How To Calculate Retained Earnings in QuickBooks

Net income vs. retained earnings: The amount of net income that remains for the company after dividend payments to shareholders […]

Net income vs. retained earnings: The amount of net income that remains for the company after dividend payments to shareholders is known as retained earnings.

Every time your company turns a profit, retained earnings increase, and they decrease each time you take a portion of those profits and distribute them as dividends.


Net profits that the business chooses to reinvest rather than distribute to shareholders are known as retained earnings. Retained earnings are not included on the cash flow statement because it is unrelated to net cash flow.

Retained earnings are a popular method used by businesses to fund their operations since it eliminates the need for cash outflow and the introduction of new liabilities.

In contrast, your net income is the remaining amount after operational expenses are subtracted from revenue at the end of the month or year.

Read about: What is Retained Earnings in QuickBooks

Reasons Influencing the Calculation of Retained Earnings

The following data is shown in bullet points:

Net Profit or Loss:

  • Retained earnings increase when net income is positive.
  • Retained earnings are reduced by negative net income or net loss.

Example: If your company made a net profit of $10,000 this year, the retained earnings will increase by $10,000. If your company faced a net loss of $5,000, the retained earnings will decrease by $5,000.

Payment of Dividends:

  • Retained earnings are lowered by shareholder dividend payments.
  • Retained earnings decrease as payouts increase.

Example: If your company decides to distribute $3,000 in dividends to shareholders, the retained earnings will decrease by $3,000.

Reinvesting in the Company:

  • Retained earnings are boosted by profits held for future use.
  • Reinvesting gains in expansion projects increases retained earnings.

Example: If your company retains $8,000 to invest in a new project, this amount will be added to the retained earnings.

Economic Situation:

  • Retained earnings and profits rise during prosperous economic times.
  • Reduced profits and retained earnings are the result of economic downturns.

Example: During a booming economy, your company’s net income may increase, thus increasing retained earnings. Conversely, during a recession, lower profits may result in reduced retained earnings.

Efficiency in Operations:

  • Net income and retained earnings rise with efficient operations.
  • Higher retained earnings are a result of streamlined procedures.

Example: If your company reduces operational costs and improves efficiency, leading to higher net income, the retained earnings will increase.

Costs of Debt and Interest:

  • Debt interest payments reduce retained earnings and net income.
  • The amount of retained earnings is affected by debt management.

Example: Paying $2,000 in interest on a loan will reduce your net income and, consequently, the retained earnings.

Policy for Taxation:

  • Net income and retained earnings are impacted by tax changes.
  • The amount of retained earnings that the business can accrue is impacted by taxes.

Example: If a new tax policy increases your company’s tax liability by $1,000, this will reduce your net income and retained earnings.

Industry and Rivalries:

  • Retained earnings and profit margins might be lowered by industry difficulties.
  • Stable retained earnings are bolstered by proficient industry navigation.

Example: If a new competitor enters the market, reducing your company’s market share and profits, retained earnings may decrease.

Effective Growth Techniques:

  • Increased retained earnings and net income are results of successful expansion initiatives.
  • Retained earnings are positively impacted by innovation and new market investment.

Example: Successfully launching a new product that generates additional $5,000 in profits will increase retained earnings.

Repurchases of Shares:

  • The amount of shares that are outstanding is decreased when companies purchase back their own shares.
  • Retained earnings may rise as a result, as well as earnings per share.

Example: If your company buys back $3,000 worth of shares, this amount is deducted from retained earnings, but the earnings per share may increase due to fewer shares outstanding.

Elements of Law and Regulation:

  • Retained earnings and net income are impacted by legal fines and compliance expenditures.
  • Respecting rules keeps retained earnings intact.

Example: If your company incurs a $2,000 fine for regulatory non-compliance, this amount will reduce net income and retained earnings.

Accounting Modifications:

  • Modifications to accounting practices may impact reported net income and in turn retained earnings.

Example: Changing the method of depreciation from straight-line to an accelerated method might affect the net income and retained earnings.

Market Outcomes:

  • Retained earnings and total profits are impacted by changes in investment and asset prices.

