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Accounting Equation
Definition, Meaning Explained, Usage

The accounting equation summarizes the essential nature of double entry accounting systems: Debits always equal Credits, and Assets always equal the sum of Equities and Liabilities.

What is the accounting equation?

The accounting equation is a commonly used name for the properties of the Balance sheet:

Assets = Liabilities + Owners Equities

The three elements of this equation assets, liabilities, and owner's equities are the three major sections of the Balance sheet. Through the use of double entry bookkeeping, bookkeepers and accountants ensure that the "balance" always holds (both sides of the equation are always equal). 

The term accounting equation is sometimes extended to include another fundamental rule that applies to every accounting transaction, where double entry bookkeeping is used:

Debits = Credits

The equation means that every financial transaction brings changes (entries) in two different accounts: every transaction brings a credit entry in one account and an equal, offsetting debit entry in another account. For example, a cash flow transaction to purchase an asset brings a credit to one asset account, "cash on hand" (a credit decreases an asset account) and an equal, offsetting debit to another asset account, perhaps "production machinery" (a debit increases an asset account).

For more examples of both equations in use, and their relationship to each other, and more on debits and credits, see:

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