# Shareholder’s Equity – Definition

Cite this article as:"Shareholder’s Equity – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated September 10, 2019, last accessed October 19, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/lesson/shareholders-equity-definition/.

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### Shareholder Equity Definition

Shareholder equity (SE) refers to the net assets available to the shareholders of a company after all the liabilities have been paid. Equity describes the total assets of a firm when its liabilities are deducted shareholders equity is otherwise called stockholdersâ equity, it indicates the amount of money that shareholders will receive after a company has paid its debts.

Shareholders of a company share the ownership of the company, this is why they are referred to as owners of a corporation. Shareholdersâ equity refers to the assets of a company that can be claimed by its shareholders after its debts have been paid.

The formula for calculating shareholdersâ equity is the balance sheet equation, the formula is;

ShareholdersâÂ equity = totalÂ assets â totalÂ liabilities

### Calculating Shareholder Equity

When using the accounting equation such as the formula above for the calculation of shareholdersâ equity, there are some guidelines that serve as the basis for the calculation. First, the total assets of a company recorded on its balance sheet must be identified. Second, the liabilities or debts that a company owes must also be separated.Â  Once both have been identified, the equity or assets of the company must be totaled and its sum deducted from the total liabilities of the company for the shareholdersâ equity to be known.

The retained earnings of a company is an important factor to be considered when calculating shareholders’ equity. This is a form of savings that a company makes form its net earnings, these profits are put aside and not paid to shareholders

### What Does Shareholder Equity Tell You?

A company can either have surplus of assets after paying its debts or have a shortage of assets in paying its liabilities. If the assets available to a company are sufficient to pay its debts, the company has a positive shareholdersâ equity. Shareholdersâ equity would be negative if the available assets cannot pay the debts of a company, and this can have a negative impact on the company.

Shareholdersâ equity does not single handedly depict a companyâs financial health, there are other factors to be considered. However, shareholdersâ equity can give a snapshot to the financial health of a company, in many cases, investors avoid companies with negative shareholdersâ equity.

Investors can also what the assets and liabilities of a company look like through its shareholdersâ equity. The total assets of a company which comprises of current and noncurrent assets as well as the liabilities of a company which include current liabilities and long-term liabilities are determined. The liabilities or the debts of a company are deducted from the assets and the remaining value make up the shareholdersâ equity.

Generally, investors look out for companies with positive shareholdersâ equity. Market analysts also measure the retained earnings of a company alongside its shareholdersâ equity in determining the financial stability of a company. Shareholdersâ equity also determines the level of return a company generates after it has settled its debts.

Here are some points you should note about shareholdersâ equity;

• Shareholdersâ equity refers to the residual claims shareholders of a company can make after all liabilities have been settled.
• Shareholdersâ equity is realized when the total liabilities of a company are deducted from its assets.
• Shareholdersâ equity plays an important role when evaluating the financial health of a company but it cannot be used as a definitive indication of the companyâs health.
• The amount invested by investors and the returns a company make can be measured through shareholdersâ equity.

Here is an example of shareholdersâ equity;

If Company XYZ has a total assets worth \$15.5 million in 2018 and the liabilities accrued for that same fiscal year is \$9.4 million. The shareholdersâ equity will be calculated by deducting the companyâs liabilities from its assets for that fiscal year.

Hence, Shareholders’ equity = \$15.5 – \$9.4 = \$6.1 million.

This illustration simply depicts how shareholdersâ equity is calculated.

There is a distinction between equity and shareholdersâ equity. Equity refers to the value of a company that can be attributed to the owners of the company. Shareholdersâ equity refers to the residual claims of corporation owners of a company after its debts have been paid. That is, the amount left for the shareholders of a company after all liabilities have been deducted from a companyâs assets.

### References for âShareholders’ Equity (SE)â

https://www.investopedia.com âș Investing âș Financial Analysis