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QuickBooks Retained Earnings Incorrect

QuickBooks Retained Earnings Incorrect

The retained earnings in QuickBooks software is an equity account that helps you to assist the year-end balance of your business. The previous year’s net income is automatically added to the current year’s balance sheet as retained earnings. Retained earnings are the previous year’s earnings that are shown on the previous year’s balance sheet. You can also say that it is a type of profit that the company reinvents in itself by taking it to the next year.

Here, you get to know whether the statement “QuickBooks Retained Earnings incorrect” is correct or not. If the statement is correct then check it by viewing a detailed report or calculating your profit or loss statement.

What Are Retained Earnings?

Retained earnings are a company’s cumulative net earnings or profits after dividend payments. The term “retained” captures the fact that those earnings were not paid out to shareholders as dividends, but were instead retained by the company as an important accounting concept.

As a result, retained earnings fall when a company loses money or pays dividends and rise when new profits are generated.

Features of Retained Earnings

  • Retained earnings (RE) are the amount of net income that a company has after paying out dividends to its shareholders.
  • The decision whether to keep earnings or distribute them to shareholders is usually left to company management.
  • A growth-oriented company may not pay dividends at all or only pay very small amounts because it prefers to use retained earnings to fund expansion activities.
  • Companies can use their retained earnings to increase production capacity, hire more sales representatives, launch a new product, or buy back shares, among other things.
  • Retained earnings are an important variable for evaluating a company’s financial health because it shows the net income that a company has saved over time and thus can reinvest in the business or distribute to shareholders.

Retained Earnings Balance Doesn’t agree with the previous year:

Retained Earnings is yet another unique QuickBooks account.  There is no register for this account, and no quick report has been created to review the details of this account.  When a Balance Sheet is created, all previous years’ Profit and Loss accounts are automatically “rolled” into this account.

The simplest way to describe this account is to compare it to the opening balance when performing the bank reconciliation. Going to the account register and adding or subtracting all transactions with a checkmark in the cleared column calculates the opening balance for reconciliation.  The Retained Earnings balance is calculated by adding all previous profit and loss amounts as well as any transactions coded directly to Retained Earnings.

That will be the account balance on the Balance Sheet.  As a result, if the amount does not agree with the previously calculated balance, a transaction has been added, modified, or deleted, just like the opening balance on the bank reconciliation. The balance will be corrected after discovering the transaction and correcting it as necessary. If the only change is that a single transaction was entered, the find function will find it. If a transaction was changed, it may be possible to narrow down the problem by reviewing the audit trail report to see a prior transaction date with a current entered/modified date (if the audit trail preference was on the previous and current transaction will appear).

If the transaction was deleted and the audit trail preference was enabled, the deleted transaction can be viewed by scrolling through the audit trail report. There is a new report available in QuickBooks Premier called the Closing Date Exception Report for the time that the closing date has been entered and version 2002 or higher has been used. Otherwise, changing can be difficult.  One suggestion is to print a complete general ledger and related reports as an extra layer of security. If a change is made, the amount of time spent on research and analysis will be greatly reduced.

What Do Retain Earnings Tell You?

  • Retained earnings are a company’s historical profits minus any dividends it has paid in the past. To gain a better understanding of what retained earnings can tell you, consider the following options, which broadly cover all possible uses for a company’s surplus funds. For example, the first option results in the earnings money being permanently removed from the business’s books and accounts because dividend payments are irreversible.
  • All other options keep the earnings for internal use, and such investments and funding activities are considered retained earnings.
  • Dividends are paid to business owners (shareholders) who earn money.
  • It can be used to expand current business operations, such as increasing the capacity of existing products or hiring more sales representatives.
  • It can be used to launch a new product or variant, such as a refrigerator manufacturer venturing into the production of air conditioners or a chocolate cookie manufacturer venturing into the production of orange- or pineapple-flavored variants.
  • The funds can be used for any potential merger, acquisition, or partnership that leads to increased business opportunities.
  • It can also be used to buy back stock.
  • The profits can be used to pay off any outstanding loans (debt) owed by the company.

Retained earnings, also known as earnings surplus, are reserves available to company management for reinvestment back into the business. When expressed as a percentage of total earnings, it equals (1 – the dividend payout ratio).

Though the last option of debt repayment also results in money leaving the business, it still has an impact on the business’s accounts (for example, saving future interest payments, which qualifies it for inclusion in retained earnings).

Profits give the business owner(s) or company management a lot of leeway in deciding how to spend the extra money. This profit is frequently distributed to shareholders, but it can also be reinvested back into the company to help it grow. The money that is not distributed to shareholders is referred to as retained earnings.

How Does QuickBooks Retained Earnings Work?

When you use a software package to set up a new business, QuickBooks automatically creates an equity account called Retained Earnings. QuickBooks automatically transfers balances from other business accounts to retired income on the day you specify as the end of your fiscal year.

