The Accountants’ Perspective

Equity financing, simply put is raising capital through the sale of shares in an enterprise i.e. the sale of an ownership interest to raise funds for business purposes with the purchasers of the shares being referred as shareholders. In addition to voting rights, shareholders benefit from share ownership in the form of dividends and (hopefully) eventually selling the shares at a profit.

Debt financing on the other hand occurs when a firm raises money for working capital or capital expenditures by selling bonds, bills or notes to individuals and/or institutional investors. In return for lending the money, the individuals or institutions become creditors and receive a promise the principal and interest on the debt will be repaid, later.

Most companies use a combination of debt and equity financing, but the Accountant shares a perspective which can be considered as distinct advantages of equity financing over debt financing. Principal among them are the fact that equity financing carries no repayment obligation and that it provides extra working capital that can be used to grow a company’s business.

Why opt for equity financing?
• Interest is considered a fixed cost which has the potential to raise a company’s break-even point and as such high interest during difficult financial periods can increase the risk of insolvency. Too highly leveraged (that have large amounts of debt as compared to equity) entities for instance often find it difficult to grow because of the high cost of servicing the debt.

Adverse Implications
Despite these merits, it will be so misleading to think that equity financing is 100% safe. Consider these
• Profit sharing i.e. investors expect and deserve a portion of profit gained after any given financial year just like the tax man. Business managers who do not have the appetite to share profits will see this option as a bad decision. It could also be a worthwhile trade-off if value of their financing is balanced with the right acumen and experience, however, this is not always the case.
• There is a potential dilution of shareholding or loss of control, which is generally the price to pay for equity financing. A major financing threat to start-ups.
• There is also the potential for conflict because sometimes sharing ownership and having to work with others could lead to some tension and even conflict if there are differences in vision, management style and ways of running the business.
• There are several industry and regulatory procedures that will need to be adhered to in raising equity finance which makes the process cumbersome and time consuming.