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Glossary

Retained Earnings

Retained earnings represent the cumulative profits kept by a company after paying dividends and are typically reinvested back into the business.

Understanding retained earnings

Retained earnings refer to the part of a company's earnings not distributed to shareholders as dividends but reinvested in the company for various purposes such as acquiring new equipment or expanding the workforce. Calculating retained earnings begins with a company's net income, derived by subtracting expenses from revenue. This value is then divided by the outstanding shares to determine the earnings per share. The subsequent step involves multiplying the earnings per share by the outstanding shares to ascertain the total retained earnings. This metric serves as a gauge of a company's financial health and performance across time.

Calculating retained earnings

To calculate retained earnings, one subtracts the dividends paid to shareholders from the company's cumulative net income using the formula:

Retained Earnings = Net Income - Dividends Paid

For a specific timeframe, determining retained earnings involves deducting the dividends paid during that period from the net income in the same duration.

Significance of understanding retained earnings

Retained earnings hold significance, particularly for publicly traded companies, as they denote the accumulated profits reinvested into the company. They serve as a basis for calculating various critical ratios, including return on equity (ROE) and debt-to-equity (D/E) ratio. ROE assesses the efficiency of utilizing profits to generate shareholder returns, while the D/E ratio indicates a company's level of leverage. These ratios collectively aid in evaluating a company's financial well-being and potential for future growth.