Definition of PROFIT
What’s left over after you subtract the cost of goods sold and all your expenses from sales.
The difference between income and expenses.
The general term profit is not precisely defined; it may refer to net
gains over a period of time, or cash inflows less cash outflows for an
investment, or earnings before or after certain costs and expenses are
deducted from income or revenue. In the world of business, profit is
measured by the application of generally accepted accounting principles
(GAAP). In the income statement, the final, bottom-line profit is generally
labeled net income and equals revenue (plus any extraordinary gains)
less all expenses (and less any extraordinary losses) for the period. Inter-
nal management profit reports include several profit lines: gross margin,
contribution margin, operating profit (earnings before interest and
income tax), and earnings before income tax. External income statements
report gross margin (also called gross profit) and often report one
or more other profit lines, although practice varies from business to
business in this regard.
The ratio of net income to net sales.
The ratio of net income before taxes to net sales.
The cumulative book income plus any gain or loss on disposition of the assets on termination of the SAT.
This equals the cash inflow from sales during the period minus the cash
outflow for expenses during the period. Keep in mind that to measure
net income, generally accepted accounting principles require the use of
accrual-basis accounting. Starting with the amount of accrual-basis net
income, adjustments are made for changes in accounts receivable,
inventories, prepaid expenses, and operating liabilities—and depreciation
expense is added back (as well as any other noncash outlay
expense)—to arrive at cash flow from profit, which is formally labeled
cash flow from operating activities in the externally reported statement
of cash flows.
The profit made by a division after deducting only those expenses that can be controlled by the
divisional manager and ignoring those expenses that are outside the divisional manager’s control.
A method for understanding the relationship between revenue, cost and sales volume.
analysis a procedure that examines
changes in costs and volume levels and the resulting
effects on net income (profits)
This first-line measure of profit
equals sales revenue less cost of goods sold. This is profit before operating
expenses and interest and income tax expenses are deducted. Financial
reporting standards require that gross margin be reported in
external income statements. Gross margin is a key variable in management
profit reports for decision making and control. Gross margin
doesn’t apply to service businesses that don’t sell products.
The profit a company makes before expenses and taxes are taken away.
The difference between the price at which goods or services are sold and the cost of sales.
Income The revenue generated from the sale of goods or services.
The result of subtracting cost of goods sold from sales. Synonymous with gross margin.
Revenue less cost of goods sold.
Gross profit divided by sales, which is equal to each sales dollar left over after paying
for the cost of goods sold.
Gross profit divided by revenue.
See operating profit.
Net profit margin
Net income divided by sales; the amount of each sales dollar left over after all expenses
have been paid.
The profit made by the business for an accounting period, equal to gross profit less selling, finance, administration etc. expenses, but before deducting interest or taxation.
See earnings before interest and income tax (EBIT).
Operating profit margin
The ratio of operating margin to net sales.
a temporary absorption costing profit caused
by producing more inventory than is sold
Profit and Loss account
A financial statement measuring the profit or loss of a business – income less expenses – for an accounting period.
profit and loss statement (P&L statement)
This is an alternative moniker
for an income statement or for an internal management profit report.
Actually, it’s a misnomer because a business has either a profit or a loss
for a period. Accordingly, it should be profit or loss statement, but the
term has caught on and undoubtedly will continue to be profit and loss
Profit before interest and taxes (PBIT)
a responsibility center in which managers are responsible for generating revenues and planning and controlling all expenses
An entity within a corporation against which both revenues and costs are
recorded. This results in a separate financial statement for each such entity, which
reveals a net profit or loss, as well as a return on any assets used by the entity.
A division or unit of an organization that is responsible for achieving profit targets.
Indicator of profitability. The ratio of earnings available to stockholders to net sales.
Determined by dividing net income by revenue for the same 12-month period. Result is shown as a
the ratio of income to sales
Profit Margin Ratio
A measure of how much profit is earned on each dollar of sales. It
is calculated by dividing the net income available for distribution to
shareholders by the total sales generated during the period.
