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Voluntary Reserve


A voluntary reserve is an amount of cash or other assets that a company sets aside by its own choice, above and beyond required reserve levels. This is done to cover unexpected costs or losses, or to take advantage of potential future financial opportunities. It is not mandated by regulatory bodies, making it distinct from statutory or required reserves.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Voluntary Reserve” is: vɑːlənˌtɛri rɪˈzɝːv

Key Takeaways

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  1. Voluntary Reserves are additional funds set aside by businesses or financial institutions to mitigate future risks beyond their statutory requirement. These reserves are not mandated by any regulatory authority, thus they are “voluntary”.
  2. By building up a Voluntary Reserve, a company can strengthen its financial stability. It can use this reserve to absorb unexpected losses, safeguard against potential risks, or take advantage of potential investment opportunities.
  3. The formation of Voluntary Reserves can impact a firm’s profits as well as its share prices. Shareholders generally prefer corporations to distribute excess profits as dividends rather than holding it back as voluntary reserves. Therefore, businesses should make a careful decision about maintaining the balance between the two.


Voluntary reserves are important because they provide a business with a financial safety net, demonstrating the company’s fiscal responsibility and financial stability. These reserves, which are sums of money set aside voluntarily by the company above and beyond legally mandated reserves, can be employed in times of unexpected costs, to offset potential future losses, or for reinvestment in business growth opportunities. By maintaining a voluntary reserve, a company illustrates to investors and creditors its ability to manage funds effectively and to maintain resilience in the face of economic instability, thus enhancing its financial reputation and potentially its credit ratings.


Voluntary reserve, also referred to as appropriated retained earnings or profit reserves, is a strategy utilized by firms to retain surplus earnings as a safeguard for future financial stability and planned growth initiatives. This reserve, set aside from profits, is not legally required but reflects a conservative approach towards the firm’s fiscal health. The purpose of creating a voluntary reserve is to fortify the company’s financial position, which could facilitate the firm withstand unforeseen adversities or financial downturns. This management-driven decision creates a provision that can help manage the risk of potential obligations, enhance creditworthiness, and ensure a stable dividend policy.Moreover, voluntary reserve is instrumental in achieving long-term growth objectives. Companies often use these funds for reinvestment within the business, for instance, purchasing new equipment, technology upgrades, or expanding the business into new markets. By providing a self-financed source of additional capital, it reduces reliance on external financing and, thus, financial costs. Therefore, voluntary reserve underscores the company’s strategy for financial stability and growth and significantly impacts stakeholders’ interest and confidence in the company’s prospects.


1. Company’s capital reserve: A prime example of a voluntary reserve can be found in the corporate world. For instance, Amazon may choose to set aside a part of its net income as a voluntary reserve to finance large projects in the future, or to mitigate risks associated with unforeseen events. This reserve, commonly known as a capital reserve, is not obligated by any law but created by the corporation’s strategic financial planning. 2. Bank’s cash reserve ratio: While a certain level of cash reserves are required by law, banks may also decide to hold extra reserves voluntarily. For instance, during a period of economic uncertainty, JP Morgan might decide to increase its cash reserve ratio beyond the legal requirement to ensure liquidity and maintain trust with their shareholders and customers.3. Insurance firms’ claim reserves: Insurance companies, such as State Farm or Allstate, often create voluntary reserves to cover potential future claims. Though they are required by law to maintain a certain amount, many choose to hold additional reserves as a financial safety net against periods of high claim activity or extraordinary loss events. This helps maintain their financial stability and ensures they can cover all policyholder claims as they arise.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Voluntary Reserve?

A Voluntary reserve is a provision of profit set aside willingly by a company. It is done to meet future liabilities, losses, or purchase of fixed assets. This reserve is not obligatory, rather based on the discretion and financial strategy of the company.

Is a Voluntary Reserve the same as a Statutory Reserve?

No, a Voluntary Reserve is different from a Statutory Reserve. While both are types of financial reserves, a Statutory Reserve is mandated by law to be set aside, whereas a Voluntary Reserve is done willingly, based on a company’s discretion.

What is the purpose of a Voluntary Reserve?

The main purpose of a Voluntary Reserve is to strengthen the company’s financial position. These reserves can be used to manage unforeseen business risks, for business development, or to create opportunities for investments.

How is a Voluntary Reserve reported in the company’s financial statements?

A Voluntary Reserve is reported under Reserves and Surplus in the company’s balance sheet. This reserve shows the company’s financial strength, as it shows the company’s capacity to set aside profits for future gains or to cover future losses.

Can a Voluntary Reserve be distributed as dividends?

Yes, a Voluntary Reserve can be distributed as dividends. This decision is typically based on the company’s discretion and financial position. It’s important to know that this may not always happen, as the primary purpose of creating a reserve is to cover unforeseen expenses or liabilities.

Can a company generate interest from a Voluntary Reserve?

Yes, a company can invest its Voluntary Reserve in revenue-generating schemes. However, this is at the company’s discretion and dependent upon its financial management strategies.

Related Finance Terms

  • Capital Reserve: It refers to the funds accumulated by a company for a specific purpose, such as meeting future contingencies or financing long-term projects.
  • Contingency Reserve: This is an extra account to increase the company’s financial stability by providing a cushion of financial resources.
  • Retained Earnings: These are the profits a company uses for reinvestments rather than paying them out as dividends.
  • Risk Management: The process of identifying, assessing, and prioritizing uncertainties in investment decisions.
  • Liquidity: The ability of a company to meet its short-term financial obligations.

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