What is Retained Earning? Are Dividends and Retained Earnings the Same Thing?

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What is Retained Earning? Are Dividends and Retained Earnings the Same Thing?

What is Retained Earning? An Overview

RE or Retained earnings is the earnings that are not paid out to shareholders in the form of dividends or can be defined as the accumulated part of the earnings left within the company after dividend payout to its shareholders. These earnings are booked for reinvestment purposes, fixed asset purchases, working capital, and paying off debt. In this article, we will learn everything about retained earnings, what is retained earnings, and their benefits for the company. 

What is Retained Earning on Income Statement?

RE or Retained earnings are also known as the profit of the company that is left after paying dividends to its shareholders. It is shown under the section of the balance sheet at the end of each financial year and this amount changes or gets updated whenever there is an entry into the accounting records. A company is financially healthy when it has a balance of large retained earnings. The net earnings or profits enable the business owner or management to use surplus money for the development of the company. 

A growth company usually does not give dividend payouts, instead, it utilizes retained earnings to finance the business toward capital expenditures, marketing, working capital, development, and acquisitions. The reinvestment into the company shows that it will accomplish more yield in the future. 

How Are Retained Earnings Calculated?

The retained earnings formula determines a company's undivided profits. It's net income minus dividends.

A corporation with $1 million in net income and $500,000 in dividends would have $500,000 in retained profits.

A negative retained earnings number suggests profits were dispersed (typically a year). If retained profits rise in one quarter but not another, management may wish to utilize cash flows over time rather than all at once.

Key takeaways: 

  • Retained earnings are the net profit left after paying dividends to its shareholders. 
  • The decision of retaining profits earned is determined by the company's management. 
  • A growth company prefers to use earnings to fund expansion activities instead of paying dividends.  
  • It appears on the balance sheet. 

Define Retained Earnings indicated in Financial Statements

Retained earnings indicate a change in a company's financial health in a financial year. The retained earnings statement is used by economists or analysts to assess how the profits should be used.

 The statement includes: 

  • Initial balance of undisturbed profits or retained earnings 
  • Rectification for last errors along with tax benefits. 
  • Withdrawals by the business owner 
  • Dividends
  • Net income 

When a dividend payout is declared by the corporation, it is subtracted from the retained earnings. 

The bank or any financial institution analyzes the retained earnings before making any decision to give loans to the company. The debt to equity ratio indicates the risk associated with the company. 

Retained earnings can be utilized for

  • The income earned can be distributed among the shareholders in the form of dividends. 
  • The undisturbed earnings can be used to fund the existing operations of the business such as hiring more salesmen or expanding the production capacity. 
  • The earnings can be utilized to introduce the latest product or for mergers and acquisitions to improve business. 
  • The income can be used to pay off the liability.  

What Are the Limitations of Retained Earnings?

Retained earnings don't accurately value a firm. Retained earnings boost a company's financial sheet. A customer buys a 30,000 INR refrigerator from your small appliance repair firm. This transaction might be reported as customer cash, lowering total assets but boosting retained profits.

Depreciation doesn't affect retained profits. They don't account for short-term variances in earnings or working capital caused by procuring raw materials ahead of production plans or paying bills after they're incurred (instead of when they occur).

What Is the Retained Earnings-to-Market Value?

To understand the retained earnings-to-market value, it's essential that you first understand what market value is.

Market value is simply a company's worth on paper. It's calculated by taking a company's balance sheet (assets minus liabilities), adding intangible assets like brand equity and patents, and subtracting intangible liabilities like accounts payable and pension obligations.

So if we use our example from above, Apple has 16 lakh crore in assets minus 0 INR liabilities = 16 lakh crore in market value.

How are retained earnings calculated?

Revenue minus costs equal net income.

Net income is a company's earnings after expenses.

Calculating net income:

Net income=revenue-expenses

Net income is a company's earnings after costs and taxes. Take 100 shares of a 5 crore-a-year corporation. After this term, your share would be INR 5,000. (assuming no dividends were paid out). This increases retained earnings since your stock's value has risen owing to profits but not dividends.

Significance of Retained Earnings 

The retained earnings or RE plays an important role to investors, management of the company, and shareholders. 

Importance to shareholders

The statement helps a shareholder to calculate how many shares they own in the company. They figure out the share worth by dividing the undistributed earnings by the number of outstanding shares. 

