Revenue vs. Profit: What's The Difference?

Camino Financial06 Nov 2023
Revenue vs. Profit: What's The Difference?
It's essential to understand revenue vs. profit when examining business finances. Revenue shows how much money a business brings in from its sales, and profit is more important because it shows how much money a business makes. Let's learn about revenue and profit, how to calculate them, and why they are essential for making better decisions about allocating resources and growing a business.
Table of Contents
1. What is the difference between profit and revenue?
2. Difference between revenue vs. income vs. profit
3. Revenue vs. profit in real life
4. What is revenue in business?
5. What is profit in business?
6. Net revenue vs. gross profit
7. FAQs

What Is the Difference Between Profit and Revenue?

Revenue and profit are both very strong indicators of your company’s financial well-being. Because you’ll use both, it is crucial to understand their differences to assess your business’ finances accurately. The key difference to understanding both these terms is the expenses. The main difference is that revenue is income before expenses when looking at total revenue and profit, and profit is income after expenses. Without generating sufficient revenue, your business can’t make a profit.
Revenue Profit
Definition Revenue is your business’ income before expenses. Profit is your business’ remaining income after expenses.
Formula Quantity x Sale Price = Revenue Revenue - Expenses = Profit
Types Operating Revenue, Non-Operating Revenue Gross Profit, Operating Profit, Net Profit
Relationship You can generate revenue without profit. You cannot generate profit without first generating sufficient revenue.
Where to find Revenue is found at the top of the income statement. Net profit is generally the last line on the income statement.
What is an Income Statement?
But to truly understand the differences, let’s take a look at each concept separately.

How Does Revenue Affect Profit?

Revenue directly affects profit, forming the basis for calculating a business's potential earnings. When revenue goes up, and all other factors remain unchanged, it has the potential to increase profit. This is because higher revenue means more financial resources are available to cover expenses, leaving a surplus as profit. However, revenue alone doesn't determine profit entirely. To accurately evaluate profit, it is crucial to take into account the expenses associated with generating that revenue. These expenses encompass production costs, operational expenses, marketing expenditures, employee salaries, raw materials, rent, taxes, and other overhead costs.

Which is More Important: Revenue or Profit?

The key is not to look at them independently; instead, consider both sides as one entity and plan for growth accordingly. So I think the answer is: Profit! The reason is: if your business doesn’t make any money, it won’t last long whether or not you have great revenue numbers. Both are very important and can help you understand more about your business finances. That said, profit gives a more accurate understanding of your business’ finances.

Difference Between Revenue vs. Income vs. Profit

Here are the basic differences between income vs. revenue vs. profit.


It is the earnings generated by your business’s operations before expenses. You can thought revenue also as the income that a business earns from its normal business activities, usually from selling goods and services to customers.


It is the earnings generated by your business’s operations after expenses.


Income is the amount of money or economic value that a person receives, earns, or makes from different sources. This is typically earned from wages and salaries, investments, rental property income, and earnings from self-employment activities such as owning one’s own business and selling one’s goods and services. Income is often used interchangeably with “profit,” although the two are not entirely synonymous. You can calculate it by adding up all revenue earned from a company’s activity – any revenue generated through the sale of goods.
#DidYouKnow There are 2 types of income: net income and gross income. Calculate Your Business Profitability Ratios

Revenue vs. Profit in Real Life

To better understand the differences between revenue vs. profit, let’s take a look at a real-life example of these concepts. For example, let’s say you own an auto repair shop. You offer several services, with a different selling price each, including:
  • Oil changes: $50
  • Tuning: $100
  • Tire Replacement: $100
  • Engine Repair: $150
  • Brake Repair: $120
In October, you sell 20 oil changes, ten tunings, five brake repairs, ten tire replacements, and three engine repairs. Now, let’s calculate profit vs. revenue.

