Calculating Gross Profit & Net Profit (And More Importantly, Knowing the Difference!)

Calculating Gross Profit & Net Profit (And More Importantly, Knowing the Difference!)

Understanding the difference between gross profit and net profit is essential for evaluating the financial performance of your small business. Here’s what you need to know:


Gross Profit:

Gross profit is the difference between sales revenue and the direct expenses associated with manufacturing and selling your products or services, also known as cost of goods sold (COGS).

Costs included in COGS are those directly related to product creation and sale, such as labour, materials, shipping, and equipment.

Costs not included in COGS are indirect expenses like rent, insurance, and salaries.

Gross profit is calculated by subtracting COGS from revenue.

The gross profit margin, calculated as a percentage, indicates the portion of revenue that exceeds COGS. A higher margin is generally preferred, with 50-70% considered healthy.

Why Gross Profit Matters:

It provides insight into pricing policies and cost efficiency.

Helps identify opportunities to reduce costs and improve profitability.

Essential for estimating the company’s overall profitability.


Net Profit:

Net profit represents the income left after subtracting all expenses, including COGS, operating expenses, taxes, and interest, from total revenue.

Operating expenses encompass rent, insurance, taxes, salaries, depreciation, overheads, and more.

Net profit is calculated by subtracting total expenses from total revenue.

The net profit margin, calculated as a percentage, shows the profitability of the business after all expenses are considered. Generally, a net profit margin above 20% is desirable.

Why Net Profit Matters:


Indicates overall business success and performance.

Guides decisions on future investments and company growth.

Provides insights into operational efficiency and spending patterns.


Negative Net Profit:

Negative net profit may be expected for new businesses during initial years, but should align with business plans.

Unforeseen circumstances causing negative profits require evaluation and strategic planning to address challenges.


Understanding both gross and net profit is crucial for effectively managing your small business finances, identifying areas for improvement, and making informed decisions for future growth and success.