black definition


What’s in the dark?

The term “in the dark” is used to refer to a company’s profitability and its financial health. A company is said to be in the black if it is profitable or, more precisely, if the company produces earnings after accounting for all expenses.

The term has its roots in accounting history when accountants manually updated financial data in their books before computers and software were used. Accountants used inks of different colors, both black and red, to indicate the profitability of a business. Unlike a business in the black, one that has negative profits or is not profitable is said to be in the red.

The term can also apply to individuals. Anyone who has more assets than Passives and is able to repay his debts without any problem, he is said to be in the black.

Key points to remember

  • The phrase “in the black” is used to refer to the profitability and current financial health of a business.
  • The phrase is rooted in the history of accounting when accountants manually updated financial data in their books in black ink.
  • When a company is in the black, it has positive earnings, is financially solvent, and not overly leveraged.
  • Businesses that are not profitable and show a loss are said to be in the red.
  • Both terms, in black and in red, can also refer to an individual’s personal finances.
  • On today’s financial statements that don’t use ink, negative numbers are usually entered in parentheses or with a minus sign.

Understand in the dark

The phrase “in the dark” is commonly heard in the financial world and refers to a company’s most recent financial situation, usually its last accounting period. When a company is in the black, it is said to be profitable, financially solvent and not over-leveraged (manageable debt is not a problem). As such, the future of the business is certain, so instead of the probability of going bankruptcythe company is able to continue its normal activities.

The expression is derived from the color of the ink used by accountants enter a positive figure on the turnover of a company financial state. Obviously, it is better to be constantly in the black than in the red, as this indicates strong trading performance.

Although computers have replaced the old ink-based system, the terms black and red are still used. Instead of different colored ink, negative earnings and other related figures are contained in parentheses in the financial statements.

What causes companies to be in the dark?

Companies strive to stay in the black because it means they are at or above the break-even point. By being profitable, they are able to repay their debts and maintain their cash flow during difficult times. They must also answer to their leaders and, more importantly, to their shareholders.

A profitable business builds shareholder confidence and also ensures that shareholders will continue to receive income through dividends if dividends are offered. Companies that are in the black also find it easier to raise capital for all of their financial needs, whether debt financing Where equity financing.

The economic cycle also determines whether a company will be in the black. In times of economic certainty, businesses often find themselves profitable. For example, when the economy is expanding, consumers are more likely to borrow and spend more. Retailers, for example, are more profitable and can pay off more debt because interest rate are weak.

On the other hand, when the economy contracts and interest rates are higher, they can find themselves in the red, because the purchasing power of consumers is restricted.

To be in the red against in the dark

There are times when companies find themselves in the red, despite the business cycle. They may not be profitable due to spending on research, new technology, or paying off debt. But this is not always a bad situation and is not of concern because it can be a temporary condition, with imminent profitability, especially if these expenses prepare the company for future profitability.

However, if a company is consistently in the red, it may raise a red flag. Companies that consistently report a loss may lose shareholders, fail to attract new ones, fail to secure any financing, and may end up on the road to bankruptcy.


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