Keeping Paid-in Capital Separate from Earned Capital
What is owner’s equity?
Owners’ equity refers to the interest that common stockholders and preferred stockholders have in a company. Stockholders are individuals who have paid-in capital to a company to provide funding intended to be used for operations of the business. Below is a discussion of the importance of keeping paid-in capital separate from earned capital. In addition, an analysis of whether paid-in capital or earned capital is more important to an investor; and from an investor’s perspective, whether basic or diluted earnings per share is most important.
Importance of keeping paid-in capital separate from earned capital:
Paid-in capital is the funding provided to a firm from the sale of capital stock; while earned capital is money that the firm earns as a result of profitable operations. It is important to keep these two forms of capital separate because they represent to distinctive sources of funding. Paid-in capital represents new money intended to aid the firm in increasing their earned capital. Earned capital represents the firm’s profits from operations. To combine the two would misrepresent the earning potential from operations.
Paid-in or Earned Capital?
From an investor’s perspective, it is far more important that a company earns money from operations rather than the sale of stock. The amount of earned capital that a firm reports in their financial statements shows stockholders the value of their investment. Whereas a firm that continuously reported paid-in capital in excess of earned capital, would not be perceived as a good investment opportunity.
Basic or Diluted Earnings Per Share?
Diluted earnings per share shows the investor all potential dilutive common shares that were outstanding during the period. As an investor, inspecting the diluted earnings per share is ideal because this calculation also shows the basic earnings per share – net income (preferred dividends) divided by the weighted-average shares outstanding, plus the earnings per share less any convertibles and impact of options, warrants, and other dilutive securities.
Paid-in capital is kept separate from earned capital to prevent misinterpreting sources where operational funding originated. Investors are most likely to be more concerned with a firm’s earned capital in comparison to its paid-in capital. This is due to the fact that earned capital represents the earning capabilities of the firm. Diluted earnings show a more detailed explanation of basic earnings per share calculations, including the impacts that dilutive securities can have on earnings.