Capital in Accounting: Meaning and Examples

Capital in Accounting: Meaning and Examples

8 mins readComment
Chanchal Aggarwal
Senior Executive Content
Updated on Dec 28, 2023 01:31 IST

Capital is the backbone of a business. In accounting Capital represents the funds injected by owners or raised through loans to kickstart and sustain operations. It's the financial bedrock that supports purchasing assets, funding growth, and meeting daily expenses. It plays a pivotal role in a company's ability to thrive and expand in the competitive business world.

In accounting, "capital" refers to the financial resources or funds that a business uses to operate and grow. Imagine a scenario where someone decides to open a café. The money they initially invest to start this café – like funds for renting space, buying coffee machines, and purchasing supplies – is known as capital. This capital is crucial as it gets the café up and running. In a broader sense, capital in accounting is the fuel that powers a business, whether it’s for starting up or keeping it going. It can come from the owner's own savings, loans from banks, or from investors who buy a part of the business.

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Table of Content

What is Capital in Accounting?

Capital in accounting is essentially the amount of money or resources that business owners invest in their company. It's the funds used to start and operate the business, covering expenses like buying equipment, inventory, and paying for daily operations. In simpler terms, it's the money and value invested into the business to make it work and grow.

Methods of Raising Capital 

Equity Financing: Involves selling shares of the company to investors. This can be through:

Initial Public Offerings (IPOs): Selling shares to the public for the first time.

Private Placements: Selling shares to select investors, usually large institutions or wealthy individuals.

Venture Capital: Securing funding from investors in exchange for equity, typically used by startups.

Angel Investing: Getting funds from affluent individuals who provide capital for startups, often in exchange for ownership equity.

Debt Financing: Borrowing money to be repaid with interest. This includes:

Bank Loans: Traditional loans from banks.

Bonds Issuance: Selling bonds to investors, which are debt securities.

Overdrafts and Credit Lines: Short-term borrowing options from financial institutions.

Mezzanine Financing: A hybrid of debt and equity financing, often used to finance the expansion of existing companies.

Crowdfunding: Raising small amounts of capital from a large number of people, typically through online platforms. This can be:

Reward-based: Donors receive a product or service in return for their investment.

Equity-based: Investors receive a stake in the company.

Bootstrapping: Using personal finances or operating revenues to support the company, avoiding external funding sources.

Government Grants and Subsidies: Securing funds from government programs designed to support businesses, especially in specific sectors or for specific purposes like research and development.

Leasing: Rather than purchasing assets, leasing them can free up capital for other uses.

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Types of Capital

Equity Capital: This is money raised by selling shares of the company. Shareholders who buy these shares become part-owners of the business. For example, a startup might issue shares to investors in exchange for funding.

Debt Capital: This includes funds borrowed and to be repaid with interest, such as bank loans or corporate bonds. For instance, a company might take a bank loan to finance new machinery.

Working Capital: Working capital are the funds used for day-to-day business operations, calculated as current assets minus current liabilities. A retail store's working capital, for example, might be used to buy inventory or pay short-term bills.

Venture Capital: This is funding provided to startups with high growth potential, often in exchange for equity. A tech startup might receive venture capital to develop a new app.

Fixed Capital: Refers to long-term assets a company acquires for producing goods or services, like machinery, buildings, or vehicles. A manufacturing company, for instance, uses fixed capital to buy production equipment.

Human Capital: The economic value of an employee’s skills and knowledge. For example, a software company's human capital includes the programming and technical expertise of its developers.

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Business Capital Structure

Business capital structure refers to the composition of a company's funding sources used to finance its operations and growth. It's essentially how a business funds its overall activities and growth through different sources of capital. Here's a detailed explanation:

Components of Capital Structure:

  • Typically, a company's capital structure is made up of a mix of debt and equity.
  • Debt includes loans, bonds, and other borrowings that need to be repaid with interest.
  • Equity involves funds raised by selling shares of the company, representing ownership stakes.

Importance of Capital Structure:

  • The choice of capital structure impacts a company's risk, cost of capital, and financial flexibility.
  • A well-balanced capital structure optimizes financial leverage, enhances profitability, and can lead to a higher market valuation.

Determining an Ideal Mix:

  • The optimal capital structure varies by industry, market conditions, and company-specific factors such as cash flow stability, asset tangibility, and growth prospects.
  • Companies often aim for a balance that minimizes the cost of capital while maximizing financial stability and shareholder value.

Implications of Capital Structure:

  • A high level of debt (leverage) can increase returns to shareholders but also brings higher risk, especially in economic downturns.
  • Too much equity can dilute existing shareholders' ownership and may indicate that a company isn’t taking advantage of potential tax benefits of debt.

