UK Accounting Glossary
In the red means to record a deficit or to be losing money. The term in the red comes from the traditional practice of showing negative numbers in red ink. In the red can be compared to in the black, which means to be profitable. In the red is often used when a company has moved from making a profit to recording a loss, or vice versa. For example, “Acme has been in the red for the past few years, but this year it’s likely to be profitable.” In the red is a vague term. It typically means that the company recorded a net loss for its fiscal year; but in the red might also mean, say, the company posted an operating loss over some other time-span. Thus it’s best to avoid using in the red, except as a lively way to inform readers about a company’s nonsuccess.
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This glossary post was last updated: 9th February 2020.