• Home
  • Learning Hub
  • Why Do You Need to Read the Statement of Retained Earnings Reports?
Why Do You Need to Read the Statement of Retained Earnings Reports?
By Louis Bennett profile image Louis Bennett
4 min read

Why Do You Need to Read the Statement of Retained Earnings Reports?

For anyone interested in investing in or owning a long-term economically sustainable business, comprehension of a firm’s financial management plans and processes is key. The statement of retained earnings is another significant yet little-used instrument in this regard.

This guide explains where a business firm finds the profits of an investment—whether they are retained for reinvestment or paid out to investors as dividends. The statement of retained earnings is useful for analyzing the organization’s strategic financial direction and position. In this article, we will learn why it is important to read this statement before investing our funds meaningfully and wisely.

What is a Retained Earnings Statement?

The statement of retained earnings is a financial report that provides an account of the change in retained earnings of a business entity in a given period. Retained earnings are the total sum of the net income that has been kept by the organization or business, which has not been distributed in the form of dividends to the stockholders. Learning how to read earnings report gives you a bridge between the income statement and the balance sheet, giving out how the profits are used in the business or distributed.

The statement of retained earnings reports contains several essential components, as highlighted below. Main retained earnings are the retained earnings at the beginning of the accounting period and they are brought forward from the retained earnings at the end of the last period. The net income or loss for the period is then added to this beginning balance, representing income or claims against profits, as evidenced by the income statement.

Dividends and bonuses paid to shareholders are recorded as a deduction from the retained amount showing the proportion of earnings not re-invested. What is left as such is the ending retained earnings which denotes the amount that has been retained for the period and which can be rolled forward to the succeeding period.

Importance of the Statement of Retained Earnings

Understanding a company's profit management is important since it shows the amount of profit retained in the business. Using a format of T or F, depending on whether the profits are reinvested for growth or paid out as dividends, it indicates a company's sound financial health and the strategies adopted by the management.

How to Read Earnings Report - Formula and Example

Retained Earnings = Beginning Retained Earnings + Net Income − Dividends Paid

For Example:

If a company starts with $50,000 in retained earnings, earns a net income of $20,000, and pays out $5,000 in dividends, the calculation would be: If a company starts with $50,000 in retained earnings, earns a net income of $20,000, and pays out $5,000 in dividends, the calculation would be:

Retained Earnings = $50,000 + $20,000 − $5,000 = $65,000

This means that by the end of the period, the company had $65000 of retained earnings, which shows that the company has money that could be used to reinvest in the business or to address other needs that the firm may face in the future.

Insight into Financial Health

Retained earnings indicate how much capital is being retained in the company to be used in future expansion and growth. When learning how to read an earnings report, an increasing balance over time is good, indicating that the company receives profits and manages to reinvest them properly, while a declining balance is a sign of trouble or a sign of a good dividend policy.

What is a Quality of Earnings Report?

A quality of earnings report goes beyond the basic financial statements to provide an in-depth analysis of the earnings generated by a company. It evaluates the sustainability and reliability of earnings, considering factors such as revenue recognition policies, expense management, and the impact of non-recurring items. This report helps investors and stakeholders understand the true economic performance of a business, distinguishing between core earnings and those that may be influenced by accounting practices or one-time events.

Evaluation of Reinvestment and Dividend Policies

Understanding how to read an earnings report also gives you an insight into how much is retained in the business for reinvestment/ expansion as opposed to being paid out in the form of dividends. One advantage that investors can derive from the use of ratios is that anyone who is an investor or interested in the company can compare its strategies and analyze whether they are in line with the investor’s financial goals, whether it is to grow or to earn through dividends.

Practical Uses for Investors and Business Owners

In fact, learning how to read earnings report goes beyond comprehending the retention of past earnings; it is also about the ability to approach future decisions from this standpoint. As a firm, Envest works to offer investors and business owners resources and information that will allow them to maximize the use of such documents as the statement of retained earnings.

Enhance Investment Decisions 

To investors, the statement of retained earnings reports contains some necessary information about the company's future investments and financial strength. Perhaps the greatest advantage of partnering with Envest is the ability to obtain analyses and interpretations of these statements.

Empower Business Planning 

It is useful to note that a statement of retained earnings can prove to be a practical tool for declaring and examining the available capital. Hence, it can help business owners achieve sustainable firm development and efficient capital management. 

Envest helps the business leaders to track trends of the retained earnings and therefore, the business leaders are able to plan effectively on some of the monies that they are keeping for future use. Our metrics cater to various strategic objectives ranging from the expansion of activities to the acquisition of facilities, the application of new technologies, and even the settlement of debts.


Thus, the statement of retained earnings reports is a crucial source of information to evaluate the overall financial performance and identify key management strategies and decisions of a company. It is for this reason that both the investors as well as the owners of various businesses require an understanding of this statement as it can assist them in making the right decisions which could span several years and enable them to build successful long-run businesses.

Envest's commitment to reducing complexity is to ensure clients do not find our financial reports complicated. Specialist analyses help turn the information in retained earnings back into valuable knowledge. You can use Envest’s products and services to improve the efficiency of your investment plans and business estimations and make near-perfect financial decisions.

Experience the power of Envest: where analysis converges with actionable strategy planning for your financial solutions.

Please note that while our research is grounded in analyses conducted by market professionals, it should not be construed as direct investment advice. We are not registered investment advisors. As such, we offer insights intended to provide you with well-informed perspectives, aiming to assist you in making educated decisions. However, we do not provide warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information presented. Any investment decisions you make are at your sole discretion and responsibility.
By Louis Bennett profile image Louis Bennett
Updated on
Learning Hub