Importance to investors 

The retained earnings are announced by the company to the people to increase their confidence among shareholders and investors. The statement is useful for the company as well as other individuals. One can analyze the retained earnings statement to calculate the possible earnings of the company. 

Importance to the management  

The retained earnings statement represents how much capital the corporation has and based on that they can make informed decisions. It gives confidence to the management when the company is performing well as they are responsible to make decisions that will make the shareholders content and are accountable to investors. 

Importance to lenders

Lenders use this statement to analyze various performances of the company which helps them to make decisions on whether they can provide credit or not. A positive retained earnings show that they are good to issue loans to the company whereas a negative retained earnings show that the company can have problems in repaying the debt and the creditors might not issue loans to these businesses. 

What Is the Difference Between Retained Earnings and Revenue?

Profits fund future growth. New equipment, training, or business purchases are examples. A multinational may expand in Asia using European residual income.

Unpaid retained profits aren't dividends. Until paid, each shareholder owns (or reinvested). Your company pays dividends based on your shares. If you own 100 Company A shares but didn't get dividends last year because they reinvest, you'll get 2% of their profits next year while everyone else receives 1%.

Retained Earnings Example

Retained earnings refer to the net income that the company has earned but has not paid out to shareholders.

The amount of retained earnings will fluctuate from year to year as a result of many factors, including:

Sales revenue for goods and services sold by the business

Net income from operations (earnings before interest and taxes)

Amounts paid out in dividends over time

Are Dividends and Retained Earnings the Same Thing? 

Dividends are paid in the form of additional stock or cash and both of these forms decrease retained earnings. Dividend payout in the form of cash leads to cash outflow and is recorded as a net reduction in the books and accounts. Also, it leads to reducing the asset value on the statement of assets and liabilities of the company, and hence, it impacts the retained earnings. Whereas dividend payout in the form of stock does not lead to cash outflow as the company has not grown by value by announcing a stock dividend. Hence the corporation balance sheet does not get impacted. 

A growth company does not prefer to pay dividends because it reinvests all of its earnings back into the company for expansion of the business, research and development, capital expenditure, marketing, and acquisitions. These companies tend to have higher retained earnings than others. 

To conclude, The business owners and the shareholders can have different views on the uses of retained earnings. Some shareholders may like to get the return on their investments in the form of dividends whereas some shareholders may like to reinvest the earnings back into the business. Therefore, the company prefers a balanced approach by paying dividends from part of their earnings and the remaining earnings as retained earnings

How do net profit, dividends, and retained earnings relate?

Retained profit is net income fewer dividends—profits after dividends and payments.

Profit, dividends, and retained profit are linked.

100 Company XYZ divided $0.20 in January 2019. Increased stocks This company gave you $20 in dividends, the same as January ($100).

Since early 2019, your money has grown 3% yearly (from 100%) to $110 ($100 + $10). Imagine a lengthy bull market with outstanding growth, low volatility, and few price swings.

Dividends impact ROI in two ways. Yes, "Dividends Paid Each Year" equals before or after repurchases. 

How are retained earnings analyzed?

Retained profits measure net assets. Retained profits are sometimes called earnings. These are needed to evaluate management and calculate ROE (ROE). When calculating ROE, you'll use retained earnings to assess whether management is growing assets and profits.


XYZ Company has $1 million in assets but $500,000. (i.e., equity). Undistributed earnings are the difference between its assets and shareholder holdings. Company XYZ:

Retained Earnings=$1 million-$500k

Undistributed earnings may be utilized as bank loan collateral since they represent future income.

Retained Earnings vs. Revenue

Retained earnings is an account that displays how much money a corporation has after paying dividends. Revenue includes dividends and retained profits. It means net income.

To calculate retained profits, deduct dividends from net income.

How Net Income Impacts Retained Earnings

Profit is revenues minus expenses. Retained profits statement shows a long-term profit. Net income includes dividends.

Retained earnings are affected by: If a company earns $100 million in 2017 and pays $20 million in dividends, it retains $80 million. If a company earns more than it pays in dividends, it may spend more on employees and investments, which may boost earnings.

  • What are the factors affecting retained earnings?

  • How should you use undisturbed Undistributed or retained earnings?

  • How can retained earnings of a business be increased?

  • Where do companies report their retained earnings?

  • Is retained income the same as retained earnings?

  • Can you pay dividends with negative retained earnings?

  • Are dividends on the balance sheet?