Dynamic Nature:

Capital structure isn’t static; it evolves with the company's life cycle, strategy changes, market conditions, and internal financial needs.

Capital vs Revenue Expenditure


Capital Expenditure

Revenue Expenditure


Capital Expenditure refers to funds used by a business to acquire, upgrade, and maintain physical assets such as property, industrial buildings, or equipment.

Revenue Expenditure refers to the spending on operational costs and day-to-day running expenses, like rent, utilities, and salaries.


Long-term in nature and benefits the business over several years.

Short-term in nature, generally benefiting the business in the current accounting period.


Aimed at improving the earning capacity or life of the business assets.

Aimed at maintaining the existing earning capacity of the business.


Purchasing machinery, upgrading a facility, buying a new building.

Regular repair costs, office supplies, advertising expenses.

Impact on Financial Statements

Capitalized on the balance sheet as an asset, then depreciated or amortized over its useful life.

Expensed on the income statement in the period they are incurred.

Tax Treatment

Not immediately fully deductible; provides tax benefits over time through depreciation.

Generally fully deductible in the year they are incurred.

Effect on Cash Flow

Usually results in a significant outflow of cash but benefits are spread over several years.

Regular and recurring expenses, impacting the operational cash flow of the business.

Read in detail: Difference Between Capital and Revenue Expenditure 

Accounting Treatment of Capital

The accounting treatment of capital, especially when contributed by owners or shareholders, involves recording the capital as equity in the company's balance sheet. Here's how it's typically done:

Accounting Treatment:

Initial Capital Contribution:

When a business starts, the owner's or shareholders' contributions are recorded as capital. It increases the equity of the business and its cash or assets.

Journal Entry:




  Amount (Dr.)

Amount (Cr.)


Cash/Bank A/C                                                     Dr.             

             To, Capital A/C (Owner's Equity or Shareholders' Equity)

(Being capital contributed by the Owner)




Additional Capital Contributions:

If more capital is injected into the business later, it's also recorded as an increase in equity.

Journal Entry remains the same as the initial contribution.

Withdrawal of Capital:

If the owner withdraws funds from the business, it's recorded as a reduction in equity.

Journal Entry:




  Amount (Dr.)

Amount (Cr.)


Capital A/C                                                     Dr.             

             To, Cash/Bank A/C

(Being capital withdrawn from the business)





Suppose Mr. A starts a business and invests ₹1,00,000 as initial capital.

Initial Capital Contribution Journal Entry:

Debit: Cash Account ₹1,00,000 (Cash increases as it's an asset)

Credit: Mr. A’s Capital Account ₹1,00,000 (Owner’s equity increases)




  Amount (Dr.)

Amount (Cr.)


Cash/Bank A/C                                                     Dr.             

             To, Mr. A’s Capital  

(Being capital contributed by Mr. A)




Additional Capital Contributions:

This entry reflects the increase in both the business's assets (cash) and the owner's equity (capital account). The capital account on the balance sheet represents the owner's claim or stake in the business. As the business operates, earns profits, or incurs losses, this capital account will change, reflecting the ongoing financial position of the owner's interest in the business.

Final Thoughts!

Understanding capital in accounting is fundamental for any business. It involves identifying various types of capital, methods of raising it, and distinguishing between capital and revenue expenditure. The structure of business capital, which balances equity and debt, is pivotal for financial stability. Proper accounting treatment of capital, crucial for accurate financial reporting, reflects the health and potential of a business's operations and growth strategies.

Top FAQs on Capital in Accounting

What is Capital in Accounting?

Capital in accounting refers to the financial resources or funds that owners put into their business. It's the money used to start and sustain operations, purchase assets, and ensure business growth.

What are the types of Capital in Accounting?

There are several types, including equity capital (funds invested by owners or shareholders), debt capital (borrowed funds like loans or bonds), and working capital (funds used for day-to-day operations).

How is Capital shown in Financial Statements?

Capital is shown in the balance sheet under shareholders' equity. It includes initial investments, additional paid-in capital, and retained earnings.

Why is Capital important in Accounting?

Capital is crucial as it provides the necessary financial resources for a business to operate, grow, and fulfill its objectives. It's also a key indicator of a company's financial health.

About the Author
Chanchal Aggarwal
Senior Executive Content

Chanchal is a creative and enthusiastic content creator who enjoys writing research-driven, audience-specific and engaging content. Her curiosity for learning and exploring makes her a suitable writer for a variety ... Read Full Bio