How To Record Retained Earnings In QuickBooks

Diving into the world of QuickBooks can sometimes feel like you’re decoding a complex maze. But, fret not! If you’re scratching your head over how to record retained earnings in QuickBooks, we’re here to guide you through it. Remember the first time you tried making that fancy pasta dish? Seemed daunting, right? But with the right recipe, it was a breeze. Think of this as your recipe for QuickBooks success.

Understanding Retained Earnings

Before we jump into the steps, let’s clear up what retained earnings are. Picture your business’s financial story; retained earnings are the sum of all your business profits and losses over its lifetime, minus any dividends or distributions made to the company’s owners. It’s like your business’s savings account, accumulating over time.

Recording Retained Earnings: The QuickBooks Way

  1. Open QuickBooks: That’s right, step one is as easy as that. Open up your software and let’s dive in.
  2. Head to the Chart of Accounts: Navigate to the ‘Lists’ menu and select ‘Chart of Accounts’. This is where the magic happens.
  3. Retained Earnings Account: If you’ve been using QuickBooks for a while, there should already be a ‘Retained Earnings’ account. This account gets updated automatically at the end of your financial year, accumulating the net income.
  4. Manual Adjustments (if needed): There might be situations where you need to adjust this account manually, maybe due to previous errors or corrections. If so, remember not to make changes directly. Instead, make an adjusting journal entry so you have a clear record.
  5. Review the Balance: Always double-check your work. Ensure the retained earnings balance matches your financial statements.


  • Do I need to update retained earnings every year? Nope! QuickBooks updates this automatically at the end of your financial year.
  • What if I spot an error in the retained earnings? Avoid adjusting directly. Make a journal entry to keep things transparent.
  • Can I distribute the retained earnings? Yes, but consult with an accountant to understand the tax implications.
  • I’m new to QuickBooks, should I record past years’ retained earnings? Yes, you should input an opening balance which includes your previous years’ retained earnings.

Deciphering QuickBooks Jargon

Just like any specialized software, QuickBooks comes with its own language. You’ve just tackled “retained earnings”, but there are numerous other terms to understand. I remember being baffled by some of these initially. Investing in a guidebook, such as QuickBooks Terms Demystified by Alan Parker, was invaluable. This resource breaks down intricate terms into digestible explanations. With time, these terms will become second nature, just like understanding culinary jargon became a cinch after watching countless cooking shows.

Beyond Retained Earnings: Advanced QuickBooks Features

There’s more to QuickBooks than meets the eye. Once you’ve mastered basic functions like retained earnings, consider exploring its advanced features. One that I’ve found particularly useful is the Project Tracking tool. To make the most of it, I attended a QuickBooks workshop and also got a hold of the Advanced QuickBooks Guide by Maya Roberts. The guide delves deep, offering insights into leveraging QuickBooks for sophisticated financial analyses. Think of it as moving from basic pasta to crafting gourmet dishes with intricate sauces.

Ensuring Data Security in QuickBooks

Your financial data is the backbone of your business. Protecting it should be of utmost priority. Beyond QuickBooks’ built-in security features, it’s essential to take extra precautions. Personally, I use the Trezor Hardware Wallet to store sensitive backup information. Also, regularly updating your passwords and enabling two-factor authentication can fortify your defense against any potential breaches. Just like you’d safely store a secret family recipe, safeguard your financial data.

Making the Most of QuickBooks Plugins

Did you know QuickBooks has a plethora of plugins designed to optimize your experience? One plugin I can’t do without is TSheets for QuickBooks. It seamlessly integrates time tracking with invoicing, making payroll processes smoother. Diversifying and enhancing your QuickBooks capabilities with these plugins is akin to having a spice rack that takes your dishes from good to exceptional!

QuickBooks Consultation: When to Seek Expertise

While DIY is commendable, there are times when seeking an expert’s guidance can be a game-changer. Complex financial scenarios, tax planning, or even setting up QuickBooks for multi-entity businesses can be intricate. Whenever I find myself in uncharted waters, I turn to QuickBooks Consulting Services by FinPro. Think of it as hiring a gourmet chef for a night when you’re hosting a special dinner. An expert’s touch can elevate the experience.

Mastering QuickBooks, much like cooking, is an art and science. It requires the right mix of tools, knowledge, and experience. With the right resources and a dash of perseverance, you’ll be whipping up financial reports as effortlessly as your favorite meal. Your roadmap to navigating retained earnings in QuickBooks. With a bit of practice and patience, you’ll soon realize that this isn’t any more complicated than mastering that pasta dish. Happy bookkeeping!

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