This concept refers to a separate source of revenue and
profit within a business organization, which should be identified for
management analysis and control. A profit module may focus on one
product or a cluster of products. profit in this context is not the final, bottom-
line net income of the business as a whole. Rather, other measures
of profit are used for management analysis and decision-making purposes—
such as gross margin, contribution margin, or operating profit
(earnings before interest and income tax).
Ratios based on sales revenue for a period. A measure of
profit is divided by sales revenue to compute a profit ratio. For example,
gross margin is divided by sales revenue to compute the gross margin
profit ratio. Dividing bottom-line profit (net income) by sales revenue
gives the profit ratio that is generally called return on sales.
an incentive payment to employees that is
contingent on organizational or individual performance
Profit Sharing Plan
A retirement plan generally funded by a percentage of company
profits, but into which contributions can be made in the absence of profits.
a visual representation of the amount
of profit or loss associated with each level of sales
The present value of the future cash flows divided by the initial investment. Also called
the benefit-cost ratio.
See cash value added.
A method for determining the profitability of an investment. It is
calculated by dividing the present value of the future net cash flows
by the initial cash investment.
Ratio of net present value to initial investment.
profitability index (Pl)
a ratio that compares the present value of net cash flows to the present value of the net investment
Ratios that focus on the profitability of the firm. profit margins measure performance
with relation to sales. Rate of return ratios measure performance relative to some measure of size of the
pseudo microprofit center
a center for which a surrogate
of market value must be used to measure output revenue
real microprofit center
a center whose output has a market value
The amount of profit after deducting interest, taxation and dividends that is retained by the business.
A probability used to determine a "sure" expected value (sometimes called a
certainty equivalent) that would be equivalent to the actual risky expected value.
A broad, all-inclusive term that refers to the methods and procedures
of financial record keeping by a business (or any entity); it also
refers to the main functions and purposes of record keeping, which are
to assist in the operations of the entity, to provide necessary information
to managers for making decisions and exercising control, to measure
profit, to comply with income and other tax laws, and to prepare financial
Accounting rate of return (ARR)
A method of investment appraisal that measures
the profit generated as a percentage of the
investment – see return on investment.
accounting rate of return (ARR)
the rate of earnings obtained on the average capital investment over the life of a capital project; computed as average annual profits divided by average investment; not based on cash flow
An expense for profit purposes even though no payment has been made.
Well, frankly, accrual is not a good descriptive
term. Perhaps the best way to begin is to mention that accrual-basis
accounting is much more than cash-basis accounting. Recording only the
cash receipts and cash disbursement of a business would be grossly
inadequate. A business has many assets other than cash, as well as
many liabilities, that must be recorded. Measuring profit for a period as
the difference between cash inflows from sales and cash outflows for
expenses would be wrong, and in fact is not allowed for most businesses
by the income tax law. For management, income tax, and financial
reporting purposes, a business needs a comprehensive record-keeping
system—one that recognizes, records, and reports all the assets and liabilities
of a business. This all-inclusive scope of financial record keeping
is referred to as accrual-basis accounting. Accrual-basis accounting
records sales revenue when sales are made (though cash is received
before or after the sales) and records expenses when costs are incurred
(though cash is paid before or after expenses are recorded). Established
financial reporting standards require that profit for a period
must be recorded using accrual-basis accounting methods. Also, these
authoritative standards require that in reporting its financial condition a
business must use accrual-basis accounting.
A method of accounting in which profit is calculated as the difference between income when it is earned and expenses when they are incurred.
activity-based management (ABM)
a discipline that focuses on the activities incurred during the production/performance process as the way to improve the value received
by a customer and the resulting profit achieved by providing
The simultaneous buying and selling of a security at two different prices in two different markets,
resulting in profits without risk. Perfectly efficient markets present no arbitrage opportunities. Perfectly
efficient markets seldom exist.
