Understanding Capital Account

DailyForex.com Team

Capital Account

The capital of a business is its resources and funds. Capital can be cash, equipment, accounts receivable, real estate, or apartment buildings.

Capital can also mean the money made by a company or organization or the securities of a founder of the company.

In this article, we will go deeper into the details of capital accounts – their definition, importance, modus operandi, and a few examples. So, let’s get started!

What is Capital Account? Definition and Explanation

Our comprehensive article is written to give readers an understanding of what a capital account is and how to differentiate it from other accounts.

Capital Account Definition and Examples

A capital record can be counted as a general ledger account which is composed of the classification of balance sheets in bookkeeping:

  • Homeowners' capital (sole proprietorship)
  • Equity of stockholders (in a corporation)
  • Capital Account Examples

The below-mentioned capital accounts will be part of J. Lee's single-person business:

  • J. Lee, Capital, which goes up by the amount J. Lee put into the business and each financial reporting period's net income. It goes down by the account's current liability.
  • J. Lee, Drawing, is a current asset that keeps track of the owner's withdrawals over the course of the year. The account's negative balance will be transferred to the owner's capital bank at the conclusion of the year.

Understanding Capital Account

In global macroeconomic policy, a capital account serves as a component of the BOP aka balance of payments that keeps a record of every transaction between companies in one nation and companies in other countries.

Exports and imports of products, services, and funds, as well as transfers of money like remittances and foreign aid, are all part of these exchanges. The BOP = is made up of a capital account plus a current account.

A more precise definition breaks a capital account into a capital account plus a financial account. A capital account shows how the nation's possession of assets fluctuates over years, while a current account shows how much money the country makes overall.

In financial statements, a company's net worth at a certain juncture is shown by its capital account. This is also called the founder's equity of a sole owner or a stockholders' equity of the corporate entity. It is listed at the bottom of the financial statements.

Major highlights

  • On a federal level, the BOP for a nation is shown by its capital account.
  • A capital account shows how a country's assets and debts change over the course of a year.
  • Economic experts will be able to tell if a nation is a net exporter or importer of capital by looking at the balance of its capital account.

How is Capital Account Calculated?

Modifications in a country's BOP can show how healthy its economy is and how stable it would be in the long term.

A capital account shows if a country brings in or sends out money. Big shifts in a nation's capital account could show how appealing it is to international investors and could have a big impact on the exchange rate rates.

Since all of the money transfers in the BOP add up to zero, countries like the USA, which have big trade deficits (called "current account deficits") must also have big capital account excesses. This is because more foreigners are buying up domestic assets.

It implies that more money is entering this country than leaving it. A nation with a massive trade surplus exports capital and has a capital account gap. This means that money is leaving the country to buy more foreign assets.

It's worth remembering that the trade deficit in the US is caused by the fact that international investors find U.S. resources very appealing, which drives up the dollar's valuation.

If foreign investors were less interested in investing in the U.S., the dollar might deteriorate and the trade gap would go down.

Calculation of Capital Account

  • The money that the owner puts in is incorporated in the account. This could be a one-time payment when the owner first joins the company, or payments made later if needed or agreed upon by the owner.
  • At the close of a fiscal year, the percentage of the gains or losses is added to the account.
  • Also, any money the company's owners get for their own use is taken out of the account.

Compare Capital Account with Current Account and Financial Account

Capital Vs Financial Accounts

In the past few years, numerous countries have switched to the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) stricter definition of the capital account. 

It divides a capital account further into the financial account and capital account.  The net inflows of funds are measured by the capital plus financial accounts.

The difference between a nation's economic foreign assets and its foreign debts is called its net foreign investment position, or just its net foreign assets. This shows how much a country is owned by the entire world.

If a country owes more money to other nations than vice versa, it is defined as a net lender and has more money owed to it than it owes to others. If negative, it is counted as a net borrower. The capital, as well as the financial account, demonstrate how the status evolves over time.

A financial account shows how the amount of assets owned by people, enterprises, authorities, or central global banks goes up or down. Foreign investment, securities such as bonds and stocks, gold, and foreign currency reserves are all examples of these assets.

According to this description, a capital account serves as a way to track banking transactions that don't affect earnings, production, or cash reserves. For example, financial transactions of oil exploration, copyrights, and trademarks are examples of these exchanges.

Capital Vs Current Accounts

The two parts of a country's BOP are the current account and the capital account. The current account shows a nation's net revenue over a timeframe, whereas a capital account shows how the country's assets and debts changed over the course of a year.

In terms of economics, a current account is about money coming in and going out and non-capital products.

A capital account is about where capital comes from and how it is used. In the BOP, the total of current accounts and capital accounts is always zero. Any excess or deficiency in any current account is canceled out by a deficit or surplus in a capital account that is the same amount.

A current account is a nation's short-term exchanges or the variation between its investments and savings. They are also called "actual transactions" because the flow of services and goods within an economy has a real impact on earnings, outcomes, and employment growth.

The viewable trade (exports and imports of goods), the hidden trade (exports and imports of services), remittances, and investment income make up the current account.

The balance of a current account also keeps track of how much foreign currency is going in and out of the country because of these transactions. The total of the balance of trade is about the same as the resultant balance of a current account.

How is Capital Account Controlled in Accounting?

Accounting uses capital accounts. In financial reporting, a capital account serves as a regular ledger account, which keeps track of how much money the owners have put into the business and how much money the business has kept for itself.

Retained earnings are the total sum of a firm’s income because it is determined after subtracting the total payment of dividends to shareholders. It is written at the end of the equity section of the balance sheet of a company.

This part is called the owner's equity in a sole proprietor and the shareholder's equity in a corporate entity. The equity section of a company's balance sheet is usually broken up into accounts for common stock, extra paid-in capital, preferred stock, treasury stock, and retained earnings.

Except for treasury stock, which has an innate debit balance, all of these accounts possess a normal credit balance. The total number of shares of both preferred and common stock stockholders is written down as their par value.

The amount that shareholders have put into the business over and above the stock's par value is called "additional paid-in capital."

Retained earnings are the firm's income over time, minus any dividend payments to shareholders, which have been put back into the company's business. A firm's share repurchases are recorded in the treasury stock account, which serves as the contra equity account.

How Important is a Capital Account?

Whenever you want a loan from a bank to open a company, the bank will want to know how much you have already put into the business. If the owner doesn't care about the business, s/he can leave the suitcase with the cash and walk out the door.

When you start a business, you should spend some cash to get things going. You might have to get a personal loan to get the funds you require to invest in this company.


We hope the above guide has given you an overview of capital accounts. For any additional queries, you can leave your questions in the comments section below.


What makes up a capital account?

Foreign investment as well as loans, financial institutions, additional types of capital, and changes in money or the trade balance, are all parts of the capital account. Capital inflows are made up of things like business loans, bank deposits, investments, loan repayments, and capital.

What does a capital account mean on a tax return?

On the balance sheet of the company, the capital account of the owner is called the owner's account. Partners hold capital accounts in a company and a limited liability partnership (LLP) company. When a person joins, they put money into the business. This is called investing in the business.

DailyForex.com Team
The DailyForex.com team is comprised of analysts and researchers from around the world who watch the market throughout the day to provide you with unique perspectives and helpful analysis that can help improve your Forex trading.

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