in one and the same class, they share equally in ownership equity from all perspectives. However, shareholders may allow different priority ranking among themselves by the use of share classes and options. This complicates analysis for both stock valuation and accounting.

Shareholders' equity is obtained by subtracting total liabilities from the total assets of the shareholders. [3] These assets and liabilities can be:

Equity stock

Equity investments

An equity investment generally refers to the buying and holding of shares of stock on a stock market by individuals and firms in anticipation of income from dividends and capital gains. Typically, equity holders receive voting rights, meaning that they can vote on candidates for the board of directors (shown on a diversification of the fund(s) and to obtain the skill of the professional fund managers in charge of the fund(s)). An alternative, which is usually employed by large private investors and pension funds, is to hold shares directly; in the institutional environment many clients who own portfolios have what are called segregated funds, as opposed to or in addition to the pooled mutual fund alternatives.

A calculation can be made to assess whether an equity is over or underpriced, compared with a long-term government bond. This is called the yield gap or Yield Ratio. It is the ratio of the dividend yield of an equity and that of the long-term bond.

Market value of equity stock

In the stock market, market price per share does not correspond to the equity per share calculated in the accounting statements. Equity stock valuations, which are often much higher, are based on other considerations related to the business' operating cash flow, profits and future prospects; some factors are derived from the accounting statement. See Valuation (finance) and specifically #Valuation overview; also Intrinsic value (finance) #Equity.

Note that while accounting equity can potentially be negative, market price per share is never negative since equity shares represent ownership in limited liability companies. The principle of limited liability guarantees that a shareholder's losses may never exceed his investment. See discussion under #Merton model below.

Merton model

Under the "Merton model", [4] the value of stock equity is modeled as a call option on the value of the whole company (including the liabilities), struck at the nominal value of the liabilities; and the equity market value thus depends on the volatility of the market value of the company assets. The idea here is that, in general, equity may be viewed as a call option on the firm: since the principle of limited liability protects equity investors, shareholders would choose not to repay the firm's debt where the value of the firm is less than the value of the outstanding debt; where firm value is greater than debt value, the shareholders would choose to repay - i.e. exercise their option - and not to liquidate. See Business valuation #Option pricing approaches.

This is the first example of a "structural model", where bankruptcy is modeled using a microeconomic model of the firm's capital structure - it treats bankruptcy as a continuous probability of default, where, on the random occurrence of default, the stock price of the defaulting company is assumed to go to zero. [5] This microeconomic approach, to some extent, allows us to answer the question "what are the economic causes of default?". [6] (Structural models are distinct from "reduced form models" - such as Jarrow–Turnbull - where bankruptcy is modeled as a statistical process.)

Equity in real estate

The notion of equity as it relates to real estate derives from the concept called equity of redemption. This equity is a property right valued at the difference between the market value of the property and the amount of any mortgage or other encumbrance.

See also

Related Research Articles

Fundamental analysis analysis of a businesss financial statements

Fundamental analysis, in accounting and finance, is the analysis of a business's financial statements ; health; and competitors and markets. It also considers the overall state of the economy and factors including interest rates, production, earnings, employment, GDP, housing, manufacturing and management. There are two basic approaches that can be used: bottom up analysis and top down analysis. These terms are used to distinguish such analysis from other types of investment analysis, such as quantitative and technical.

Financial capital is any economic resource measured in terms of money used by entrepreneurs and businesses to buy what they need to make their products or to provide their services to the sector of the economy upon which their operation is based, i.e. retail, corporate, investment banking, etc.

The weighted average cost of capital (WACC) is the rate that a company is expected to pay on average to all its security holders to finance its assets. The WACC is commonly referred to as the firm's cost of capital. Importantly, it is dictated by the external market and not by management. The WACC represents the minimum return that a company must earn on an existing asset base to satisfy its creditors, owners, and other providers of capital, or they will invest elsewhere.

In accounting, book value is the value of an asset according to its balance sheet account balance. For assets, the value is based on the original cost of the asset less any depreciation, amortization or impairment costs made against the asset. Traditionally, a company's book value is its total assets minus intangible assets and liabilities. However, in practice, depending on the source of the calculation, book value may variably include goodwill, intangible assets, or both. The value inherent in its workforce, part of the intellectual capital of a company, is always ignored. When intangible assets and goodwill are explicitly excluded, the metric is often specified to be "tangible book value".

Valuation (finance) process of estimating what something is worth, used in the finance industry

In finance, valuation is the process of determining the present value (PV) of an asset. Valuations can be done on assets or on liabilities. Valuations are needed for many reasons such as investment analysis, capital budgeting, merger and acquisition transactions, financial reporting, taxable events to determine the proper tax liability, and in litigation.

Treasury stock

A treasury stock or reacquired stock is stock which is bought back by the issuing company, reducing the amount of outstanding stock on the open market.

Preferred stock type of stock which may have any combination of features not possessed by common stock

Preferred stock is a form of stock which may have any combination of features not possessed by common stock including properties of both an equity and a debt instrument, and is generally considered a hybrid instrument. Preferred stocks are senior to common stock, but subordinate to bonds in terms of claim and may have priority over common stock in the payment of dividends and upon liquidation. Terms of the preferred stock are described in the issuing company's articles of association or articles of incorporation.