The purchase of securities on one market for immediate resale on
another market in order to profit from a price or currency discrepancy.
Transactions designed to make a sure profit from inconsistent prices.
asset turnover ratio
A broad-gauge ratio computed by dividing annual
sales revenue by total assets. It is a rough measure of the sales-generating
power of assets. The idea is that assets are used to make sales, and the
sales should lead to profit. The ultimate test is not sales revenue on
assets, but the profit earned on assets as measured by the return on
assets (ROA) ratio.
Assuris is a not for profit organization that protects Canadian policyholders in the event that their life insurance company should become insolvent. Their role is to protect policyholders by minimizing loss of benefits and ensuring a quick transfer of their policies to a solvent company where their benefits will continue to be honoured. Assuris is funded by the life insurance industry and endorsed by government. If you are a Canadian citizen or resident, and you purchased a product from a member life insurance company in Canada, you are protected by Assuris.
All life insurance companies authorized to sell in Canada are required, by the federal, provincial and territorial regulators, to become members of Assuris. Members cannot terminate their membership as long as they are licensed to write business in Canada or have any in force business in Canada.
If your life insurance company fails, your policies will be transferred to a solvent company. Assuris guarantees that you will retain at least 85% of the insurance benefits you were promised. Insurance benefits include Death, Health Expense, Monthly Income and Cash Value. Your deposit type products will also be transferred to a solvent company. For these products, Assuris guarantees that you will retain 100% of your Accumulated Value up to $100,000. Deposit type products include accumulation annuities, universal life overflow accounts, premium deposit accounts and dividend deposit accounts. The key to Assuris protection is that it is applied to all benefits of a similar type. If you have more than one policy with the failed company, you will need to add together all similar benefits before applying the Assuris protection. The Assuris website can be found at www.assuris.ca.
A term often used instead of the more formal and correct
term—statement of financial condition. This financial statement summarizes
the assets, liabilities, and owners’ equity sources of a business at a
given moment in time. It is prepared at the end of each profit period and
whenever else it is needed. It is one of the three primary financial statements
of a business, the other two being the income statement and the
statement of cash flows. The values reported in the balance sheet are the
amounts used to determine book value per share of capital stock. Also,
the book value of an asset is the amount reported in a business’s most
recent balance sheet.
A street-smart term that refers to the practice by many businesses
of recording very large lump-sum write-offs of certain assets or
recording large amounts for pending liabilities triggered by business
restructurings, massive employee layoffs, disposals of major segments of
the business, and other major traumas in the life of a business. Businesses
have been known to use these occasions to record every conceivable
asset write-off and/or liability write-up that they can think of in
order to clear the decks for the future. In this way a business avoids
recording expenses in the future, and its profits in the coming years will
be higher. The term is derisive, but investors generally seem very forgiving
regarding the abuses of this accounting device. But you never
know—investors may cast a more wary eye on this practice in the future.
A commonly used term that refers to the net income (profit)
reported by a business, which is the last, or bottom line, in its income
statement. As you undoubtedly know, the term has taken on a much
broader meaning in everyday use, referring to the ultimate or most important
effect or result of something. Not many accounting-based terms have
found their way into everyday language, but this is one that has.
An analysis of the level of sales at which a project would make zero profit.
An analytical technique for studying the relationships between fixed cost, variable cost, and profits. A breakeven chart graphically depicts the nature of breakeven analysis. The breakeven point represents the volume of sales at which total costs equal total revenues (that is, profits equal zero).
a graph that depicts the relationships among revenues, variable costs, fixed costs, and profits (or losses)
The point at which total costs equal total revenue, i.e. where there is neither a profit nor a loss.
