Difference Between Debt and Equity (With Table)

Capital is a fundamental necessity of any corporate organization to meet both long-term and short-term financial demands. An entrepreneur can raise cash through either owned or borrowed means. Borrowed capital refers to a company’s owing cash, often known as debt whereas, owned capital can take equity.

Debt vs Equity

The difference between debt and equity is that “Debt” refers to borrowing money that must be repaid with interest, whereas “equity” refers to generating funds by selling stock in the firm. To grow, business owners must access financial resources. Business owners can use a range of financial resources, which are classified initially as debt and equity.

Many firms and individuals use debt to make large purchases that they would not undertake otherwise. Many businesses and people utilize debt to make significant purchases that they would not make under normal circumstances. A debt agreement allows the borrowing party to borrow money on the condition that it be paid back later, generally with interest.

Equity, also known as shareholders’ equity (or owners’ equity for privately owned firms), is the amount of money returned to a company’s shareholders if all of its assets were liquidated and all of its debt was paid off in the event of dissolution. In the case of an acquisition, it represents the worth of the business’s sales less any obligations owing by the company that was not transferred with the transaction.

Comparison Table Between Debt and Equity

Parameters Of ComparisonDebtEquity
DefinitionDebt refers to funds owing by the firm to another party. Equity refers to funds raised by a firm via the issuance of shares.
TermShort Term Long Term
Holder’s StatusLenderProprietor
Nature Of ReturnRegular and FixedIrregular and Variable
CollateralIt is necessary to acquire loans, but cash can also be raised in other ways.Not required

What is Debt?

Debt is money raised by the firm in the form of borrowed capital. It denotes that the firm owes money to another individual or organization. They are the least expensive source of funding since their cost of capital is lower than that of equity and preference shares. Debt financing funds must be repaid once the specified time has expired.

Debt includes things like term loans, debentures, and bonds. Financial institutions or banks provide term loans, whilst debentures and bonds are offered to the general public. Debenture issuance with a credit rating is required. They are subject to fixed interest, which necessitates prompt payments. Because the interest is tax-deductible, the tax advantage is also accessible. However, the existence of the debt in the company’s capital structure might result in financial leverage.

Debt can be both secured and unsecured. Secured debt necessitates the pledge of an asset as security. If the money is not repaid within a reasonable period, the lender can forfeit the item and collect the money. In unsecured debt, there is no requirement to pledge any asset to obtain the cash. The loan terms also stipulate the amount of interest that the borrower is required to pay annually, expressed as a percentage of the loan amount. Interest is used to reward the lender for taking on the risk of the loan, as well as to encourage the borrower to return the loan soon in order to reduce his overall interest expenditure.

What is Equity?

In finance, equity refers to a company’s net worth. It is a source of long-term capital. It is the owner’s money that is divided into shares. An investor who invests in equity receives an equal share of ownership in the firm where he has placed his money. Investing in stock is more expensive than investing in debt.

Ordinary shares, preference shares, and reserve and surplus are all components of equity. The dividend is intended to be given to stockholders as a return on investment. Ordinary shares (equity shares) have no set or periodic dividends, whereas preference shares have fixed returns on investment but are also irregular.
Investment in equity shares is the riskiest because, in the company’s insolvency, they will be reimbursed after all other stakeholders’ debts have been discharged. There are no fixed payments among equity owners. Thus dividend payments are entirely optional. Aside from that, equity stockholders would only be paid off at the moment of liquidation, while preference shares will be redeemed after a set length of time.

Equity is significant because it indicates the value of an investor’s interest in a firm, which is reflected by the proportionate part of its shares. Shareholders of a company’s stock have the opportunity for financial gains as well as dividends. Shareholders will also vote on company activities and elections for the board of directors if they own stock. These equity ownership benefits encourage shareholders to remain invested in the firm.

Main Differences Between Debt and Equity

  1. Debt is the company’s responsibility that must be paid off after a certain length of time. Equity is money a firm obtains by offering shares to the general public that may be retained for a long time.
  2. Debt is a borrowed fund, whereas equity is money that is held.
  3. Debt is money owing by a firm to another person or organization. Equity, on the other hand, represents the company’s capital.
  4. Debt may only be held for a specific time and must be repaid when the term expires whereas, equity does not have any bounded time limit for payment.
  5. Debt holders are creditors, whereas equity holders are the company’s owners.


It is critical for all businesses to maintain a balance of debt and equity money. The optimum debt-equity ratio is 2:1, which means that equity should always be twice as significant as debt; only then can it be expected that the firm can adequately cover its losses.
Finally, the choice between debt and equity financing is determined by the type of firm and if the benefits exceed the dangers. Investigate the industry norms and what your rivals are doing. Examine a variety of financial products to see which one best meets your needs. If you are thinking about selling shares, make sure you do it legally to keep control of your firm.


  1. https://www.nber.org/system/files/chapters/c4790/c4790.pdf
  2. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-financial-and-quantitative-analysis/article/debt-versus-equity-under-asymmetric-information/1FB8C4777071EA29CE270257981DCDEE
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