Calculating Revenue Example

You would calculate your total revenue for October by adding up all the earnings:
  • Revenue = Quantity x Sale Price
  • Oil changes = $50 x 20 = $1,000
  • Tuning = $100 x 10 = $1,000
  • Break repairs = $120 x 5 = $600
  • Tire replacements = $100 x 10 = $1,000
  • Engine repairs = $150 x 3 = $450
  • Sum of totals: $1,000 + $1,000 + $600 + $1,000 + $450
Revenue =  $4,050

Calculating Profit Example

To find your Profit for October, you would need to compile all of your expenses and subtract them from your revenue. This could include payroll, equipment costs, utilities, taxes, and any other expenses. For this example, let’s say your monthly expenses for October are $3,150, which includes salaries, electricity, and all the materials. Profit is the difference between revenue and cost, so you would need to subtract the expenses from the revenue:
  • Profit = Revenue – Expenses
  • Profit = $4,050 – $3,150
  • Profit = $900
Your net Profit for October would be $900.
#DidYouKnow You can calculate both indicators for any accounting period you want: for a month, the whole year, etc. If you’re going to compare them, just make sure you’re calculating both for the same time.

Net Profit vs. Net Revenue

The difference between net profit and net revenue is the difference between your total revenues for a period of time minus all of your expenses during that same time. Net income is the amount left over after you have paid all your operating costs. For example, if you are running a business that has done $50,000 in sales this month and cost you only $10,000 to make those sales possible (no other expenses), you will have a net profit of $40,000 this month. Net revenue vs. profit is the most important measure in a company’s financial health because it shows how much extra money or profit you made on top of what you spent to generate that revenue. To calculate net profit, you need to deduct all expenses, including operating expenses, interest expenses, and taxes, from the gross profit. The formula for net profit is as follows:
Net Profit = Gross Profit - Total Expenses

What is Revenue in Business?

Revenue is the income generated from a company’s core business operations and activities. It’s also called the top line. Similarly, some call it sales or turnover. Revenue is all the income your business generates before subtracting other expenses. In other words, it is the money your company receives in exchange for goods or services. Revenue includes sales. However, it can also include things like income from interest and rental income. These income sources, though, are typically accounted for separately.

What is the Formula for Revenue?

Calculating revenue is very easy. Just use the following formula to calculate business revenue:
Revenue = Quantity x Sale Price
Let’s look at an example: If you own a bakery and sell 100 loaves of bread in a month for $5 each, your revenue from selling bread would be $500. Some people also refer to revenue as a company’s top line. Why? Because revenue is typically listed at the top of the income statement.

Why Is Revenue Important?

Revenue is crucial for businesses as it is the primary source of income that sustains their operations and enables them to generate profit. Without revenue, a business cannot survive or grow. It provides the necessary financial resources to cover expenses, invest in growth initiatives, and fulfill obligations to stakeholders. Revenue is a key indicator of a company's financial health, competitive positioning, and market performance. It attracts investors, supports funding opportunities, and helps businesses assess their operational efficiency and effectiveness. Revenue is essential for a business's survival, profitability, and long-term success. Furthermore, revenue serves as a performance metric that guides business decision-making. It helps companies evaluate the success of their sales strategies, marketing efforts, and overall business performance.

What is Profit in Business?

Profit is the difference between earned and spent in buying, operating, or producing something. In other words, it’s the financial gain of a business. Whereas revenue is the income generated before expenses, profit is the income that remains after subtracting all expenses. These can include anything from inventory costs to taxes. It’s also called the bottom line or net income. Ultimately, profit is a part of your revenue. So ideally, after subtracting all of your expenses, you will have income remaining, making your company profitable.
#DidYouKnow Profit is not the same thing as cash flow. Cash flow is a separate concept entirely. Be sure to read more about the differences between cash flow vs profit.

Factors That Affect Profit

  • Sales volume: The more products or services a business sells, the more revenue it will generate.
  • Sales price: The price at which a business sells its products or services can significantly impact its profit margin.
  • Cost of goods sold: The cost of producing or acquiring the goods or services a business sells is another major factor affecting profit.
  • Operating expenses: Operating expenses, such as rent, salaries, and marketing costs, can also affect a business's profits.
  • Taxes: Businesses must pay taxes on their profits, which can reduce their bottom line.
  • Competition: The level of competition in a business's industry can also affect its profit. If many other businesses offer similar products or services, they may have to lower their prices or increase their marketing efforts to compete, leading to lower profits.
  • Economic conditions: The overall economic climate can also impact a business's profits. During times of economic recession, businesses may see a decline in sales, which can lead to lower profits.

