Business Glossary

What is net profit?

When it comes to your company’s financial health, net profit is a key metric. This sum is the amount of profit that is left over when all the costs associated with selling your products and operating your business are deducted. Tracking net profits will provide a clearer depiction of your company’s profitability than simply tracking revenues.

Generating sales revenue is important, of course. But when it comes to assessing the financial health of your company, it can lull business owners into a false sense of security. If the company’s debts, operating expenditures, capital expenditures and other liabilities are high, they can consume a significant proportion of its revenues. This may result in a deficit that can leave the company with no choice but to rely on borrowing.

Net profit is calculated by stripping away expenses outside of your cost of goods sold (COGS). There are two ways to do this, and you will need your income statement to perform the calculation.

  • subtract the COGS, taxes payable, operating expenses, interest payable on debts and any other expenses from your income for the period

  • divide the result by your total revenues from the period

  • multiply this figure by 100 to express it as a percentage

A quicker formula to calculate net profit is to find your net income for the period on the bottom line of your income statement. Divide this figure by your total revenue and multiply the resulting figure by 100 to express it as a percentage.

Net profit example

Let’s flesh out the definition of net profit with a hypothetical example. Imagine you’re looking at your company’s income statement and it looks something like this:

  • total revenue: $100,000
  • operating costs: $30,000
  • cost of goods sold: $15,000
  • tax liability: $13,000
  • net profits: $42,000

This would make your net profit margin .42 or 42% – this means your company earns 42 cents in profit for every dollar it makes. The further away you can get your net margin from the break-even point (the point at which your costs and revenues are equal), the higher your company’s profitability.

Find out more about break-even analysis.

Find out how Square’s dashboard can help you get the reports you need to calculate your profitability.

Net profit margin vs gross profit margin

For accurate financial reporting, it’s essential to differentiate between your net profit margins and your gross profit margins.

While net profit margin is the proportion of net profits to revenue, gross profit is calculated differently. Gross profit margin is the proportion of remaining revenue after the cost of goods sold has been deducted. This includes all expenses directly associated with bringing your product(s) to market. However, it does not include operational costs such as payroll, utilities or rent.

Gross profit margin is calculated by dividing gross profit by total revenue.

Frequently asked questions about net profit

Are self-employed contractors taxed on their net profits?

Sole proprietors and self-employed contractors pay self-employment tax as well as income tax on all net earnings of $400 or more. This is declared on page one of Form 1040 or 1040-SR.

Why is it important to calculate your net profit margin?

Calculating your net profit margin is the key to ascertaining your company’s profitability. It shows you how much profit is generated from every $1 in sales revenue you make.

Is there anything I can do to improve net profits?

Improving net profits means improving revenues while reducing overhead costs. This can be a tricky balancing act. Making drastic cuts to operational spending may be detrimental to your brand from both a customer and employee viewpoint. Targeting areas of waste spending while pursuing low-cost means of improving revenue (such as upselling or customer referrals) will help you to achieve this balance.

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