The annual sales volume level at which total contribution
margin equals total annual fixed expenses. The breakeven point is only a
point of reference, not the goal of a business, of course. It is computed by
dividing total fixed expenses by unit margin. The breakeven point is
quite useful in analyzing profit behavior and operating leverage. Also, it
gives manager a good point of reference for setting sales goals and
understanding the consequences of incurring fixed costs for a period.
The sales level at which a company, division, or product line makes a
profit of exactly zero, and is computed by dividing all fixed costs by the average
gross margin percentage.
a mission of increasing market share, even at
the expense of short-term profits and cash flow; typically
pursued by a business unit that has a small market share
in a high-growth industry; appropriate for products that
are in the early stages of the product life cycle
A very broad term rooted in economic theory and referring to
money and other assets that are invested in a business or other venture
for the general purpose of earning a profit, or a return on the investment.
Generally speaking, the sources of capital for a business are
divided between debt and equity. Debt, as you know, is borrowed money
on which interest is paid. Equity is the broad term for the ownership
capital invested in a business and is most often called owners’ equity.
Owners’ equity arises from two quite different sources: (1) money or
other assets invested in the business by its owners and (2) profit earned
by the business that is retained and not distributed to its owners (called
When a stock is sold for a profit, it's the difference between the net sales price of securities and
their net cost, or original basis. If a stock is sold below cost, the difference is a capital loss.
To make a payment that might otherwise be an expense (in the profit and Loss account) an asset
(in the Balance Sheet).
A method of accounting in which profit is calculated as the difference between income
when it is received and expenses when they are paid.
A dividend paid in cash to a company's shareholders. The amount is normally based on
profitability and is taxable as income. A cash distribution may include capital gains and return of capital in
addition to the dividend.
An obvious but at the same time elusive term that refers to cash
inflows and outflows during a period. But the specific sources and uses
of cash flows are not clear in this general term. The statement of cash
flows, which is one of the three primary financial statements of a business,
classifies cash flows into three types: those from operating activities
(sales and expenses, or profit-making operations), those from
investing activities, and those from financing activities. Sometimes the
term cash flow is used as shorthand for cash flow from profit (i.e., cash
flow from operating activities).
Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME)
A not-for-profit corporation owned by its members. Its primary
functions are to provide a location for trading futures and options, collect and disseminate market information,
maintain a clearing mechanism and enforce trading rules.
A privately owned, profit-seeking firm that accepts deposits and makes loans.
These are securities that represent equity ownership in a company. Common shares let an
investor vote on such matters as the election of directors. They also give the holder a share in a company's
profits via dividend payments or the capital appreciation of the security.
An intermediate measure of profit equal to sales revenue
minus cost-of-goods-sold expense and minus variable operating
expenses—but before fixed operating expenses are deducted. profit at
this point contributes toward covering fixed operating expenses and
toward interest and income tax expenses. The breakeven point is the
sales volume at which contribution margin just equals total fixed
the difference between selling price and
variable cost per unit or in total for the level of activity; it
indicates the amount of each revenue dollar remaining
after variable costs have been covered and going toward
the coverage of fixed costs and the generation of profits
The net present value of an investment divided by the investment's initial cost. Also called
the profitability index.
cost of capital
Refers to the interest cost of debt capital used by a business
plus the amount of profit that the business should earn for its equity
sources of capital to justify the use of the equity capital during the
period. Interest is a contractual and definite amount for a period,
whereas the profit that a business should earn on the equity capital
employed during the period is not. A business should set a definite goal
of earning at least a certain minimum return on equity (ROE) and compare
its actual performance for the period against this goal. The costs of
debt and equity capital are combined into either a before-tax rate or an
after-tax rate for capital investment analysis.
a contract in which the customer agrees
to reimburse the producer for the cost of the job plus a
specified profit margin over cost
A particularly profitable or otherwise particularly valuable corporate unit or asset of a firm.
see cost-volume-profit analysis
Dead Peasants Insurance
Also known as "Dead Janitors Insurance", this is the practice, where allowed, in several U.S. states, of numerous well known large American Corporations taking out corporate owned life insurance policies on millions of their regular employees, often without the knowledge or consent of those employees. Corporations profiting from the deaths of their employees [and sometimes ex-employees] have attracted adverse publicity because ultimate death benefits are seldom, even partially passed down to surviving families.
