May 26, 2024

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What Is Capital In Accounting With Example?

What is Capital Meaning and Example Tutor's Tips

Understanding the Concept of Capital in Accounting

When it comes to accounting, capital is a term that holds significant importance. It refers to the financial resources that a company or an individual owns, which can be used to generate income or support business operations. Capital is one of the key components of a balance sheet, representing the net worth of an entity.

Types of Capital

There are two main types of capital in accounting: equity capital and debt capital. Equity capital represents the ownership interest in a business and is contributed by the owners or shareholders. On the other hand, debt capital refers to the funds that are borrowed by the company from external sources, such as loans or bonds.

Equity capital is further divided into two categories: contributed capital and retained earnings. Contributed capital is the initial investment made by the owners or shareholders, while retained earnings are the accumulated profits that have not been distributed to the owners.

Example of Capital in Accounting

Let’s consider an example to understand the concept of capital in accounting better. Imagine a small business owner, John, who decides to start a bakery. To set up the bakery, John invests $50,000 of his personal savings as the initial capital. This $50,000 becomes the equity capital of John’s bakery.

As the bakery starts operating, John generates a profit of $10,000 in the first year. Instead of distributing this profit to himself, John decides to reinvest it back into the business to expand the bakery. This $10,000 is added to the equity capital as retained earnings.

Now, after the first year, the bakery’s capital would be the sum of the initial investment ($50,000) and the retained earnings ($10,000), which amounts to $60,000. This $60,000 represents the net worth of the bakery, i.e., its capital.

Importance of Capital in Accounting

Capital is crucial in accounting as it provides a measure of the financial strength and stability of a company. It helps in determining the value of the business and assessing its ability to meet its financial obligations. Capital also plays a significant role in attracting investors and creditors, as it showcases the financial resources available for future growth and profitability.

Capital vs. Revenue

It is important to differentiate capital from revenue in accounting. While capital represents the financial resources invested in a company, revenue refers to the income generated from the company’s day-to-day operations. Revenue is a part of the income statement, whereas capital is a part of the balance sheet.

For example, if the bakery sells cakes worth $1,000 in a day, this $1,000 would be considered revenue. However, it does not affect the capital of the bakery unless it is reinvested or withdrawn.


In conclusion, capital is a fundamental concept in accounting that represents the financial resources of a company. It comprises equity capital and debt capital, with equity capital further divided into contributed capital and retained earnings. Understanding capital is essential for assessing the financial strength and stability of a business. By differentiating capital from revenue, businesses can effectively manage their finances and make informed decisions for future growth.