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    Saturday
    May252013

    What are the stockholders' equity accounts?

    The stockholders' equity accounts contain those accounts that express the monetary ownership interest in a business. In effect, these accounts contain the net difference between the recorded assets and liabilities of a company. If assets are greater than liabilities, then the equity accounts contain a positive balance; if not, they contain a negative balance. The stockholders' equity accounts normally have credit balances, and so are located on the balance sheet immediately after the liability accounts, and in opposition to the asset accounts.

    The stockholders' equity accounts are as follows:

    • Common stock. Contains the portion of the price paid by investors for a company's common stock that is attributable to the par value of the stock. If the par value amount per share is minimal (as is usually the case), the balance in this account is quite small. If the stock has no par value, then this account is not used.
    • Additional paid-in capital on common stock. Contains the portion of the price paid by investors for a  company's common stock that is attributable to the amount of the payment exceeding the par value of the stock.
    • Preferred stock. Contains the portion of the price paid by investors for a company's preferred stock that is attributable to the par value of the stock.
    • Additional paid-in capital on preferred stock. Contains the portion of the price paid by investors for a company's preferred stock that is attributable to the amount of the payment exceeding the par value of the stock.
    • Retained earnings. Contains the cumulative net income earned by the company, less any dividends paid.
    • Treasury stock. Contains the amount paid by the company to buy back shares from investors. This is a contra account, so the balance in the account is usually a debit.

    Note that the purchase and sale of stock between investors on a secondary market, such as a stock exchange, does not impact any of these accounts, since the issuing entity is not involved in these transactions.

    Related Topics

    Stock accounting
    Treasury stock accounting
    What are retained earnings?
    What are the types of preference shares?
    What is the retained earnings formula?

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