An excess of liabilities over assets, of losses over profits, or of expenditure over income.
degree of operating leverage
a factor that indicates how a percentage change in sales, from the existing or current
level, will affect company profits; it is calculated as contribution
margin divided by net income; it is equal to (1 - margin of safety percentage)
degree of operating leverage (DOL)
Percentage change in profits given a 1 percent change in sales.
A dividend is a portion of a company's profit paid to common and preferred shareholders. A stock
selling for $20 a share with an annual dividend of $1 a share yields the investor 5%.
A payment a company makes to stockholders. Earnings before income tax. The profit a company made
before income taxes.
The payment of after-tax profits to shareholders as their share of the profits of the business for an accounting period.
As the term dividend relates to a corporation's earnings, a dividend is an amount paid per share from a corporation's after tax profits. Depending on the type of share, it may or may not have the right to earn any dividends and corporations may reduce or even suspend dividend payments if they are not doing well. Some dividends are paid in the form of additional shares of the corporation. Dividends paid by Canadian corporations qualify for the dividend tax credit and are taxed at lower rates than other income.
As the term dividend relates to a life insurance policy, it means that if that policy is "participating", the policy owner is entitled to participate in an equitable distribution of the surplus earnings of the insurance company which issued the policy. Surpluses arise primarily from three sources:
1) the difference between anticipated and actual operating expenses,
2) the difference between anticipated and actual claims experience, and
3) interest earned on investments over and above the rate required to maintain policy reserves. Having regard to the source of the surplus, the "dividend" so paid can be considered, in part at least, as a refund of part of the premium paid by the policy owner.
Life insurance policy owners of participating policies usually have four and sometimes five dividend options from which to choose:
1) take the dividend in cash,
2) apply the dividend to reduce current premiums,
3) leave the dividends on deposit with the insurance company to accumulate at interest like a savings plan,
4) use the dividends to purchase paid-up whole life insurance to mature at the same time as the original policy,
5) use the dividends to purchase one year term insurance equal to the guaranteed cash value at the end of the policy year, with any portion of the dividend not required for this purpose being applied under one of the other dividend options.
NOTE: It is suggested here that if you have a participating whole life policy and at the time of purchase received a "dividend projection" of incredible future savings, ask for a current projection. Life insurance company's surpluses are not what they used to be.
Unlike dividends which are paid to company shareholders, participating insurance policy dividends are not based on the company's overall profits. Rather, they are determined by grouping policies by type and country of issue and looking at how each class contributes to the company's earnings and surplus.
profits paid out to shareholders by a corporation.
model a model that indicates the return on investment
as it is affected by profit margin and asset turnover
Dupont system of financial control
Highlights the fact that return on assets (ROA) can be expressed in terms
of the profit margin and asset turnover.
A company's ability to generate a sustainable, and likely growing, stream of
earnings that provide cash flow.
Earnings Management The active manipulation of earnings toward a predetermined target.
That target may be one set by management, a forecast made by analysts, or an amount that is consistent with a smoother, more sustainable earnings stream. Often, although not always, earnings management entails taking steps to reduce and “store” profits during good years for use during slower years. This more limited form of earnings management is known as income smoothing.
earnings before interest and income tax (EBIT)
A measure of profit that
equals sales revenue for the period minus cost-of-goods-sold expense
and all operating expenses—but before deducting interest and income
tax expenses. It is a measure of the operating profit of a business before
considering the cost of its debt capital and income tax.
Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT)
A financial measure defined as revenues less cost of goods sold
and selling, general, and administrative expenses. In other words, operating and non-operating profit before
the deduction of interest and income taxes.
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