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Level 3
At the start of the new year QB placed $10000 in my retained earning account. I created journal entries to offset equity accounts to bring them to zero. Retained earnings has a $393 balance that I can only see if I run a general ledger report.

If I look at the account on the Chart of Accounts page there is a blank value for this account. If I select the “Run Report” option, the report has no starting balance and no ending balance.

Only the general ledger report show the correct information/

Does this seem normal?

Anyone know why?

Yes, it's normal, BeyondTheBox.


The default accounts in QuickBooks doesn't display any balance on the Chart of Accounts. The transactions will display once you click the Run report hyperlink.



You'll know that it's the default account when it displays Run report instead of View register.




You can also browse Retained Earnings to know more.


I'm here to help you if you still have other concerns.

Level 3


From my perspective that is an equity account and it should work like other equity accounts (100%).


If you click "Run Report" you are presented with a list of transactions with no starting or ending balance. I am sure there is some explanation for this, do you have one? 


Only the General Ledger report has all the facts. Why?




Yes, that is correct, it is an equity account, BeyondTheBox.


Retained Earnings is an equity account that is automatically set up by QuickBooks. These are made up of the total company's income and expenses from previous years. 


Once you have the transactions entered from last year, retained earnings will have an entry. For additional information on this, you can check this article for your reference: How to view Retained Earnings account details.


Looking forward to answering more questions from you. If there's anything else I can do to help, please click the Reply button. I'd be glad to assist you further.

Level 3

I actually would like an answer to my question. 

why is retained earnings an equity account That does not work like other equity accounts?


Please don’t tell me it’s because it’s a system/special account. That should have nothing to do with it unless you can explain why its implemented differently. 




Hi, BeyondTheBox.


As referenced by my peer above, retained earnings (RE) is the amount of net income left over for the business after it has paid out dividends to its shareholders. A business generates earnings that can be positive (profits) or negative (losses). That is, it's money that's retained or kept in the company's accounts.


If you require more information about this, I'd suggest consulting an accountant. Your accountant can provide more expert advice regarding an accounting perspective.


You may want to pull up and run the balance sheet report and consider the following pointers to evaluate the amount of retained earnings that the company has:


  • Age of the company: An older company will have had more time in which to compile more retained earnings.
  • Dividend policy: A company that routinely issues dividends will have fewer retained earnings.
  • Profitability: A high-profit percentage eventually yields a large amount of retained earnings, subject to the two preceding points.

In case you want to know some "How do I" steps in QuickBooks Online, you can always visit our Help Articles page for reference.


I'll be around to help if you need additional assistance. Have a great rest of your day!

Level 3

I appreciate the information but again my question does an answered I’m specifically asking why the retained earnings account which is an equity account does not work like the other Equity accounts. If it’s a measure of retain earnings in the company that it should reflect a positive or a negative number in the chart of accounts and every report yet it doesn’t. I’d like to know why. 


Referring someone to the accountant is also an obfuscation because the whole point of QuickBooks is for the average person to be able to run the books for their company. So it is not inconceivable that a question like mine would come up and would need specific answers from QB. 


Hi, BeyondTheBox.


The Opening Balance Equity account value might be equal to the prior year's Retained Earnings. So, if a balance in the Opening Balance Equity account exists and if the balance is equal to the prior year’s Retained Earnings, the Opening Balance Equity can be closed into Retained Earnings.


Retained earnings are that it's the same concept as owner's equity except it applies to a corporation rather than a sole proprietorship. Shareholders’ equity is the residual amount of assets after deducting liabilities. Retained earnings are what the entity keeps from earnings since the beginning.


To know more about this, check out this article: Understanding the Opening Balance Equity Account.


Feel free to get back to me if you require more information. I'm always here to help.

Level 3

Again this does not answer the question. Retained earnings is an equity account. It does not work like other equity accounts. If there is a value in that account it should be displayed so that someone looking at the chart can see that.


I presume there is some "Accounting" reason this is not the case and I'd like to know what that is. So far I you all have sent me to pages that do not address the question. I cannot tell if Inuit is responding, a call center or the general public...Id like to hear from an authoritative source at Intuit


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