# Accounting Profit: Definition, Calculation, and Real-World Examples

Summary:

Accounting profit is a key financial metric that reflects a company’s earnings, calculated according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). It involves subtracting all explicit costs, including labor, materials, and overhead, from total revenue. This article explores the concept of accounting profit in-depth, highlighting its importance, key differences from economic profit, and how it compares to underlying profit. You’ll also find real-world examples and practical insights into the calculation of accounting profit.

## Understanding accounting profit

Accounting profit is a fundamental measure used to assess the financial health of a business. It is calculated by deducting all explicit costs from the total revenue generated by the company. Explicit costs include expenses such as labor, inventory for production, raw materials, transportation, sales, marketing, and production overhead.

### Key components of accounting profit

Accounting profit consists of the following key components:

• Labor costs: This includes wages and salaries paid to employees.
• Inventory for production: The cost of maintaining inventory required for production processes.
• Raw materials: The expenses associated with acquiring raw materials necessary for manufacturing.
• Transportation costs: Expenses incurred in transporting goods and materials.
• Sales and marketing costs: The costs associated with promoting and selling products or services.
• Production costs and overhead: This includes expenses related to the manufacturing process and other operational costs.

By subtracting these explicit costs from the total revenue, a company arrives at its accounting profit. This figure represents the actual monetary gain or loss a business has experienced over a specific period.

## Accounting profit vs. economic profit

While accounting profit focuses solely on explicit costs, economic profit takes into account implicit costs. Implicit costs include opportunity costs incurred when resources are allocated elsewhere. Let’s illustrate the difference with an example:

### Example:

If a person invested \$100,000 to start a business and earned \$120,000 in profit, their accounting profit would be \$20,000. However, economic profit would factor in implicit costs, such as the opportunity cost of \$50,000, which represents the salary they would have earned if they had kept their day job. In this case, the economic profit would be a loss of \$30,000 (\$120,000 – \$100,000 – \$50,000).

Economic profit is a theoretical calculation that considers alternative actions and their associated costs, while accounting profit reflects the actual financial results of a company for a given period. Accounting profit is often used for tax purposes, while economic profit aids management in decision-making.

## Accounting profit vs. underlying profit

Companies sometimes supplement accounting profit with underlying profit, a metric that excludes one-time charges or infrequent events. Underlying profit aims to eliminate the impact of nonrecurring items, such as natural disasters, on earnings. It is often presented to investors as a key figure to pay attention to.

The objective of underlying profit is to provide a clearer picture of a company’s ongoing profitability by excluding irregular events like restructuring charges or the sale of assets. These events are considered non-routine and do not reflect the day-to-day costs of running the business.

### Real-world example of accounting profit

Let’s examine a real-world example of how accounting profit is calculated:

Company A operates in the manufacturing industry and sells widgets for \$5 each. In January, it sold 2,000 widgets, generating a total monthly revenue of \$10,000. Here’s a breakdown of its accounting profit calculation:

• Total revenue: \$10,000
• Cost of goods sold (COGS): \$2,000
• Gross revenue: \$8,000 (Total revenue – COGS)
• Operating costs (e.g., employee expenses): \$5,000
• Operating profit (EBITDA): \$3,000 (Gross revenue – Operating costs)
• Depreciation expenses: \$1,000
• Earnings before taxes (EBT): \$1,000 (Operating profit – Depreciation expenses)
• Corporate tax (35%): \$350
• Accounting profit: \$650 (EBT – Corporate tax)

## Importance of accounting profit

Understanding the significance of accounting profit is crucial for businesses and investors alike. Here are some key reasons why accounting profit holds a prominent place in financial analysis:

• Financial reporting: Accounting profit is a fundamental component of a company’s financial statements, providing a clear picture of its earnings based on GAAP.
• Taxation: Businesses use accounting profit as a basis for calculating corporate taxes, making it essential for compliance with tax regulations.
• Investor assessment: Investors rely on accounting profit to assess a company’s profitability and make informed investment decisions.
• Performance evaluation: Management uses accounting profit to evaluate the financial performance of different business segments or departments.

