Blog Detail

How to prepare a statement of retained earnings for your business


It is crucial because hope that stock ownership will reward them either from dividends, or from increases in stock share price, or both. A company can dive into the retained earnings to pay dividends to the shareholders when it cannot generate enough profit. If you have investors to whom you pay dividends, you would subtract the amount of dividends paid in this step. If you own a very small business or are a sole proprietor, you can skip this step. You’ll also need to calculate your net income or net loss for the period for which you are preparing your statement of retained earnings.

  • In a similar manner, the ending retained earnings balance is carried forward to the balance sheet.
  • Let’s say you’re preparing a statement of retained earnings for 2021.
  • Retained earnings increase when profits increase; they fall when profits fall.
  • Using the retained earnings, shareholders can find out how much equity they hold in the company.
  • In the next accounting cycle, the RE ending balance from the previous accounting period will now become the retained earnings beginning balance.

Rely on the premier business encyclopedia to sharpen your grasp of essential business concepts, terms, and skills. Metrics are crucial for business planning, making informed decisions, defining strategic targets, and measuring performance. Firstly, to enable shareholders to make informed decisions when electing directors. Investors regard some mature, established firms, as reliable sources of dividend income. A company may resort to careless spending of funds if the purpose of retained earnings is not defined clearly. It is also used in the distribution of profit among the shareholders.

How Do You Prepare a Statement of Retained Earnings?

This document does the reconciliation of retained earnings for the starting and ending period. It uses crucial insights like net income recorded in other financial statements for doing the reconciliation of data. The statement of retained earnings follows GAAP, commonly known as generally accepted accounting principles. The statement of retained earnings has other names such as the statement of owners equity, statement of shareholders equity, or an equity statement. For creditors, does the company still have some money left when it repays its debt? If there is no money left after dividends have been paid, then how is the company going to pay its debt?

The accumulated retained earnings balance for the previous year, which is the first line item on the statement of retained earnings, is on both the balance sheet and statement of retained earnings. The statement of retained earnings can be used to track the progress of a company over time. It can also be used to help assess whether a company is using its profits wisely or if it is distributing too much money to shareholders through dividends. Let’s prepare the income statement so we can see how Cheesy Chuck’s performed for the month of June See . For a given period of time, how much did the goods sold and services provided, sell for? These are the inflows to the business, and because the inflows relate to the primary purpose of the business , we classify those items as Revenues, Sales, or Fees Earned.

The statement of retained earnings may be useful for your business

These earnings can be used to fund future growth opportunities like new marketing initiatives like social media, state-of-the-art equipment, or investing within new target markets. Firms also publish financial statements that serve different audiences and other purposes. For more on financial statement audiences and purposes, see Materiality Concept.


If a business is not publicly traded, then its dividends would be paid to the owner of the firm. The income statement reports revenues and expenses for a specific period of time, typically a fiscal quarter or year. The bottom line on the income statement is net income, which is calculated by subtracting total expenses from total revenue. The total equity at the end of the reporting period should be the same amount of equity reported in the balance sheet for the same accounting period. The income statement for Cheesy Chuck’s shows the business had Net Income of $5,800 for the month ended June 30. This amount will be used to prepare the next financial statement, the statement of retained earnings.




Leave A Comment