The Difference Between Net Income, Earnings and Profit

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Conversely, revenue sits at the top of the income statement and shouldn’t be confused with earnings or net income. Revenue is the total amount of income earned in a period before expenses have been taken out. Earnings typically refer to after-tax net income, sometimes known as the bottom line or a company’s profits. Earnings are the main determinant of a company’s share price because earnings and the circumstances relating to them can indicate whether the business will be profitable and successful in the long run.

  • For example, when a retailer purchases inventory, money flows out of the business toward its suppliers.
  • Both net income and earnings are often referred to as a company’s bottom line because it’s the profit left over after every cost has been deducted and as a result, sits at the bottom of the income statement.
  • There isn’t a simple answer to that question; both profit and cash flow are important in their own ways.
  • Profit is the portion of that income that remains after subtracting that company’s operating costs, debts, taxes, and any other expenses it incurs in the interest of generating revenue.

Earnings and profit calculations are often used to determine the financial health of a business. They are typically used in reporting business income to tax authorities as well. Often, tax agencies want to know how much a business has collected over a period of time, the cost of the goods or services it sold, and the amount of profits it has earned. Accumulated earnings and profits (E&P) is an accounting term applicable to stockholders of corporations. Accumulated earnings and profits are a company’s net profits after paying dividends to the stockholders, serving as a measure of the economic ability of a corporation to pay such cash distributions.

Other Types of Income and Earnings

Overall, earnings are the net value a company has achieved from operating activities for a specific reporting period. Companies also portray their net earnings by dividing it over a refresher on debt shares outstanding when identifying the earnings per share (EPS) value. The “foreign currency” line item on the income statement is usually not applicable for small businesses.

That means the business would pay $299,250 in interest in taxes — making its net profit $555,750. Taken together, those deductions would chip into the company’s gross sales by $70,000 — leading to a net sales (or revenue) figure of $4,930,000. Alternatively, if you’re already using revenue intelligence software, you could skip the past steps and move directly to gross profit. Once those elements have been folded into a company’s financial reporting, that business has a clearer picture of its actual revenue.

While a company’s financial statements could show revenues that are growing quarter-over-quarter or year-over-year, the company could still be in financial trouble if its expenses continue to outstrip its revenue. That’s why reviewing a company’s earnings—which deducts expenses from revenue—is key to evaluating the long-term sustainability of a company. Effectively managing costs against revenues will determine whether a company will have positive earnings (a profit) or a loss.

  • Alternatively, if you’re already using revenue intelligence software, you could skip the past steps and move directly to gross profit.
  • Three of those metrics are revenue, income, and profit, which is arguably the most important factors to running a business.
  • Profit is the positive amount remaining after subtracting expenses incurred from the revenues generated over a designated period of time.

On the balance sheet, net earnings are included as retained earnings in the equity section. Retained earnings for the balance sheet are calculated as beginning retained earnings plus net income minus dividends. On the cash flow statement, the net earnings begin the top line of the operating activities section. To calculate net profit, a company’s accountant should subtract taxes and interest from operating profit. These two items are the last considerations when calculating total earnings. Net profit enables businesses to calculate net profit margin, the most important figure for many investors.

Revenue vs. Profit: The Difference & Why It Matters

Based on revenue alone, a company could appear to be financially successful. A company’s management will frequently tout its growing revenue when discussing its future prospects; however, revenue alone does not paint a complete picture of a company’s financial health. Overall, these terms are primarily differentiated by the adjectives that precede them.

Is there a difference between a company’s profit vs earnings?

Income and losses are part of a period’s E&P, but certain items—recognized for financial accounting purposes but not for income tax reporting purposes—are subject to adjustment. Net Income is a company’s profit after all expenses have been subtracted from total revenue. Typical expenses might include interest on loans, overhead costs called selling, general, and administrative expense, income taxes, depreciation, and operating expenses such as wages, rent, and utilities.

Getting from Gross Sales to Net Sales

To understand how confusion about earnings versus profit can affect a business, it may help to consider an example in which a vendor receives $1,000 USD in sales for a week and thinks his business is doing well. If he subtracted the direct cost of selling his goods, he may see that his earnings were actually $600 USD for that time period. When he goes on to subtract all of his other related expenses, he may find that his profit is far lower than he anticipated. If a business owner begins to spend money without considering his actual profit versus earnings, he may be laying the path for financial failure.


They don’t have to report E&P but they must know the E&P amount for determining the tax treatment of a transaction. With that said, it’s much easier to maintain the accumulated E&P balance versus preparing the calculation after several years. Calculating E&P each year is painstaking work for tax departments within a company, but it is very important to keep records current because they come into play for many corporate transactions. For example, a C corporation conversion to a real estate investment trust (REIT) requires a thorough accounting analysis of accumulated E&P before it is allowed to proceed. All three terms mean the same thing – the difference between the gross income of the business and all of the expenses of a business, including taxes, depreciation, and interest.

Both net income and earnings are often referred to as a company’s bottom line because it’s the profit left over after every cost has been deducted and as a result, sits at the bottom of the income statement. The earnings yield—the earnings per share for the most recent 12-month period divided by the current market price per share—is another way of measuring earnings, and is in fact just the inverse of the P/E ratio. Earnings are perhaps the single most important and most studied number in a company’s financial statements.

In this situation, interest is considered to be the revenues of the entity, so that interest income is considered a top-line (revenue) item, rather than a bottom-line (profit) item. For example, it’s possible for a company to be both profitable and have a negative cash flow hindering its ability to pay its expenses, expand, and grow. Similarly, it’s possible for a company with positive cash flow and increasing sales to fail to make a profit—as is the case with many startups and scaling businesses. Other sources of income beyond taxable income can boost E&P, such as tax-exempt income and installment sales. Items reducing E&P include cash expenses that are paid but possibly not taxable, such as charitable contributions and capital loss carryforwards.

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