What Is the Difference Between Share Capital and Liabilities?


The balance sheet, also known as the statement of financial position, is one of the annual financial reports that exhibit a company’s financial position as at the year-ended.

Share capital and liabilities are both line items of the balance sheet. The statement of financial position is based on the accounting equation, which is also referred to as the balance sheet equation for obvious reasons. The accounting equation is:

Difference Between Share Capital and Liabilities


Although both items are the balance sheet items, there is a number of areas that are different. In this article, we will discuss the detail of the difference between share capital and liabilities.

Now let start with a capital,

Share Capital:

For small entities, share capital is the owner’s contribution to the business, i.e., the owner’s amount in the industry.

However, for large organizations, share capital is a part of the equity raised by issuing shares. It refers to the amount of cash funded by potential investors, who later, after investing, become partial owners of the company.

The share capital is divided into several shares at par value, and each share represents ownership. The funds raised by equity financing are typically used to expand the business.

There are two major types of share capital:

  • Common Stock – Common or ordinary shareholders are the sole owners of the company and have voting rights at board meetings. They receive dividends but only when the company earns a profit. In the case of liquidation, ordinary shareholders are given the last preference i.e. they receive their share of liquidation profit after paying off all the other stakeholders of the company.
  • Preference Stock – Preference shareholders may or may not have voting rights. They receive fixed dividends, regardless of the company earning profits. In the case of liquidation, preference shareholders have a senior hand over the net assets than the ordinary shareholders.
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The liabilities of a company are the cash or amount that it has borrowed from other entities. These are obligations that the company has to perform in the near or later future. Liabilities are classified into two major types on the balance sheet; current liabilities and non-current liabilities.

  • Current Liabilities – These are short term debts that are to be paid off within a period of 12 months. Accounts payable, interest payable, and rent payable are a few examples of current liabilities.
  • Non-current Liabilities – These are debts that are to be paid off in the long run i.e. more than a year; for example, a bank loan.

Share Capital vs Liabilities:

Share capital and liabilities are both methods of acquiring cash to provide for the business but are obtained in highly different ways.

  • Share capital is the owners’ contribution or the funds raised by issuance of shares whereas liabilities are the amounts owed by the company to other entities.
  • Money raised through the issuance of share capital is owned by the company, whereas money obtained through credit or loan is the money of the lender that has to be returned along with interest.
  • Shareholders receive dividends whereas lenders receive interest. Also, usually in the case of current liabilities, no interest is charged.
  • In the case of liquidation, creditors are paid off from the net assets before the shareholders.
  • Shares can be sold and transferred whereas liabilities can not be sold and transferred.

Reviewed by Sinra