The statement of changes in equity stands as a key tool for understanding the shifts and movements within a company’s equity over time. This particular financial statement offers a transparent view of the financial events that influence a company’s net worth.

To get a solid understanding of a statement of changes in equity we’ll explore what is included in this statement, how it’s structured, and how to interpret its valuable insights, accompanied by practical examples.

What is Equity?

Equity, known as shareholders’ equity in public companies or owners’ equity in private firms, is the residual interest in the assets of a company after deducting liabilities. It represents the value that would be returned to shareholders if all assets of a company were liquidated and debts repaid. 

In the context of an acquisition, it’s the sale value of the company minus any liabilities not assumed by the buyer. Equity reflects the book value of a company, can be used as payment-in-kind, and signifies the ownership proportion in the company’s shares. Found on the balance sheet, equity is crucial for analysing a company’s financial health.

What is a Statement of Changes in Equity?

A statement of changes in equity shows the difference in a company’s equity over a period, usually a year. It can be either positive or negative. 

It isn’t always included in monthly financial reports but is common in yearly ones. It takes the starting equity amount and adds any profits then takes away any dividends paid out to get the ending equity amount. This end figure then goes into the balance sheet, showing how much the company is worth after accounting for what it owns versus what it owes. It helps track the changes in how much the owners’ stake in the company is worth across the year.

What is Included in a Statement of Changes in Equity?

A statement of changes involves the following key components: 

Opening Equity Balance

This is the equity value at the start of the accounting period. It represents the accumulated wealth of the company at that point, including retained earnings, share capital, and any reserves.

Comprehensive Income

This includes the net profit or loss for the period, as reported in the income statement, and other comprehensive income, such as a portfolio of bonds that have not yet matured and consequently haven’t been redeemed. This part captures all changes in equity during the period that are not from transactions with owners.

Owner Transactions

These include activities like dividends, share buybacks, or new share issues.

Closing Equity Balance

This is the final number used on your balance sheet. It is calculated by taking the opening balance, adding comprehensive income, and then adjusting for owner transactions.

How to do a Statement of Changes in Equity

Now that we understand the different components that make up a statement of changes in equity, let’s look at an example.

First up here is the simplified formula:

Closing Balance of Equity = Opening Balance of Equity + Net income/profitDividends +/- Other Changes 

Now let’s break that down:

Let’s say a company has an Opening Equity Balance of $200,000

This balance includes $100,000 in retained earnings, $70,000 in share capital, and $30,000 in reserves, representing the accumulated wealth of the company at that point.

Add: Net Profit (Comprehensive Income): $55,000

Comprehensive income reflects the net profit of $50,000 as reported on the income statement + Unrealised gains from a portfolio of bonds amounting to $5,000. These gains are not realised because the bonds have not yet matured or been sold.

This results in a comprehensive income of $50,000 (net profit) + $5,000 (unrealised gains) = $55,000.

Less: Dividends Paid (Owner Transactions): $15,000

The company’s dividends paid out amounted to $20,000, coupled with a share buyback of $10,000, both reducing equity by a total of $30,000. Then, the issuance of new shares contributed an increase of $15,000 to equity. Therefore, the net adjustment for owner transactions amounted to a reduction of $15,000 in equity, calculated as:

$15,000 (new shares) – $20,000 (dividends paid) – $10,000 (share buyback) = -$15,000. 

Closing Equity Balance: 

Now, let’s tie it all together using our formula: 

$200,000 (Opening Equity Balance) + $55,000 (Comprehensive Income) – $15,000 (Owner Transactions) = $240,000 (Closing Equity Balance). This is the number that you include in the equity section of your balance sheet.

The Importance of Statements of Changes in Equity

A statement of changes in equity details the changes in a company’s equity over a financial period, highlighting the effects of profit or loss, dividends, and share transactions. It shows how these activities influence the overall financial position, crucial for management and investors to assess the company’s financial health and strategic decisions. This statement complements the balance sheet and income statement by providing a deeper insight into the company’s financial dynamics, especially in how profits are reinvested or distributed among shareholders.

For anyone looking to understand a company’s approach to managing its profits and shareholder value, this statement is key. It not only reveals the company’s financial strategy outcomes but also trends in equity that could impact investment choices.

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At Allen Audit & Advisory, we understand that creating accurate financial statements can be challenging. That’s why we offer expert financial reviews to help you make sense of complicated financial data. Whether you need clarification on what is happening within your business’ financials or you know you have a specific problem, our audit reviews give you more insight and real life solutions. Don’t let financial confusion hinder your business growth. Contact us today.