How to Project Cost vs. Revenue vs. Profit for Your Small Business

How to Project Cost vs. Revenue vs. Profit for Your Small Business

If you're looking at your small business's finances, you should understand the difference between cost, revenue, and profit. You need to differentiate between them to accurately manage your company's finances.

Profit and revenue are not synonymous, even though many people mistakenly use them interchangeably. As a result, you can make costly errors in accounting and budgeting if you use these terms interchangeably.

Let's look at the differences between cost, revenue, and profit and how they are calculated, and why they are essential.


To run a business, one must incur costs. There are costs associated with every aspect of production. Labor costs are measured in terms of wages and benefits in the production of goods and services.

A fixed asset is depreciated as it is used in production. The interest expense associated with raising capital is typically measured as the cost of capital used to purchase fixed assets.

Measuring the cost of a business is crucial to its success. The costs of many businesses are easily observable and quantifiable. As a result, the quantity of output and the cost of input are directly related.

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It is necessary to estimate or allocate other types of costs. It is not necessary to directly observe or measure the relationship between the cost of input and units of output.

The quality of output is often more important than the quantity in the delivery of professional services, for example, and output cannot simply be measured by the number of patients treated or students taught.

As a result, there is no direct correlation between costs incurred and output achieved when qualitative factors play a significant role in measuring output.

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Your business's revenue refers to the sales of its goods and services. You may also earn revenue from interest, fees, and royalties. Accordingly, revenue is generally described as monthly, quarterly, or annual.

The revenue earned by a service company in March is $50,000 if it invoiced $50,000. As a result, this business does not receive an actual cash payment; rather it is owed $50,000. The amount invoiced to a customer is regarded as revenue in accounting terms.

Revenue - DSers

Revenue in a business can include invoices sent to customers, along with cash payments made at the time of purchase. These are all considered incomes during the period.

You would find $50,000 in revenue on the top line of your Income Statement from March. Businesses often use the word 'revenue' in other situations. You might say, for instance, that you made more money from one product than another. In addition, you can ask how much revenue was earned from a particular contract or customer.

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The revenue referred to in these situations may not refer to a specific period, but instead refers to the income or earnings. Income never includes costs or expenses. Income simply refers to how much the business made.

For example, if you had a single contract to provide a service for a customer and the contract was worth $25,000, your revenue for the project would be $25,000.


To put it simply, profit is what you earn minus your expenses. To earn a profit, you must make more money than it costs to deliver the goods or services.

A single contract was valued at $25,000 in our revenue example above. Your business will make $5,000 on the contract if it costs $20,000 to provide that service.

Profit - DSers

There are two types of profit if we dig a little deeper. These are gross and net profit. Gross profit margin and net profit margin are determined by these two figures.

Gross Profit

You calculate your gross profit by subtracting the cost of goods or services from the revenue from those goods or services. You should be aware that your gross profit is only calculated based on expenses directly associated with the production of those specific goods and services.

Net Profit

In contrast to gross profit, net profit includes all expenses incurred by your business, not just the direct costs. Expenses such as payroll, taxes, and utilities make up the additional expenses.

Calculating Sales Revenue and Profit

The sales revenue is calculated by multiplying the sales price of each good or service by the number of items sold. If an orchard sells 200 apples at $2 each, it will generate $400 in sales revenue. Its total sales revenue is $700 if it also sells 100 lemons for $3 each.

Calculating Sales Revenue and Profit - DSers

Profit is calculated by subtracting total costs from total revenues. To continue our apple orchard example, if it costs $1 to grow and harvest each apple and $2 to grow and harvest each lemon, and the orchard sells 200 apples and 100 lemons, its total cost is $400.

To arrive at the profit of $300, subtract the total sales revenue of $700. From the sale of apples, the orchard made $200, and from lemons, it made $100.

Why Sales Revenue and Profit Matter

The revenue and profit of a company provide insight into the health of the company to businesses and investors alike. Sales revenue shows the quantity demanded at a particular price, where profit indicates how much value a business captures through its prices and costs. A business's profitability is determined by both profit and sales revenue.

Key Differences between Revenue vs. Profit

The following are the key differences between revenue and profit:

Without revenue, there is no profit.

Revenue is the only factor that determines profitability. There will be no profit if you don't sell goods or services.

The same applies to a business that generates revenue but fails to earn profits, as its expenses exceed its income.

Revenue and profit are interdependent, and you cannot have one without the other - no revenue, no profit.

Revenue and profit on your income statement

Profit and revenue both belong on your income statement, whether it is for the IRS or internal use.

The income statement begins with revenue because it's where all calculations begin - when money comes in from the sale of goods or services. Without revenue, there can be no profit.

Revenue and profit on your income statement - DSers

In the income statement, profit (or more precisely, net profit) goes at the bottom since it is the result of all the work. Profit is more commonly known by its more common name: the bottom line.

External forces affect revenue.

Your revenue depends on the number of customers you have and their willingness to pay for your product or service.

Although you can make internal decisions to increase income, revenue is more or less determined by external factors.

Profits are based on internal forces.

Profit, on the other hand, is determined by internal factors. To cover costs, you need enough revenue, but these costs are completely within your control.

The more you minimize the amount you have to subtract from revenue, the more profit margins you will have. Whether you choose to streamline production, cut overhead costs, limit labor expenses, or do all three, the more profit margin you will have.

Final Thoughts

To understand the principles of economics, business analytics, and accounting, you need to know how cost, revenue, and profit are different. Each is used to determine a company's overall health.

A company's income statement includes three very important figures: cost, revenue, and profit.

Profits are referred to as the bottom line since revenue is the top line. Despite the importance of these two figures when making investment decisions, investors must remember that revenue represents the income a company makes before expenses are taken into account. For a company to calculate its profit it must account for all of its expenses, including wages, debts, taxes, and other costs.

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