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Key concepts
Accountant · Bookkeeping · Trial balance · General ledger · Debits and credits · Cost of goods sold · Double-entry system · Standard practices · Cash and accrual basis · GAAP / IFRS
Financial statements
Balance sheet · Income statement · Cash flow statement · Equity · Retained earnings
Financial audit · GAAS · Internal audit · Sarbanes–Oxley Act · Big Four auditors
Fields of accounting
Cost · Financial · Forensic · Fund · Management · Tax

The Statement of Retained Earnings (also known as Equity Statement, Statement of Owner's Equity for a single proprietorship, Statement of Partner's Equity for partnership, and Statement of Retained Earnings and Stockholders' Equity for corporation)[1] is one of the basic financial statements as per Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, and it explains the changes in a company's retained earnings over the reporting period. It breaks down changes affecting the account, such as profits or losses from operations, dividends paid, and any other items charged or credited to retained earnings. A retained earnings statement is required by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) whenever comparative balance sheets and income statements are presented. It may appear in the balance sheet, in a combined income statement and changes in retained earnings statement, or as a separate schedule.

A simple illustration of Owner's Equity Statement showing 2 columns with 5 used cells as follows; 1 is the Opening Capital (at inception it equals zero), 2 is the Increase or Addition (by owners investment & the net income), 4 represents summation of (opening capital 1 and the increase 2), 3 is the Decrease or Loss (by owners withdrawal & net loss), and 5 is the Closing Capital after a defined period of time (Opening Capital + Increase - Decrease, i.e. 4-3).

Therefore, the statement of retained earnings uses information from the income statement and provides information to the balance sheet. Retained earnings are part of the balance sheet (another basic financial statement) under "stockholders equity," and is mostly affected by net income earned during a period of time by the company less any dividends paid to the company's owners / stockholders. The retained earnings account on the balance sheet is said to represent an "accumulation of earnings" since net profits and losses are added/subtracted from the account from period to period.

The general equation can be expressed as following:

Ending Retained Earnings = Beginning Retained Earnings - Dividends Paid + Net Income


  1. ^ San Juan, Donatila Agtarap (2007). Fundamentals of Accounting: Basic Accounting Principles Simplified for Accounting Students. AuthorHouse. p. 119. ISBN 1434322998, ISBN 9781434322999.  

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