Accounting requires this transfer to ensure that the figures for the current fiscal year only reflect transactions and performance of your company during the current time frame. Using the Retired Earnings Account, you can keep track of your company’s capital for purposes such as purchasing new machinery or paying partners or owners. To calculate your retired earnings, you must first run a profit and loss statement. The retired earnings account shows your company’s total revenue and all expenses from the previous year. At the start of each fiscal year, QuickBooks Online automatically adds a new category to your balance sheet called retained income.

However, you cannot choose Retained Earnings from the balance sheet to see only the information. QuickBooks automatically and electronically transfers money from your net income to the Retired Earnings Account while making no visible entries for it.

How Do Check the Quick Report for the Retained Earnings Account?

In case the amount on the profit and loss report differs from the amount currently reported for the Retired Earnings Account, only transactions impacting balance sheet accounts may be recorded against this account.

This is how:

  • Navigate to the Settings option and then choose Chart of Accounts.
  • Find the Retained Earnings account next.
  • Select “Run Report” from the drop-down menu in the Action column.
  • Next, select “All Dates” from the Report period drop-down menu.
  • Finally, choose the “Run report” option.

This report provides an overview of all user-created transactions that affect the retained earnings account structure.

What is the formula to calculate the retained earnings?

Formula is-

Consummation RE = Beginning RE + Net Income (Profit or Loss statement) 

  • Where, Dividends 
  • RE: Retained Earnings 
  • Starting RE: Accumulated surplus toward the start of the monetary year. 
  • Total compensation: Balance sum left for the organization in the wake of deducting the costs, for example, the expense of products sold, pay costs, intrigue, charges, devaluation, and amortization from the Net Sales of the organization. 
  • Profit: It is the amount that is paid to the investors who are holding each portion of the organization. This amount is paid to them when the budgetary year finishes.

Using this formula, you can easily correct your QuickBooks retained earnings and won’t get the error message “QuickBooks Retained Earnings incorrectly”.

What are the steps to check transactions that are created in the retained earnings account?

The report shows the transactions affecting the retained earning account. You can run a quick report to review the transactions that are created on the retained earnings account.

For this, the steps are as follows:- 

  • Open the QuickBooks software
  • Then click on the Gear icon that is at the top right side of the screen
  • Now, choose the option Chart of Accounts
  • Search for the Retained Earnings accounts option then click on it
  • It opens up the window of retained earnings account
  • In this, you have to click on the Action Column
  • Then choose the option Run Report
  • You have to click on the drop-down arrow to choose the Report Period
  • From the list, click on the All Dates option
  • In the end, click on the Run Report button.

When you get the report then check for only transactions. If any of the amounts you think are correct then make it correct by creating a new journal entry. You can also ask your accountant to do this so that it will be correct in the next report.

How to view the Retained Earnings account details in QuickBooks Desktop?

In QuickBooks, there is an electronics swap that is used to move money to retained earnings. This swap is not going to show on any report until there is any other entry into the account of retained earnings. You can check the making up of retained earnings in your QuickBooks account. For that, you have to run the profit and loss record and also view details for the net income account. Below, you get to know how you can view details of your attendance and also how to run the profit and loss report into your QuickBooks account.

1. Check the details of Retained Earnings account

The account of retained earnings provides you the information about the income and expenses of your company from all the previous years. At the start of a new fiscal year, QuickBooks automatically adds the net income from your previous fiscal year report to your current balance sheet. It adds this amount to the category of retained earnings. You are not able to check the details of retained earnings from your balance sheet. 

The QuickBooks automatically and electronically swaps funds from the net income and loss into the account. This transaction won’t be recorded in your books of accounts. If you have to check about the error “QuickBooks retained earnings incorrect” then you have to verify it by running the previous year’s profit and loss report.

2. To view the Profit and Loss detail report

Here are the steps that you have to follow to run and view the profit and loss detail report.

The steps are as follows:-

  • In the QuickBooks account, click on the Reports menu option
  • Then search for the Profit and Loss report option and then click on it to open it
  • From the option of Report Period, click on the arrow to get the drop-down list
  • Select option All Dates from the drop-down list 
  • Then click on the Run Report to run the Profit and Loss report
  • You have to select the Net Income amount that helps you to open the Profit and Loss Detail report for All the Dates selected by you.

After running the profit and loss report, it shows all the transactions that make the net profit or loss. so it is automatically switched to the retained earnings account in your current year’s balance sheet.

3. View the profit and loss report by year

In this, you can check the profit and loss report according to the year to track your retained earnings over time in an easy manner.

There are the steps that help you to do so:-

  • Click on the Reports menu option
  • Search for the Profit and Loss report and then click on it
  • In the window of the Profit and Loss report, choose the option Customize
  • Then in the Customise panel, click on the Rows/Columns item to open this action
  • Click on the Columns drop-down arrow
  • From the Columns drop-down list, select Years option
  • After this, click on the Run Report.

As you select a column option here, it displays the view of the amounts year by year. With this, you can easily check the amount that is transferred from the profit and loss account to the retained earnings account.

4. Review the retained earning account quick report

View the account quick report, if there is a difference between the current retained earnings are the profit and loss report. The transaction of retained earnings only affects the balance sheet accounts as it is entered against the account.

