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by Finage at January 1, 2024 4 MIN READ


Guide to Profit, Gross Margin and Net Profit 


It's obvious that the objective of any business or operation is to be profitable and anything less than that is far from ideal. However, profit is an umbrella term that describes multiple facets, which include gross and net profits as well as margins. Often, these terms are mixed up and made to sound as though they all mean the same thing, which is not true and requires clarification.


So let’s check the data below that will provide and describe these key areas that can illuminate real profitability. This will be done by differentiating the terms and also looking at how figures are calculated.


- Defining all facets

- The primary calculations

- The other side of things

- How does it all look

- The vitality of the figures

- Final thoughts

Defining all facets

Everything begins with an accurate look at the two metrics in question, which are margins as well as profits. Profit describes what remains after the COG (Cost of goods) is removed from the overall revenue.


Margins are simply the percentages that express said profit, from the point of view of having it be about revenue, and is the metric to reveal just how profitable an operation is. With this in mind, we can delve into the four key aspects of profits, starting with the gross side of things before looking at the net. It’s like researching their different lawyers: 

- Profits: what remains from the overall revenue after subtracting the Cost of Goods (COG).

- Margins: it refer to the percentages that express the profit of revenue;  it also reveal the profitability of an operation by indicating how much profit is earned for every unit.


The primary calculations

As we see, Gross profits (GPs) are essentially what's left after all that's spent directly on goods is removed from total revenue. This metric, however, doesn't take into account anything else that's loosely related to operations such as rent or insurance.


Margins (GMs) are similar expressions that reveal the level of profitability as a percentage by multiplying by 100 the quotient left after dividing all profit by all the revenue.


The other side of things

To discern the extent of true profitability, the previous calculation on its own won't suffice, because a lot goes into running an operation that isn't directly linked to the actual goods themselves. Some things that should all be taken into account as you calculate this include the following:

- Administrative expenses

- Rent

- Wages

- Fixtures

- Insurance

- Utilities

- Depreciation

- Legal fees

- Maintenance of equipment


Only when these things are added up do we find the accurate figure, the net profit/income(NI)after the cumulative amount of every expense is subtracted from the initial number. The metric in question is what shows true profitability as well as an operations general state.

The margin (NM, for the sake of the example) on this die of things essentially follows the same path as with the gross side. The way the percentage is determined is the sole difference as it comes after the net income is divided by all revenue.


How does it all look

To best demonstrate the above let's picture a toy shop that just recorded its annual total revenue(TR, for this example)as being at around $100,000. If their COG was around $40,000 and their expenditure(E) outside this was around $30,000, the relevant calculations would be as follows:

- TR ($100,000)-COG($40,000)= GP($60,000)

- GP ($60,000)÷TR($100,000)×100= GM(60%)

- GM ($60,000)-E($30,000)= NI($30,000)

- NI ($30,000)÷TR($100,000)×100= NM(30%)


This, of course, is a favorable look, but negative numbers and percentages are more than common as well. Just try it for yourself by raising the COG value to higher than the TR. Similarly, have the E value be higher than the GP, all of this symbolizes a loss and that something should be addressed.


The vitality of the figures

The above must always be done accurately, as it goes beyond simply knowing your current state. Below are just a few positive things that accurate profit figures and margin percentages allow:

- Investors are given a good insight into how worthwhile going into business with an organization is

- They allow companies to do a bit of self-reflection and identify the areas in which cutting costs is necessary

- Comparing profit figures over time or against industry benchmarks enables individuals and organizations to evaluate their performance relative to their competitors, highlighting areas for improvement and more

Final thoughts

As we wrap up here, the key takeaway is that gross profits and/or margins shouldn't be seen as the sole source of this information on the balance sheets or any relevant paperwork, otherwise, any statement put out will be ultimately false. As such, the net side of this is highly important as it's the accurate assessment of things. While we’re at it, remember that making margin comparisons between organizations is only valid within the same space, as a clothing company and a school offer vastly different services and have varying needs.


This is important because there is a limit to what certain industries can do and you don't want to be discouraged. In any case, all enterprises should be careful to account for everything to present the most accurate numbers for themselves as well as for possible investors. You can use up-to-date solutions to get real-time and historical data to improve your investing decisions and overall performance.

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