what are retained earnings

By understanding how much money the company has at its disposal, businesses can determine how much they can spend on things like new equipment or research and development projects. Additionally, businesses can use their retained earnings to invest in areas that may be underperforming or in need of improvement. If you use accounting software to track your company’s revenues, expenses, and other transactions, the software will handle the calculation for you when it generates your financial statements. When operating expenses exceed the gross profit of a sale, you can become trapped in a repetitive cycle.

Retained earnings are the portion of a company’s cumulative profit that is held or retained and saved for future use. Retained earnings could be used for funding an expansion or paying dividends to shareholders at a later date. Retained earnings are related to net income because it’s the net income amount saved by a company over time.


For this reason, retained earnings decrease when a company either loses money or pays dividends and increase when new profits are created. Another example is Apple, which has one of the largest retained earnings balances of any company. Apple has used its retained earnings to fund research and development of new products and technologies, allowing the company to remain competitive and innovative in the tech industry.

If a company has strong retained earnings, it may have the financial capacity to fund growth and expansion initiatives, which can help to increase its competitiveness and profitability over the long-term. Retained earnings and dividends are both important aspects of a company’s financial health, but they serve different purposes and have different impacts on the company and its shareholders. If your company has a dividend policy and you paid out dividends in that accounting period, subtract that number from net income. You’ll find retained earnings listed as a line item on a company’s balance sheet under the shareholders’ equity section.

What is current ratio and how to calculate it

Net income is often called the bottom line since it sits at the bottom of the income statement and provides detail on a company’s earnings after all expenses have been paid. Any net income not paid to shareholders at the end of a reporting period retained earnings becomes retained earnings. Retained earnings are then carried over to the balance sheet, reported under shareholder’s equity. Retained earnings can typically be found on a company’s balance sheet in the shareholders’ equity section.

what are retained earnings

Doing so will ensure that your company uses its earnings efficiently and maintains the right balance between growth and profitability. This financial metric is just as important as net income, and it’s essential to understand what it is and how to calculate it. This article breaks down everything you need to know about retained earnings, including its formula and examples.

Different Financial Statements

There are only three items that impact retained earnings, net income, cash dividends, and stock dividends. Retained earnings, as the name suggests, are the sum that a company retains after meeting all its financial liabilities, including the payment of the shareholders. This retained income is the amount companies use for reinvestment, which means utilizing the money back into the business. These earnings form a part of the shareholders’ equity section of the balance sheet.

what are retained earnings