Example: An increase in the value of your company’s investments by $4,000 will positively impact retained earnings.

Investments in Capital:

  • Net income and retained earnings are impacted by capital asset investments.
  • The accumulation of retained earnings is influenced by strategic spending.

Example: Purchasing new machinery for $10,000 might reduce net income in the short term but increase retained earnings in the long term due to improved production efficiency.

Read more: How to Zero out Retained Earnings in QuickBooks?

Way of Calculating Retained Earnings

Let’s go into the math now that you understand what retained earnings are and why your company needs them. And don’t worry; there won’t be any anxiety involved. Three essential pieces of information are required in order to compute your retained earnings:

  1. Find the balance of your initial retained profits: The current calculation of the retained earnings implies that they accumulate over time. You must know your retained profits at the start of the time period you’re computing in order to start calculating your current retained earnings (usually the preceding quarter or year). On your balance sheet for the previous period, you can locate the beginning retained earnings.


  • Beginning retained earnings: $5,000 (as per last quarter’s balance sheet)
  1. Calculate your current period’s net income (or loss): Are you unsure of what net profit or net loss means? It’s just a fancy way of saying “profit”—or lack thereof—in accounting lingo. We dislike accounting jargon though. (Accountants, I mean no offence.) It’s basically the entire amount of money that remains after business expenses are subtracted from overall revenue or sales. It’s on your income statement (also called the profit and loss statement).


  • Net income for the current period: $12,000
  1. Find out what dividends were given to shareholders this quarter or last year: You must deduct the entire amount of any shareholder dividends your company now pays from the balance of retained earnings from the prior period. This element of the retained profits formula can be ignored if you don’t pay dividends; instead, enter $0 in its place.


  • Dividends paid: $3,000

Way of Finding the Retained Earnings

Simple math can be used to calculate retained earnings:

Current Retained Earnings + Profit/Loss – Dividends = Retained Earnings


$5,000 + $12,000 – $3,000 = $14,000

As it creates the balance sheet statement of retained earnings and other financial statements for your business, your accounting software will take care of this computation for you. In case you are manually computing retained earnings, you must first determine the following three variables and then enter them into the aforementioned equation:

  • Your retained earnings balance as of the last time it was calculated, which is your current or beginning retained earnings. (For instance, you would utilize the retained earnings from the previous month if you created a balance sheet every month.)
  • The income statement for this accounting period will most likely provide your net profit or net loss. Use this month’s net income or loss, for instance, if you earn those on a monthly basis.
  • Dividends are the profits from the company that you and the other shareholders have decided to withdraw from the business during this particular period. Every shareholder receives a cash payout when a cash dividend is declared. An investor’s portion of the dividend increases with the number of shares they possess.

Uncertain whether the retained earnings calculations you’ve been doing are accurate? Check out Dancing Numbers bookkeeping service. To ensure that you always know where you stand, we will assign you to a bookkeeper who will compute your retained earnings.

Example of the Calculation of Retained Earnings

Assume for the moment that your firm launched on February 1, 2020. As there are no earnings to keep on February 1, 2020, the balance in your retained earnings account will be $0. Assume for the moment that your income statement shows that you had $1,000 in net income in February and that you did not distribute any dividends. Consequently, your company’s retained earnings will be $1,000 on March 1st:

Current retained earnings + Net income – Dividends = Retained earnings

$0 + $1,000 – $0 = $1,000

This makes sense that you made $1,000 in profits, all of which you kept.

Way of Calculating the Effects of a Cash Dividend on the Retained Earnings

This is a more intricate example of calculating retained earnings. You offered common shares to investors in order to raise funds early on. It’s time to start paying dividends because your firm is growing and you are beginning to turn a profit.

You must distribute cash dividends to shareholders once your costs for items sold, expenses, and any liabilities have been paid. After you’ve paid your shareholders, the business keeps (or “retains”) the remaining funds. Let’s now imagine that the company had a great month of February, earning you a whopping $10,000 in profit.

