What is a Reserve? Revenue Reserve, Capital Reserve, Creation

The compilation of these Depreciation, Provision and Reserves Notes makes students exam preparation simpler and organised.

What is a Reserve?

Another common term which finds a place in the balance sheet of a firm is reserves. The amount of reserves is a very important component in financial statements. This is because, any amount which is kept aside in reserves, brings down the number of profits of the firms. Thus, the study of reserves and how they are created, are pertinent to the understanding of accounting terms. Let us get to know what is a reserve.

What is a Reserve?

What is a Reserve

When a company earns a given amount of profit at the end of a financial year, a certain portion of it is usually retained in the business to meet future contingencies, growth prospects, and more. This amount of money which is kept aside is termed as Reserves.

Reserves help in safeguarding the financial position of a company and can be used for various purposes such as expansion, stable dividend repayments, legal requirements, meeting contingencies, improving the financial situation, investments, and more. It is also sometimes referred to as retained earnings. It is shown on the liability side of a balance sheet under the head “Reserves and Surplus” along with capital. If a company incurs losses then it is not created.

Revenue Reserves
Revenue reserves are created out of profits earned from the operations of a company. It is reflected in the profit and loss appropriation account. It can be used for the following purposes:

  • Dividend to shareholders
  • Expansion of business
  • Stabilizing the dividend rate

Revenue reserves are divided into two types & each is kept aside for appropriation for profits. General reserves are created out of profits & kept aside for the general purpose and financial strengthening of the company, it doesn’t have any special purpose to fulfill and can be used for any useful reason in the future. Such reasons include meeting contingencies and expansions that cannot be foreseen.

Specific reserves, on the other hand, are created keeping a specific reason in mind and can only be used for their designated purpose. Examples of such reserves include Dividend Equalization Reserve, Debenture Redemption Reserves, Contingency Reserves, Capital Redemption Reserves, and more.

Capital Reserve
A capital reserve is created upon revaluation of an asset, such that it reflects the current market value. The capital reserve is created out of capital profits & is usually not distributed as dividends to shareholders. As a rule, they cannot be created out of profits earned from the core operations of a company.

How are Reserves Created?
When an appropriation for an amount for reserves, record an entry to create the reserve account by debiting retained earnings and crediting the general or specific reserve account.

Profit & Loss A/c – Dr.

To reserve A/c


A business wants to reserve funds for a future building construction project. It credits a Building Reserve fund for INR 5 million and debits retained earnings for the same amount. The building is then constructed at a cost of INR 4.9 million, which is accounted for as a debit to the fixed assets account and a credit to cash. What happens when the building is completed?
The original entry is reversed, where INR 5 million will be debited to the building reserve account and credited to the retained earnings account.