RETAINED EARNINGS Definition

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RETAINED EARNINGS are profits of the business that have not been paid out to the owners as of the balance sheet date. The earnings have been "retained" for use in the business (Retained Earnings is an account in the equity section of the balance sheet). It is comprised of the balance, either debit or credit, of appropriated or unappropriated earnings of an entity that are retained in the business. A good rate of growth in retained earnings is an indicator that the firm enjoys a sustainable competitive advantage. NOTE: Appropriated earnings are not available for dividends, but may be used to reduce a deficit or may be transferred to stated capital. Other appropriations of profits require a vote of the shareholders.

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