In accounting, equity (or owner's equity) is the difference between the value of the assets and the value of the liabilities of something owned. It is governed by the following equation:
equity = assets value − liabilities
For example, if someone owns a car worth $15,000 (an asset), but owes $5,000 on a loan against that car (a liability), the car represents $10,000 of equity. Equity can be negative if liabilities exceed assets. Shareholders' equity (or stockholders' equity, shareholders' funds, shareholders' capital or similar terms) represents the equity of a company as divided among shareholders of common or preferred stock. Negative shareholders' equity is often referred to as a shareholders' deficit.
Alternatively, equity can also refer to a corporation's share capital (capital stock in American English). The value of the share capital depends on the corporation's future economic prospects. For a company in liquidation proceedings, the equity is that which remains after all liabilities have been paid.