Difference Between Debt and Equity (With Table)

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To meet both long and short-term financial requirements, capital is the fundamental requirement of every commercial entity. A business entity utilizes owned or borrowed assets to gain capital. Capital that is owned by an organization is what is known as equity, while capital that has been obtained through borrowing entails the organization’s owed funds which are just a debt.

Debt vs Equity

The debt, however, is the amount of money lent by the creditor or third sources to the company and will be repaid, together with the interest, over the years. Equity is valuable for those who choose to go public and transfer the organization’s shares to other people.

For an IPO to be conducted, an organization must incur a range of expenses. The situation is very different in the case of a debt. For two primary factors, businesses opt for debt. First, the firm will take a portion of the debt and build leverage if it went through the equity path.

Secondly, often companies do not wish to endure the difficult IPO phase and instead want a means of taking debts from banks or financial institutions. This write-up will discuss the difference between the two terms.


Comparison Table Between Debt and Equity (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonDebtEquity
MeaningThe debt is regarded as a loan and only the loan plus the interest will be claimed by creditors.It involves sharing the organization’s equity with people, who will earn dividends and voting privileges.
InvolvementLess because there is no sharing of ownership.More since equity investment requires sharing shares.
Cost of CapitalThe cost of capital is defined / Pre-determined.Non-fixed capital cost.
Voting rightsCreditors have no voting privileges.Equity holders are entitled to vote.
DividendsThere is no provision of a dividend.Once an organization decides, a dividend is provided.
LeverageThere is leverage creation well known as financial leverage.There is no leverage created.


What is Debt?

The cash earned through borrowing capital by an Organization is regarded as debt. It means that a business entity owes money to someone else or company. These are the most favorable funding source since their capital expenses are below the expense of equities and preference shares. Debt-financing resources must be paid back after the expiration of a certain term.

Debt may be like term loans, shares, or debentures. Financial companies or governments are the major sources of term loans, and bonds and debentures are sold to the public. For public issuance of debentures, the credit rating is needed.

You have set interest, which has to be charged in due time. The profit is tax-deductible in fact, and there is always the tax gain. But debts contribute to financial leverage in the organization’s capital structure.

Debt may or may not be secured. Secured debt involves a pledging of an asset to allow the lender to forfeit the asset and to reclaim the cash if the loan is not returned in a reasonable period. There is no responsibility to pledge money to receive the funds in the case of unsecured debt.


What is Equity?

In finance, equity relates to the organization’s Net Worth. This is the hub of constant capital. It is the assets of the owner which are split into certain shares. Every individual gets every fair share of the equity of the business in which he invests his capital when it comes to investing in equity. The equity expenditure is more than the debt expenditure.

Common shares, preference shares, and reserve & surplus constitute equity. As a return on their savings, the dividend is paid to the owners. The ordinary shares dividend (equity shares) is non-fixed and not periodic, while preference shares have fixed investment returns, but they are often unpredictable.

However, the dividend is tax-free. Investment into equity shares is a dangerous one, in the case of the organization’s liquidation; they must be paid in the end when the other creditors’ debts are discharged. In equity shareholders, there are no committed payments i.e. dividend payment is voluntary.

Besides, the equity shareholders will be paid back only at the point of liquidation, while the preference shares will be disbursed after a defined duration.

Main Differences Between Debt and Equity

  1. Debt is the responsibility of the organization to repay after a certain duration. The cash raised by the organization, which can be retained for lengthy periods by selling shares to the general public, is regarded as equity.
  2. Debt involves borrowing cash while equity is regarded as cash that is owned.
  3. The debt represents money owed to another individual or organization by a company. Equity, on the other hand, represents the company’s own money.
  4. Debt can be kept for a specific amount of time and will be paid back after this duration has elapsed. Equity, nevertheless, may be retained for a long time.
  5. Profit on debt is referred to as interest. Concerning equity returns, the payout is referred to as dividends.
  6. Debt returns are fixed and regular, however, in the case of equity returns, it is quite the reverse.
  7. Debt may or may not be secured, while equity has always been unsecured.



All the key variations between debt and equity are now clear to you if you have gone through the entire write-up. Both are essential for any business entity. Therefore, it is needless to think about which is more important. We should instead address the degree to which an organization should utilize them.

The business needs to agree about how much new equity investment shares it will offer and how much secured or unsecured debt it can take out of the bank, depending on the sector and the capital intensity of the business.

It is not always possible to find an equilibrium between debt and equity. However, businesses should be cautious not to spend too much of the capital expenditure and take advantage of the leverage at the same time.



  1. https://academic.oup.com/qje/article-abstract/109/4/1027/1866393
  2. https://www.nber.org/chapters/c4790.pdf