What Is a Retained Earnings Statement?

What Is a Retained Earnings Statement?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

A Retained Earnings Statement is a financial document that highlights the changes in a company’s retained earnings over a specific period of time. This period is usually the duration of a fiscal year. The statement tracks profit retained by a company, reporting the amounts of net income and dividends. Net income is profits that a company makes after accounting for all types of expenses. Dividends, on the other hand, are payouts that a company gives to its shareholders from its profits.

The Retained Earnings Statement usually starts with the beginning balance of retained earnings, to which net income is added, and dividends along with any other adjustments are subtracted. The result is the ending balance of retained earnings. Understanding this statement helps to gauge a company’s profitability, dividend distribution, and money reserved for reinvestment or to pay debts.

Related Questions

1. What information can be gleaned from a Retained Earnings Statement?

A Retained Earnings Statement provides insights into a company’s financial health. It reveals the company’s profits and how much of these profits are reinvested back into the company rather than distributed to shareholders as dividends. This will tell us about a company’s profitability, ability to reinvest, and cash management.

Want More Financial Tips?

Get Our Best Stuff First (for FREE)
We respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe anytime.

2. How is the Retained Earnings Statement different from a Balance Sheet?

A Balance Sheet provides a broader picture of a company’s financial health, including assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity. The Retained Earnings Statement, on the other hand, focuses specifically on changes in retained earnings. It is a part of shareholders’ equity and is included in the balance sheet.

3. How are dividends related to a Retained Earnings Statement?

Dividends represent a portion of a company’s earnings that are distributed to shareholders. On the Retained Earnings Statement, dividends are subtracted from net income to calculate the ending balance of retained earnings. A higher amount of dividends will reduce the retained earnings balance.

4. How is a Retained Earnings Statement useful for investors?

Investors rely on a Retained Earnings Statement to understand a company’s ability to generate profit and reinvest it back into the business. This information not only reveals a company’s profitability but also its financial resilience and growth potential. If a company has a record of increasing retained earnings, it could be a sign of financial stability and profitability.

5. What does a negative Retained Earnings Statement mean?

A negative Retained Earnings Statement indicates a deficit, which could mean the company has incurred more losses than profits over time or paid out too many dividends. It’s a red flag and signals the need for further assessment of the company’s financial health and profitability.