## Practical application of accounting profit

Let’s delve into a real-world example of how accounting profit is applied by a manufacturing company, Company B:

Company B manufactures electronic gadgets and sells them to various retailers. In a given year, the company generated \$5 million in total revenue. Here’s a breakdown of its accounting profit calculation:

• Total revenue: \$5,000,000
• Cost of goods sold (COGS): \$2,000,000
• Gross revenue: \$3,000,000 (Total revenue – COGS)
• Operating costs (including labor, materials, marketing, and overhead): \$1,800,000
• Operating profit (EBITDA): \$1,200,000 (Gross revenue – Operating costs)
• Depreciation expenses: \$300,000
• Earnings before taxes (EBT): \$900,000 (Operating profit – Depreciation expenses)
• Corporate tax (25%): \$225,000
• Accounting profit: \$675,000 (EBT – Corporate tax)

Company B can use this accounting profit figure for financial reporting, tax compliance, and internal performance evaluation.

## Comparing accounting profit to gross profit

While accounting profit is a comprehensive measure of a company’s earnings, it’s essential to distinguish it from another crucial financial metric: gross profit. Let’s explore the key differences between these two metrics:

### Difference 1: Expense coverage

Gross profit focuses solely on the costs directly associated with producing goods or services. It includes the cost of goods sold (COGS) and excludes other operating expenses. In contrast, accounting profit considers all explicit costs, including operating expenses and taxes.

### Difference 2: Gross margin vs. net profit

Gross profit is used to calculate the gross margin, which represents the percentage of revenue that remains after covering production costs. Accounting profit, on the other hand, represents the net profit, reflecting all expenses and taxes.

### Difference 3: Evaluation scope

Gross profit is often used to assess the efficiency of a company’s core operations, primarily related to production and sales. Accounting profit provides a broader view of a company’s overall financial performance, including all operational and non-operational costs.

## Conclusion

Accounting profit is a crucial financial metric that provides insights into a company’s profitability based on explicit costs. It offers a realistic view of a business’s financial performance, which is essential for financial reporting and tax purposes. While accounting profit differs from economic profit and underlying profit, it serves specific purposes in assessing a company’s financial health. Understanding these distinctions is vital for effective financial management and decision-making.

### What is the primary purpose of accounting profit?

Accounting profit serves as a key financial metric used to assess a company’s earnings by deducting all explicit costs from total revenue. Its primary purpose includes financial reporting, taxation, and investor evaluation.

### How does accounting profit differ from economic profit?

The main difference lies in their consideration of costs. Accounting profit only accounts for explicit costs, while economic profit considers both explicit and implicit costs, including opportunity costs. Accounting profit reflects actual financial results, while economic profit is a theoretical calculation.

### What are some examples of implicit costs in economic profit?

Implicit costs include the opportunity costs a company incurs when resources are used elsewhere. Examples can be the salary a business owner could have earned if they had kept their day job or the rental income from unused company-owned properties.

### When is underlying profit used, and what purpose does it serve?

Underlying profit is often presented by companies to investors. It excludes one-time charges or infrequent events to provide a clearer view of ongoing profitability. It aims to eliminate the impact of nonrecurring items, such as natural disasters, on earnings.

### How is accounting profit calculated in a real-world example?

In a practical scenario, accounting profit is calculated by subtracting all explicit costs, including labor, raw materials, production, marketing expenses, and overhead, from the total revenue generated by a company. This calculation reflects the actual financial gain or loss experienced over a specific period.

### What is the significance of accounting profit for tax purposes?

Accounting profit plays a vital role in tax calculations. Businesses use it as a basis for calculating corporate taxes, ensuring compliance with tax regulations. It provides a clear picture of a company’s taxable earnings after deducting all relevant expenses.

## Key takeaways

• Accounting profit reflects a company’s earnings after deducting explicit costs according to GAAP.
• Explicit costs include labor, raw materials, production, and marketing expenses.
• Economic profit factors in both explicit and implicit costs, including opportunity costs.
• Underlying profit excludes one-time charges and infrequent events, providing a clearer view of ongoing profitability.
###### View article sources
1. Finance, accounting and profit – Business Queensland
2. Governmental Accounting – Definition, Objectives, Principles – WallStreetMojo
3. Beginners’ Guide to Financial Statement – Sec.gov