The ownership of more than 50% of voting stock creates a subsidiary.Its financial statements consolidate into the parent's.
When Company A (the investor) has significant influence over Company B (the investee)—but not majority voting power—Company A accounts for its investment in Company B using the equity method of accounting.
Equity accounting is usually applied where the entity holds 20–50% of voting stock, since this implies significant influence on the decisions of the associate by the holding company.
Equity accounting may also be appropriate where the holding falls outside this range and may be inappropriate for some entities within this range depending on the nature of the actual relationship between the investor and investee.
The ownership of less than 20% creates an investment position carried at historic book or fair market value (if available for sale or held for trading) in the investor's balance sheet.
This method, also known as the fair value method, applies when the investor does not have significant influence over the investee (as measured by voting power).