Passifs (capitaux étrangers)

18:39 Aug 11, 2020
French to English translations [PRO]
Bus/Financial - Accounting / Balance sheet (Switzerland)
French term or phrase: Passifs (capitaux étrangers)
This is a heading in the liabilities part of the balance sheet of an S.A. The items that follow are debts for services, a debt to a subsidiary and a provision for taxes.

There appears to be nothing "foreign" about them as they are all in Swiss currency and owing within Switzerland.

Does anyone know the correct accountancy term? Please don't guess.
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:33

Summary of answers provided
4Liabilities (debts)
Julie Barber
4 -1Liabilities and Equity (Equity)
Cyril Tollari
4 -1liabilities (foreign funds)
Francois Boye
3 -1borrowed capital
Marco Solinas

Discussion entries: 9



7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -1
liabilities (foreign funds)

In Switzerland, there must be a breakdown of the firm's financing into national and foreign funds

Vue d’ensemble du passif : fonds propres et fonds étrangers

Le passif se compose de fonds propres et de fonds étrangers. Les fonds étrangers sont divisés en passif à court et à long terme. Cette répartition vous permet de grossièrement reconnaître la structure de financement relative à une période. La position « Fonds étrangers à court terme » récapitule par exemple les comptes « créanciers », les « dettes bancaires à court terme » et le « compte de régularisation des passifs ». Les comptes sont exécutés au moyen d’écritures qui se répartissent essentiellement en opérations de dépôt et de retrait. Les engagements à long terme comprennent entre autres les positions de « Créance hypothécaire » et de « Dettes bancaires à long terme ». Les délais de paiement de ces positions sont plus étendus que ceux de la dette à court terme. Cette comparaison rend évidents le financement à long ou à court terme et le risque de financement de l’entreprise. Les sommes des comptes respectifs diffèrent selon l’industrie, notamment parce que les grandes entreprises industrielles se refinancent plutôt sur le long terme.


Francois Boye
United States
Local time: 11:33
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 120
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thanks Francois. I understand the distinction but is "foreign" really the correct term in English, since these are all domestic (Swiss) liabilities?

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  philgoddard: Your reference is helpful, but you've misunderstood "étranger".
1 hr
  -> See my response to Asker

disagree  Cyril Tollari: Absolutely not. I don't usually put a disagree, but this is plain wrong.
1 day 17 hrs
  -> see my response to Asker
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10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): -1
borrowed capital

Or "outside capital (funds)".
For a definition of "capital étranger", see pages 8 and 16 of
It is the capital that comes from outside sources (not necessarily from foreign sources).

Note added at 11 mins (2020-08-11 18:50:40 GMT)

I forgot the "Passifs" part. It is "Liabilities" of course.

Note added at 14 mins (2020-08-11 18:53:37 GMT)

To Asker: in both cases, the items that you mention have to be paid back. They are both debts, money that the company owes.

Note added at 19 mins (2020-08-11 18:58:44 GMT)

See also étranger

Marco Solinas
Local time: 08:33
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in ItalianItalian
PRO pts in category: 16
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thans Marco, but I don't see how a debt to an audit company (invoiced) and a provision for taxes can be "borrowed capital"

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  SafeTex: "Borrowed" doesn't make any sense here when we have services ordered and provisions for taxes. Did you mean sth like "outstanding liabilities"?
8 hrs

neutral  Cyril Tollari: I agree with borrowed capital as a possible translation for capitaux étrangers, but I disagree with translating Swiss Passif by liabilities only
1 day 17 hrs
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -1
Liabilities and Equity (Equity)

Passif = Equity + Liabilities = Capitaux propres (what you owe to the shareholders) + Capitaux étrangers (what you owe to creditors)

Note added at 1 hr (2020-08-11 19:57:56 GMT)

Sorry got mixed up. it should read Liabilities and Equity (Liabilities)

Note added at 1 hr (2020-08-11 20:18:30 GMT)

I got it right in the explanation though

Capitaux propres = Equity
Capitaux étrangers = Liabilities

Cyril Tollari
Local time: 17:33
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Francois Boye: Have you read anything about accounting in Switzerland?
6 days
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1 day 15 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
Liabilities (debts)

From the Swiss SME business portal, in French and English, regarding model balance sheets:

Les passifs différencient les fonds propres des fonds étrangers:

Les fonds étrangers (ou dettes) correspondent aux exigences des créanciers extérieurs concernant la fortune de l'entreprise. Les fonds étrangers sont classés selon l'échéance (les premières échéances sont en haut de la liste).

Par fonds propres (fortune nette) on entend les exigences des propriétaires concernant la fortune de l'entreprise. Dans le cas des sociétés anonymes, le capital-actions en fait partie; dans le cas des Sàrl, cela concerne le capital social, les deux réserves ainsi qu'un bénéfice reporté échéant.

A model balance sheet
Assets are separated into current assets and fixed assets:

Current assets include liquid assets (cash, post office and bank balances) and other items of wealth (client assets (debtors), inventories) that can be converted into cash in the short term (within one year).
Fixed assets comprise assets that are available to the company in the long term (generally over several years), for example for office set-up, commercial premises, equipment, etc.
The liabilities side differentiates between equity and debt capital:

Debt capital (or debts) corresponds to claims from external creditors vis-à-vis the company’s wealth. Debt capital is categorized according to maturity (maturities due first are at the top of the list).
Equity (net wealth) is understood to mean claims from owners’ vis-à-vis the company’s assets. For public limited companies, share capital is included; for limited liability companies, this includes share capital, both reserves and, where applicable, retained profit.

Julie Barber
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:33
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 27

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Cyril Tollari: Under current International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), liabilities and equity are distinguished. Your 2nd link is a Swiss site translated into English. It doesn't distinguish between equity and liabilities.
2 hrs
  -> Thanks. No, I put forward my answer after doing some research and seeing the Swiss business portal's translation of the term
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