Definition: The company's share of total capital
In a commerical business, owners can freely withdraw and deposit money throughout the year. Deposits and withdrawals are usually recorded on special accounts for their own private deposits.
In a public company, equity represents both the equity capital invested by shareholders in the venture and the profits generated from the operations of the company.
Although the capital belongs to the owners, they cannot take this equity out of the business.
In accounting and finance, equity is known as the residual claim or interest in assets, after all liabilities have been paid. If assets are valued below liabilities, negative equity is present. Shareholder's equity represents that same equity spread amongst all shareholders. The account appears on the Balance Sheet.
What makes the owner's equity account increase? The retained earnings which are shown on the income statement are the greatest contributor to an increase in equity. The greater the profitability of the business, the more income is retained, the greater increase in owner equity.
This figure also increases as debt is paid down or completely off. This is a perfect example of the way the income statement, balance sheet, and the statement of cash flows is connected.