Statement of Retained Earnings: Definition and Examples

The statement of retained earnings is a financial statement prepared by corporations that details changes in the volume of retained earnings over some period. Retained earnings are profits held by a company in reserve in order to invest in future projects rather than distribute as dividends to shareholders.

The Statement of Retained Earnings

What is a statement of retained earnings?

A statement of retained earnings depicts how a company’s retained earnings have changed over a specific time period. While many businesses prefer to provide a separate retained earnings statement, some businesses list the retained earnings as part of a longer balance sheet. This statement may also be referred to as an equity statement or a statement of owners equity.

What are retained earnings?

The profits that remain after a company has distributed any dividends to stockholders are known as retained earnings. Businesses are permitted to distribute shares of their profits, known as dividends, to their shareholders following a financial reporting period, typically a quarter or a year. After this step, if there is a surplus, the business has retained earnings.

This figure is one way to assess a company’s financial health. High retained earnings are seen by investors as a sign that a company is expanding and has extra cash to reinvest. Retained earnings can be invested back into a company’s operations in a number of ways, including:

Purpose of using a statement of retained earnings

A statement of retained earnings can help financial professionals:

When to use a retained earnings statement

A retained earnings statement can be used each period by those who are concerned about a company’s financial health, such as investors, owners, and accountants, to assess a company’s development. Higher retained earnings are typically viewed by financial professionals as a positive sign for a company’s future, but there are some other factors to take into account when reading the statement, including the company’s:

How to create a statement of retained earnings

The steps listed below can be used to create a statement of retained earnings:

1. Gather relevant information

You can find some important factors to aid your calculations before creating a statement of retained earnings, including:

2. Calculate retained earnings

Utilizing the following formula, you can determine the new retained earnings amount:

Beginning period retained earnings plus net income minus dividends equals retained earnings.

The formula above assumes a net profit, but you can use the modified formula instead if you’re working with a net loss:

Dividends minus net loss minus beginning period retained earnings equals retained earnings.

3. Create table or sheet

Following your calculations, you can compile your data into a neat table or sheet. To assist investors or other interested parties in finding the necessary information, you can include the final retained earnings and provide your calculations.

Example statements of retained earnings

A company can display a net profit, a net loss, and a net loss resulting in a deficit on a statement of retained earnings. Here are examples of each:

Net profit

Here is an illustration of a statement of retained earnings for a business that has generated a profit:

Net loss

In the event that a company incurs a net loss, it may still be able to pay dividends with its remaining retained earnings from the prior period. Here is an example statement showing a net loss:


A company is in deficit if its losses exceed its initial retained earnings. An example of that might look like this:


Where is retained earnings statement?

How to prepare a statement of retained earnings in 5 steps
  1. Add the heading. At the top, add a three-line heading.
  2. Record the previous year’s balance. This is the first line item.
  3. Add net income. Find net income on your income statement.
  4. Subtract any dividends paid out to shareholders. …
  5. Calculate the total retained earnings.

What is an example of retained earnings?

At the conclusion of each accounting period, retained earnings are shown on a balance sheet in the shareholder’s equity section. The beginning retained earnings balance is added to the net income or loss, and dividend payments are then subtracted from the result to determine retained earnings.

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