For a quick report, the steps are as follows:-

  • In QuickBooks, click on the Gear icon that is the settings button
  • Then choose the option Chart of Accounts
  • Search for the Retained Earnings account
  • Select Run Report from the Action column drop-down menu
  • Then click on All Dates option from the report period drop-down menu
  • When your settings are all set then click on the Run Report.

This report shows you the user-created transactions that are affecting the figure of the Retained Earnings account.

Correcting Retained Earnings from a Previous Year:

Corrections to prior period retained earnings can result from a variety of factors, including math errors or incorrect application of generally accepted accounting principles. Retained earnings are the company’s accumulated net income or loss less cash dividends paid and prior period adjustments. Companies must exclude the impact of prior-period adjustments from current financial statements because the changes have no bearing on the current statement period. Prior period adjustments can only be made to correct errors and certain tax-related adjustments.

The chart of accounts in QuickBooks shows no balance for the retained earnings account, so you’ll need to run a report. If you see a balance for retained earnings in the Balance Sheet report, that is the Net Income from the previous year. The system resets income and expenses to zero on January 1 of the following year.

Let us compare two financial reports to gain a better understanding. First, run your Profit and Loss report for this year to determine Net income:

  • Navigate to the Reports tab.
  • Scroll down to Profit and Loss and click it.
  • Look for Net Income in the table below.

Then, run the Balance Sheet report for the same year, and you’ll see the same Net Income under Equity. Refer to the steps below:

  • Select the Reports option.
  • Select the Balance Sheet report from the Business Overview section.
  • See the Net Income Section of the Equity section for more information.

The information in the Profit and Loss report is used to explain the Balance Sheet data in detail. To get more information, change the date on the Balance Sheet to the first day of the new fiscal year; it should be one date later than the Profit and Loss. After running the report, you will no longer see the Net Income line (unless there is an activity in the P&L for that date), but you will see that Retained Earnings is keeping that amount.


  1. How did retained earnings change in QuickBooks to check for QuickBooks retained earnings incorrectly or not?

    When there is a change in the amount of the Net profit or Net loss then there is a change in their total amount. This affects the retained earnings amount in QuickBook’s balance sheet.

  2. In what case is the journal entry required for retained earnings to fix QuickBooks retained earnings incorrectly?

    The balance in the retained earnings account is credited. In case you have to increase this amount then you have to make the credit journal entry. If you make the debit entry then it decreases the amount in retained earnings.

  3. How is the journal entry created for increasing retained earnings amount after resolving the problem “QuickBooks Retained earnings incorrect”?

    💠 In QuickBooks, click on the + icon that is for creating a new entry
    💠 Then choose the option Journal Entry
    💠 Select the Date to match the opening balance
    💠 Choose the Retained Earnings from the first line of Account Column
    💠 You have to enter the amount in the Credits column
    💠 In the second line mention the account you are using for creating the balance
    💠 Enter the amount in the Debits column
    💠 Click on the button Save and Close when you are done.

  4. What does a company’s high retained earnings mean?

    On the one hand, high retained earnings may indicate financial strength because they show a track record of profitability in previous years. On the other hand, it may indicate that a company should consider increasing dividend payments to its shareholders. Of course, whether the company has pursued profitable growth opportunities is a factor.

  5. On a balance sheet, where are retained earnings?

    Retained earnings are usually found in the shareholders’ equity section of a company’s balance sheet. Retained earnings are calculated by adding beginning-period retained earnings to net income (or loss), and then subtracting dividend payouts.

  6. Are profits and retained earnings the same thing?

    The primary distinction between retained earnings and profits is that retained earnings deduct dividend payments from a company’s profit, while profits do not. Whereas profits may indicate that a company has a positive net income, retained earnings, depending on the amount of dividends paid out to shareholders, may indicate that a company has a negative net income.

  7. Is there a balance in QuickBooks for retained earnings?

    Because the chart of accounts in QuickBooks shows no balance for the retained earnings account, you’ll need to run a report. If you see a balance for retained earnings in the Balance Sheet report, that is the previous year’s Net Income. The system resets income and expenses to zero on January 1st of the following year.

  8. How can the balance sheet’s retained earnings problem be resolved?

    Go to the top menu, and select the Gear icon. Choose Chart of Accounts. Look for the Retained Earnings account. Select the Run Report option from the Action column. Select All Dates from the Report period drop-down list. Select Run report.

  9. How do I see my retained earnings?

    Here’s how to see your Retained Earnings on your Balance Sheet: Navigate to the Reports tab. Select Balance Sheet. Find the Retained Earnings item in the report to see your company’s reported net income. You can also use a journal entry to distribute the amounts in your Retained Earnings account at the end of your fiscal year.

  10. What exactly is a retained earnings account?

    The Retained Earnings account is a rollover of all previous fiscal years’ net profit (or loss), and QuickBooks Online automatically and electronically transfers funds from your net income or loss into the account without recording any visible transactions.

  11. What are retained earnings in QuickBooks?

    Retained earnings in QuickBooks are the accumulated earnings of a company that have not been distributed to shareholders as dividends

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