Is Retained Earning an Asset?

Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Is Retained Earning an Asset?

Retained Earnings are the net income accumulated over time and later used to pay shareholders in the form of dividends or compensation to shareholders in case of selling or buying of the corporation. Thus, retained earnings are not an asset for the company since it belongs to shareholders. An Entity holds it as additional equity shareholder capital.

Net Retained Earnings = Retained Earnings at the beginning of the Period + Net Income/Loss During the Period – Total Dividends.

retained earningsRetained EarningsRetained Earnings are defined as the cumulative earnings earned by the company till the date after adjusting for the distribution of the dividend or the other distributions to the investors of the company. It is shown as the part of owner’s equity in the liability side of the balance sheet of the company.read more shown on the liability side of the balance sheet are under the head reserves and surplusReserves And SurplusReserves and Surplus is the amount kept aside from the profits that are to be used either for the business or for the shareholders to pay out dividends. Reserves and surplus is reflected under shareholders funds in the balance sheet.read more in the shareholder’s equity fund. It is considered an equity account; hence it is usually expected to have a credit balanceCredit BalanceCredit Balance is the capital amount that a company owes to its customers & it is reflected on the right side of the General Ledger Account. Usually, Liability accounts, Revenue accounts, Equity Accounts, Contra-Expense & Contra-Asset accounts tend to have the credit balance. read more.

Purpose of Retained Earnings

Is Retained Earning an Asset

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For eg:
Source: Is Retained Earning an Asset? (wallstreetmojo.com)

  1. For distribution of the dividend at any time in the future, i.e., in the middle of any financial year;
  2. These earnings are retained for future use to help fund the corporation’s expansion.
  3. One of its uses can be compensated to the shareholders in case of winding up of a corporation.
  4. An entity can capitalize on the credit balance of the retained earnings by issuing bonus sharesBonus SharesBonus shares refer to the stocks issued by the companies for free of cost to their existing shareholders in the proportion of their stock holdings. Companies issue such shares to compensate the shareholders with a higher dividend payout in the form of stocks.read more to the shareholders.

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Examples

Case #1: In case there is a net profit from profit and loss accountProfit And Loss AccountThe Profit & Loss account, also known as the Income statement, is a financial statement that summarizes an organization's revenue and costs incurred during the financial period and is indicative of the company's financial performance by showing whether the company made a profit or incurred losses during that period.read more for the relevant financial year

XYZ Corporation retained earnings at the beginning of 2019 of $250,000. During the year the company earns a net income of $100,000 after deducting all the expenses. It pays the preference dividend to preference shareholders of $75,000 and equity dividend to the equity shareholders of $100,000. Calculate the retained earnings of the company for the period ending in 2019.

Solution:

Calculation of retained earnings of the company for the period ending in 2019:

Is Retained Earnings an Asset Example 1

Case #2: In case there is net loss from profit and loss, account for the relevant financial year

ABC Corporation retained earnings at the beginning of 2019 of $350,000. During the year the company incurred a net loss of $120,000 after deducting all the expenses. Since there is a net lossNet LossNet loss or net operating loss refers to the excess of the expenses incurred over the income generated in a given accounting period. It is evaluated as the difference between revenues and expenses and recorded as a liability in the balance sheet.read more from the profit and loss account, dividends to any shareholders will not be distributed. Calculate the retained earnings of the company for the period ending in 2019.

Solution:

Calculation of Retained Earnings of the company for the period ending in 2019:

Is Retained Earnings an Asset Example 1-1

Conclusion

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