101: Income Statement Part II


ABC Corp. Income Statement Dec. 31, 2010

Total Revenue $150,000
Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) $60,000
Gross Profit  $90,000
Operating Expenses  
Research & Development (R&D) $5,000
Selling, General and Administrative Expenses (SG&A) $45,000
 Operating Income    
Earnings Before Interest & Taxes (EBIT) $40,000
Interest Expense $5,000
Taxes (30%) $12,000
Net Income $23,000


In our previous post we presented readers with the income statement of the fictitious ABC Corporation duplicated above.  In that entry we gave a brief explanation of each of the items on the income statement that may be helpful to review before proceeding further into this post, which is aimed at teaching you to analyze the income statement for information about the financial situation of a business.

Let’s start our income statement analysis by calculating a very important financial ratio, gross profit margin (also known as gross margin).  The math here is about as easy as it gets, gross profit margin is equal to gross profit divided by total revenue.  In ABC’s case we come up with a gross profit margin of 0.60 or 60% ($90,000/$150,000).  Gross profit margin can be thought of as a measure of efficiency, it tells us how much money is left over from sales after accounting for the cost of the goods sold.  While average profit margins vary greatly from industry to industry, as a general rule a higher gross profit margin indicates a more efficient company within its field.

The next figure we want to calculate is operating income or operating profit, as it is sometimes referred to.  Once again, the math is simple: operating income is equal to gross profit minus operating expenses ($90,000 - $5,000 - $45,000 = $40,000 in our example).  Operating income puts a dollar figure on the amount of money that a business is generating from its core activities and is closely watched by lenders and investors as a gauge of a firm’s ability to repay loans or pay dividends to investors.  If a business is experiencing growth in its operating revenues, then it will have more money available for expansion, debt repayment, or any other management initiatives.  The converse is also true of course, so if your business’s operating income has been steadily declining this should give some cause for concern.

Now let’s go ahead and calculate ABC’s operating margin, which is equal to operating income divided by total revenue ($40,000/$150,00) or 26.67%.  Operating margin tells us how much a company keeps from each dollar of sales, before it has to pay interest and taxes.  As with profit margins averages will vary among different industries, but the higher the figure, the better.  Looking at your company’s operating margins over time, by comparing different years’ income statements, can be an effective tool to measure how effective your firm is at keeping what it earns in sales revenue.  If your revenues are increasing but your margins are shrinking, it may be time to assess whether those additional revenues are worth the money it costs to acquire them.

So hopefully now you have an idea of what the income statement can tell you about your business and how to calculate some simple, yet important, ratios that will also be of interest to lenders and investors. As with our discussion of balance sheets, this series on the income statement is not meant to have been an exhaustive analysis.  We have left out a discussion of some of the more complex items that can appear on the income statements of large corporations, such as amortization and depreciation, although we may cover these in future posts. In any event you should now have the tools to understand a good deal about your own company’s income statement, and if you wish to read further, we’d once again recommend an introductory undergraduate or MBA-level financial management textbook.


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