In Economics and Accounting, the cost of capital is the cost of a company's funds, or, from an investor's point of view "the required rate of return on a portfolio company's existing securities". It is used to evaluate new projects of a company. It is the minimum return that investors expect for providing capital to the company, thus setting a benchmark that a new project has to meet.

Capital structure

Capital structure in corporate finance is the way a corporation finances its assets through some combination of equity, debt, or hybrid securities.

Enterprise value (EV), total enterprise value (TEV), or firm value (FV) is an economic measure reflecting the market value of a business. It is a sum of claims by all claimants: creditors and shareholders. Enterprise value is one of the fundamental metrics used in business valuation, financial modeling, accounting, portfolio analysis, and risk analysis.

In corporate finance, the return on equity (ROE) is a measure of the profitability of a business in relation to the equity, also known as net assets or assets minus liabilities. ROE is a measure of how well a company uses investments to generate earnings growth.

Business valuation is a process and a set of procedures used to estimate the economic value of an owner's interest in a business. Valuation is used by financial market participants to determine the price they are willing to pay or receive to effect a sale of a business. In addition to estimating the selling price of a business, the same valuation tools are often used by business appraisers to resolve disputes related to estate and gift taxation, divorce litigation, allocate business purchase price among business assets, establish a formula for estimating the value of partners' ownership interest for buy-sell agreements, and many other business and legal purposes such as in shareholders deadlock, divorce litigation and estate contest. In some cases, the court would appoint a forensic accountant as the joint expert doing the business valuation.

Share repurchase is the re-acquisition by a company of its own stock. It represents a more flexible way of returning money to shareholders.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to finance:

Stock financial instrument

The stock of a corporation is all of the shares into which ownership of the corporation is divided. In American English, the shares are commonly known as "stocks". A single share of the stock represents fractional ownership of the corporation in proportion to the total number of shares. This typically entitles the stockholder to that fraction of the company's earnings, proceeds from liquidation of assets, or voting power, often dividing these up in proportion to the amount of money each stockholder has invested. Not all stock is necessarily equal, as certain classes of stock may be issued for example without voting rights, with enhanced voting rights, or with a certain priority to receive profits or liquidation proceeds before or after other classes of shareholders.

Financial ratio characteristic number

A financial ratio or accounting ratio is a relative magnitude of two selected numerical values taken from an enterprise's financial statements. Often used in accounting, there are many standard ratios used to try to evaluate the overall financial condition of a corporation or other organization. Financial ratios may be used by managers within a firm, by current and potential shareholders (owners) of a firm, and by a firm's creditors. Financial analysts use financial ratios to compare the strengths and weaknesses in various companies. If shares in a company are traded in a financial market, the market price of the shares is used in certain financial ratios.

In finance, the capital structure substitution theory (CSS) describes the relationship between earnings, stock price and capital structure of public companies. The CSS theory hypothesizes that managements of public companies manipulate capital structure such that earnings per share (EPS) are maximized. Managements have an incentive to do so because shareholders and analysts value EPS growth. The theory is used to explain trends in capital structure, stock market valuation, dividend policy, the monetary transmission mechanism, and stock volatility, and provides an alternative to the Modigliani–Miller theorem that has limited descriptive validity in real markets. The CSS theory is only applicable in markets where share repurchases are allowed. Investors can use the CSS theory to identify undervalued stocks.

The clean surplus accounting method provides elements of a forecasting model that yields price as a function of earnings, expected returns, and change in book value. The theory's primary use is to estimate the value of a company’s shares. The secondary use is to estimate the cost of capital, as an alternative to e.g. the CAPM. The "clean surplus" is calculated by not including transactions with shareholders when calculating returns; whereas standard accounting for financial statements requires that the change in book value equal earnings minus dividends.

Dividend policy is concerned with financial policies regarding paying cash dividend in the present or paying an increased dividend at a later stage. Whether to issue dividends, and what amount, is determined mainly on the basis of the company's unappropriated profit and influenced by the company's long-term earning power. When cash surplus exists and is not needed by the firm, then management is expected to pay out some or all of those surplus earnings in the form of cash dividends or to repurchase the company's stock through a share buyback program.

Corporate finance area of finance dealing with the sources of funding and the capital structure of corporations

Corporate finance is an area of finance that deals with sources of funding, the capital structure of corporations, the actions that managers take to increase the value of the firm to the shareholders, and the tools and analysis used to allocate financial resources. The primary goal of corporate finance is to maximize or increase shareholder value. Although it is in principle different from managerial finance which studies the financial management of all firms, rather than corporations alone, the main concepts in the study of corporate finance are applicable to the financial problems of all kinds of firms.

References

  1. IFRS Framework quotation: International Accounting Standards Board F.49(c)
  2. Example of Balance Sheet
  3. Hervé Stolowy; Michel Lebas (January 2006). Financial Accounting and Reporting: A Global Perspective. Cengage Learning EMEA. p. 42. ISBN   1-84480-250-7.
  4. Merton, Robert C. (1974). "On the Pricing of Corporate Debt: The Risk Structure of Interest Rates". Journal of Finance. 29 (2): 449–470. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6261.1974.tb03058.x.
  5. Robert Merton, “Option Pricing When Underlying Stock Returns are Discontinuous” Journal of Financial Economics, 3, January–March, 1976, pp. 125–44.
  6. Nonlinear valuation and XVA under credit risk, collateral margins and Funding Costs. Prof. Damiano Brigo, UCLouvain