How to calculate ending retained earnings
Retained earnings are an essential aspect of a company’s financial health, as they represent the accumulated net income that has not been distributed as dividends or invested back into the company. Calculating ending retained earnings helps business owners and investors understand a company’s ability to reinvest in its operations and generate shareholder value over time. In this article, we will explore the steps to calculate ending retained earnings.
Step 1: Determine the Beginning Retained Earnings
The first step in calculating ending retained earnings is to determine the beginning retained earnings. This figure can be found on a company’s balance sheet, often listed under the equity section as “retained earnings” or “accumulated earnings.” The beginning retained earnings represent the balance from the previous accounting period.
Step 2: Add Net Income or Subtract Net Loss
Next, you will need to identify the net income or net loss for the current accounting period. This information is available on a company’s income statement. If the company has generated a profit (net income), this figure should be added to the beginning retained earnings. If there was a loss (net loss), this amount should be subtracted from the beginning balance.
Step 3: Subtract Dividends
Dividends paid to shareholders must be subtracted from the accumulated figure. There are two types of dividends: cash dividends and stock dividends. Cash dividends represent payments made by companies in cash to their shareholders, while stock dividends involve issuing additional shares of stock to existing shareholders. The total value of both types of dividends – if any – must be subtracted from retained earnings.
Step 4: Compute Ending Retained Earnings
Once you have gathered all necessary information and completed calculations, it is time to compute ending retained earnings. The formula for calculating ending retained earnings is as follows:
Ending Retained Earnings = Beginning Retained Earnings + Net Income (or – Net Loss) – Dividends
This equation will give you the updated accumulated net income figure for the current accounting period, reflecting the company’s capability to finance future growth through reinvestment.
Calculating ending retained earnings is crucial for business owners and investors to assess a company’s financial performance and potential for growth. By understanding how to calculate ending retained earnings, you can gain valuable insight into a company’s ability to generate shareholder value and reinvest in its operations over time.