You’re making so much money that at the end of February, you decide to distribute $2,000 of those profits to your shareholders—your mother, Aunt Karen, and yourself—as cash dividends. Additionally, keep

in mind that retained profits will have a $1,000 starting balance. That implies that you will have $9,000 in retained earnings as of March 1st:

Current retained earnings + Net income – Dividends = Retained earnings

$1,000 + $10,000 – $2,000 = $9,000

Way of Calculating Retained Earnings, Assets, and Liabilities

You can easily understand this by a simple equation i.e.

Assets = Liability + Equity (includes retained earnings)

Significant elements of a company’s balance sheet include assets, liabilities, and retained earnings. To help you comprehend and calculate them, here’s a quick summary:

Retained Earnings: All of a company’s cumulative profits that have not been paid out as dividends to shareholders are known as retained earnings. Retained earnings are computed by deducting dividends to shareholders from commencing retained earnings (from the prior period), adding net income, and then finishing. The equation is:

Earnings = Beginning Retained Earnings + Net Income – Dividends


  • Beginning retained earnings: $5,000
  • Net income for the period: $10,000
  • Dividends paid: $2,000
  • Retained earnings = $5,000 + $10,000 – $2,000 = $13,000

Assets: What a business owns are its assets, which might include things like money, real estate, machinery, inventory, accounts receivable, and cash. The two main types of assets are usually classified as non-current (such as property and equipment) and current (such as cash and accounts receivable). Current and non-current assets added together equal the total assets shown on a balance sheet.


  • Current assets: $20,000 (cash, inventory)
  • Non-current assets: $50,000 (property, equipment)
  • Total assets: $70,000

Liabilities: Liabilities are the debts that a business has to other parties, such as loans, accounts payable, and other commitments. Similar to assets, liabilities are frequently separated into two categories: non-current (such as long-term loans) and current (such as short-term debt). Both current and non-current liabilities add up to the total liabilities shown on a balance sheet.


  • Current liabilities: $10,000 (accounts payable)
  • Non-current liabilities: $30,000 (long-term loan)
  • Total liabilities: $40,000

To sum up:

Balance Sheet Equation: Liabilities plus Equity equals Assets on a balance sheet (where Equity includes Retained Earnings).


  • Total liabilities: $40,000
  • Equity (includes retained earnings): $30,000
  • Total assets: $70,000

Retained Earnings: The income statement and dividend records in particular are the primary sources of information used to determine Retained Earnings for the corporation.

A company’s possessions are its assets and its debts are its liabilities. Comprehending these elements is essential for evaluating the financial well-being and efficacy of an organization. It frequently appears in reports and analyses of finances.

You want to know what you can do when QuickBooks Retained Earnings Incorrect.


These retained earnings will appear as stock in the company on the balance sheet. They are determined at the conclusion of an accounting period and their change in value is contingent upon the net income and dividends disbursed during that period.

Lastly, it should be mentioned that they will offer a financial system which is essential for a business to remain in excellent condition. We hope that this blog has answered all of your questions and concerns regarding retained earnings and the formula used by your business. Monitoring the financial well-being of your firm is essential; computing your total income and profit will help the enterprise achieve long-term commercial success.

If you face any issue, you can call us on our toll-free number for further help.

Frequently Asked Questions

On a balance statement what is retained earnings?
The term “retained earnings” refers to a company’s past profits that have not been distributed as dividends. The Balance Sheet’s equity section contains a representation of it. It is a measurement of all the earnings a company has made since its start.

What constitutes a retained earnings example?
A company’s net income that it keeps for itself is called retained earnings. Your retained earnings are $1,600 if your company distributed $2,000 in dividends.

What’s the total amount of retained earnings?
The entire profits made since a company’s founding, net of any dividend payments to shareholders, are its retained earnings. To put it simply, the retained profits indicator shows the company’s total net income after any dividends have been distributed to shareholders.

What does retained earnings entry mean?
One account with a credit balance is Retained Earnings. It goes up with a credit entry when the business makes money and it goes down with a debit entry when it loses money or distributes dividends.

What amount of retained earnings is typically left over?
The average retained earnings balance. In the retained earnings account, a credit often represents the amount. This balance shows that over a company’s lifetime, profits have been made overall.

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