What is the Formula for Profit?

To calculate your profit, use the following formula:
Profit = Revenue – Expenses
First, let’s use the previous example in which you made $500 in sales revenue: Imagine that between ingredients, rent, and salaries, your monthly expenses amounted to $400. In this case, your monthly profit would only be $100, even though you sold $500 worth of products. Profit is a subset of revenue. Therefore, you have to generate enough revenue to offset your expenses and still have income left over to generate profit.

Different Types of Profits

Small businesses can generate profits in many different ways. One of the most common is through the sale of products or services. When a company agrees to sell something, they are taking on some risk that it will deliver what they promise. There are three different types of profit: gross profit, operating profit, and net profit.
  • Gross profit is your total sales minus the cost of goods sold.
  • Operating profit is your gross profit minus your business’ operating expenses.
  • Net profit is your remaining income after all of your expenses.
Learn more about the different types of profit.

Revenue minus Expenses= Profit

You profit by subtracting your total expenses from your total revenue for a given period. Whether one month or twelve months, you have either lost or made money at the end of it all – depending on if your revenues are greater than or less than your expenses during that same period. Your objective as a business person should always be to maximize both revenue and profits.

Net Revenue vs. Gross Profit

Net revenue, or net sales or total revenue, is the total amount of money a company generates from its primary business activities. It represents the total revenue earned by a company after deducting any sales returns, discounts, and allowances. You calculate net revenue by subtracting these deductions from the gross revenue or total sales. On the other hand, gross profit is the amount of money left after subtracting the cost of goods sold (COGS) from the net revenue. It measures how much money a company has earned from its core business activities after accounting for the direct costs of producing or acquiring the goods or services sold. Here's the formula to calculate gross profit:
Gross Profit = Net Revenue - Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)
The gross profit margin is often expressed as a percentage and is calculated by dividing the gross profit by the net revenue:
Gross Profit Margin = (Gross Profit / Net Revenue) x 100
Net revenue provides a broader view of a company's revenue-generating activities, while gross profit focuses specifically on the profitability of those activities after accounting for the costs directly associated with them.

Strengthen Your Revenue and Profit

Understanding your financial statements and the differences between revenue vs. profit is the key to efficient accounting and budgeting practices. Your profit and revenue are important indicators that can tell you a lot about the financial health of your small business. Therefore, you can use these figures to:
  • Firstly, you’ll be able to determine the pricing of your products and services,
  • in addition, it can help you create your project budget and more!
People often make the mistake of using profit and revenue interchangeably. Unfortunately, doing so is inaccurate and can have serious consequences when managing a small business. Apply for a business loan today


How can profit be higher than revenue?

Revenue and profit are on different quantifiable variables. With revenue, you must first look at all of the costs associated with making a product or delivering a service. Costs you can include in the revenue calculation include labor, materials, equipment costs, etc. With profit, you must then look at all the factors that have affected your company’s finances for the relevant period. This can vary depending on whether it is being measured on an annual.

Is revenue before or after expenses?

Revenue is before expenses. You can calculate revenue by multiplying the number of units sold by the price per unit. You can calculate expenses by adding up all of the costs incurred by a company, such as salaries, rent, utilities, and marketing. So, you can calculate profit by subtracting expenses from revenue.

Which is better, revenue or profit?

Profit is better than revenue because it measures how much money a company has left over after paying all of its expenses. Revenue is simply the total amount of money a company brings in from its business activities before deducting any expenses.

Can profit be higher than revenue?

In general, no, profit cannot be higher than revenue. You can calculate the profit by taking revenue and subtracting expenses. If revenue is higher than expenses, then profit will be positive. If revenue is lower than expenses, then profit will be negative.

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