Lately, we’ve had a lot of questions around How Startups Record Equity on the Balance Sheet. So let’s break it down. There are 2 ways that Startups Record Equity on the Balance Sheet.
So technically you’re supposed to report the Equity section in 3 accounts:
GAAP accounting for the cost of raising capital
A note on recording the legal fees associated with the fundraise (and heavens knows that it costs serious legal $$ these days to raise VC funding): legal and other DIRECT costs associated with an equity fund raise should be capitalized and netted against APIC. There is no need to amortize this permanent equity cost. On the off chance that your startup raises debt, those costs would be amortized, generally based on the length of the loan.
Record each fundraising round as a new Equity account and net the Financing Costs against it, as seen below.
If you haven’t really calculated APIC, don’t include it on your Balance Sheet because it give the impression that you’ve calculated the (Issue Price – Par Value) * Basic Shares Outstanding.
Notice that once fundraising round is closed, new funds aren’t added to it. New funds are placed in a new fundraising Equity account. I grayed out the numbers to show that the account essentially remains dormant once the round is closed. The picture above shows you what the Balance Sheet would look like in a Perfect World, ie all investors deposit their funds within a short window. But we all know that there are always some early jumpers and laggards, and some funding rounds that last many quarters and other instances where a Series B hits just 6 months after a Series A. So in Real Life, the Balance Sheet tends to look like the picture below. The lesson being is that you should check with your cap table, founders, lawyers and accountants about any potential overlap of funding and place the funds according to the prescribed funding rounds.
Why do investors prefer to see the Equity section this way? Because it’s easily recognizable to them and is cost effective. Once you clear Series D, or your investors want to see APIC, or if your auditors demand it… then calculate APIC. It’ll take your accountants some time and will cost you $$$ (we’re happy to do the work if you’re happy to pay, but we also want to be hyper cognizant of cost/benefit relationships), but if it’s what the investors want, give the investors what they want.
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