Difference Wiki

Revenue Reserve vs. Capital Reserve: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 17, 2023
"Revenue reserve" is derived from company profits and used for regular activities, while "capital reserve" arises from capital receipts and is used for long-term purposes.

Key Differences

The financial landscape of businesses often integrates the concepts of "revenue reserve" and "capital reserve." Revenue reserves essentially represent the retained earnings that a company has generated from its operating profits. It's a part of the profits not distributed as dividends, and companies often utilize these reserves for business expansion, offsetting future losses, or other regular operational activities.
On the contrary, capital reserves emerge from capital profits, not associated with regular operations. They stem from events like the sale of fixed assets or shares at a price above their book value. The purpose of a capital reserve is typically more long-term. It is earmarked for specific purposes like meeting future capital expenditure or absorbing unforeseen liabilities or losses.
When a company looks to strengthen its financial position, it might decide to allocate a part of its earnings to the "revenue reserve" as opposed to disbursing it as dividends. This ensures funds are on hand for future ventures or unexpected downturns. Meanwhile, the creation of a "capital reserve" emphasizes the company's prudent management of exceptional capital receipts.
It's crucial for stakeholders to understand the distinction between the two. While "revenue reserve" can offer insights into a company's operational profitability and dividend policies, "capital reserve" can shed light on a company's financial planning concerning rare capital events and long-term financial health.

Comparison Chart


Operating profits
Capital receipts


Business expansion, offsetting losses
Meeting capital expenditure, unforeseen liabilities


More flexible for various uses
Used for specific, long-term purposes

Relation to Operations

Directly related to regular operations
Arises from non-operational, exceptional events


Can be distributed as dividends
Typically not distributed as dividends

Revenue Reserve and Capital Reserve Definitions

Revenue Reserve

Revenue reserve originates from operational profits.
Due to a successful year, the revenue reserve saw significant growth.

Capital Reserve

Capital reserve isn't typically distributed as dividends.
The board clarified that funds from the capital reserve wouldn't be disbursed as dividends.

Revenue Reserve

Revenue reserve can be distributed as dividends.
The company decided to use the revenue reserve to reward its shareholders.

Capital Reserve

Capital reserve is sourced from capital profits.
The sale of the property significantly boosted the capital reserve.

Revenue Reserve

Revenue reserve can be used for various business activities.
They tapped into the revenue reserve to fund the new project.

Capital Reserve

Capital reserve arises from non-operational activities.
Gains from the company's investments were added to the capital reserve.

Revenue Reserve

Revenue reserve represents retained company earnings.
The board decided to allocate a portion of the profit to the revenue reserve.

Capital Reserve

Capital reserve is for specific, long-term objectives.
The capital reserve was established to fund the new building.

Revenue Reserve

Revenue reserve aids in financial stability.
By building a robust revenue reserve, the company weathered economic downturns.

Capital Reserve

Capital reserve emphasizes long-term financial health.
A healthy capital reserve showcased the company's prudent financial planning.


Is "capital reserve" usually given out as dividends?

No, it's typically retained for long-term objectives and isn't distributed as dividends.

Why might a company increase its "revenue reserve"?

To fund future projects, offset potential losses, or for business expansion.

Where does a "capital reserve" typically originate?

It arises from capital receipts, like profits from selling assets above book value.

Can "revenue reserve" be used to distribute dividends?

Yes, it can be distributed as dividends to shareholders.

What's the significance of having a large "capital reserve"?

It indicates prudent financial management concerning rare capital events and long-term planning.

Do both reserves appear on a company's balance sheet?

Yes, both are typically shown under the shareholders' equity section.

What's the main source of a "revenue reserve"?

It mainly comes from a company's operating profits.

When is "capital reserve" typically utilized?

For specific purposes, such as meeting future capital expenditure or absorbing unforeseen liabilities.

Does a higher "revenue reserve" indicate profitability?

Yes, a growing revenue reserve often suggests consistent operational profitability.

Can "revenue reserve" be converted into share capital?

Yes, it can be capitalized and used to issue bonus shares to shareholders.

Can "capital reserve" arise from daily business operations?

No, it stems from non-operational, exceptional events.

Can "capital reserve" be negative?

Typically, no. It represents funds set aside for specific purposes.

Are there legal restrictions on using "capital reserve"?

It depends on jurisdiction, but often there are specific rules governing its utilization.

Why is "capital reserve" not distributed regularly like "revenue reserve"?

It's reserved for specific, often long-term purposes, unlike the more flexible revenue reserve.

How often are these reserves evaluated?

Typically, during annual financial audits or when financial statements are prepared.

Is a "capital reserve" mandatory for businesses?

No, but it's a reflection of prudent financial planning.

Can reserves be considered as a company's savings?

Yes, in a way. They're funds retained for future use, much like savings.

Is it mandatory for companies to maintain a "revenue reserve"?

No, but it's often seen as a wise financial decision for future stability.

How does a "capital reserve" differ from general reserves?

While both are reserves, capital reserve arises from capital profits, whereas general reserves can be sourced from revenue profits.

How can "revenue reserve" benefit a company during economic downturns?

It can provide financial stability, offsetting losses or funding necessary operations.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons