Business Glossary

What is Operating Profit?

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, employment, tax or professional advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.

What is operating profit?

Operating profit is the net income derived from a company’s core operations. Put another way, it is the amount of money that a company has remaining after meeting its operating costs gross profit but before paying GST. But why is this such an important facet of a company’s finances?

Making money is important but generating revenue is not the only measure of a company’s financial health. It also needs to keep track of its margin. Operating profit margin is important to track and a very useful financial KPI. Everything used to calculate a company’s operating profit is relevant to the company’s financial health. It takes into account only expenses that are essential in maintaining ordinary operations and also includes costs that result from everyday operations such as depreciation and amortisation.

Operating profit excludes non-operating income, such as:

  • sales of assets
  • gains from foreign exchange transactions
  • investment gains and dividends

It also excludes non-operating expenses such as:

  • interest payments on debts
  • costs associated with mergers, acquisitions or restructuring
  • written-off inventory
  • lawsuit settlements

Because it only factors in costs and revenues from the company’s core operations, it is a more reliable indicator of operational profitability than similar KPIs, like earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT).

Example of operating profit

Company X is a national blended retailer making $300,000 this year in sales revenue. This comes from selling goods within Australia and to customers overseas. However, it also earns other non-operating income, such as foreign exchange gains, to countries where the exchange rate is favourable. This year, it also refitted several of its shops, offsetting the costs by selling on its old fixtures and fittings.

The cost of goods sold are factored into operating profit. This includes all costs directly associated with bringing the products to market including:

  • labour costs
  • materials
  • manufacturing

Other operational costs, such as sales and marketing costs, are also included in operational costs, as are costs associated with shipping, warehousing and logistics. Overall, these total $180,000 across all of the company’s sites. In line with ATO guidelines, the company was also able to claim $15,000 in asset depreciation.

However, the costs associated with the shopfitting are not included, nor is the revenue generated from selling the old fittings and from favourable foreign exchanges.

So the company’s operating profit for the year is $105,000.

Operating profit formula

Operating profits are calculated by starting out with your company’s revenue for a given period. Then subtract your COGS, as well as other operating expenses, such as sales and marketing costs and any other expenses associated with core operations. Next, deduct costs associated with depreciation and amortisation.

The resulting figure will give you your company’s operating profit for the period.

Frequently asked questions about operating profit

Why is operating profit important?

Along with gross profit and net profit, operating profit is an important margin to track. It provides a reliable indicator of how healthy your company is and how profitable its day-to-day operations are. This is because it exclusively factors in revenues and expenses that are integral to ordinary business operations.

Is operating profit the same as EBIT?

Yes and no. Operating income expresses a company’s EBIT, so in this respect, they are the same. While they are often used interchangeably, there is a subtle distinction in the definitions. The income component makes all the difference between the two. EBIT includes non-operational income, such as income from investments or the sale of assets. Operating profit, however, does not. It only factors in operational expenses, making it a more reliable indicator of how profitable core operations are than EBIT.

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