Wondering if you're doing everything you can to boost income and cut costs? Or if your business is actually generating more profit this year than it was last?

The best way to answer these questions is with a thorough assessment of profitability.

That's where gross and net profit calculations come in. These are two of the most important metrics for measuring your capacity to generate income relative to costs and expenses.

Let's take a look at the differences between gross and net profit, and what they can reveal about the financial health of your business.

Gross profit: a general overview of profitability

You can calculate your company's gross profit by subtracting the cost of the goods or services (otherwise known as COGS) you sell from your total income, over a specific period of time. The equation looks like this:

Sales - cost of goods sold = gross profit

When determining the COGS, businesses take into account all of the processes involved in their production and delivery to customers, including:

  • raw materials
  • manufacturing
  • packaging
  • shipping and fuel.

Once you know your gross profit, you can divide it by your total income to calculate your gross profit margin – a percentage that shows exactly how much money is left over after you've covered your COGS.

This calculation will show you how efficiently you're managing your resources – and where optimisation may be needed – so you can work toward a healthier bottom line.

Net profit: drilling down to profits after all expenses

The net profit calculation goes a step further by determining how much income remains after subtracting all expenses, including COGS. Net profit reveals your precise profit per dollar of sales after deducting operating expenses, taxes, interest paid on debt, etc. In order to keep abreast of your financial status, it’s wise to calculate net profit every month.

Determining your net profit is crucial for a number of reasons, including:

  • knowing how much you can safely pay yourself each month, or divide among your business partners;
  • applying for a business loan, where net profit is an important part of the lender's free cash flow analysis
  • measuring performance against an industry benchmark and your main competitors.

Protect your profits by ensuring you get paid

It goes without saying that calculating gross and net profits won't be very useful if you're having trouble collecting payment from your customers. Staying on top of accounts receivable is crucial for maintaining positive cash flow, turning a healthy profit, and growing your business.

Here are a few tips for ensuring timely payment:

  • require payment up front, and only offer 30-day terms to clients who have proven their trustworthiness
  • track invoices weekly, contact clients immediately after the payment deadline has been missed, and work together to set a new deadline
  • suggest an instalment program for clients who are encountering financial difficulties.
  • offer easy payment methods, most accounting packages now offer online payment gateways/services, with pay now options.
  • If you invoice clients at the point of sale such as trades, invest in a smart and portable terminal merchant service such as MYOB Pay Direct

Tighter invoice collection combined with clear insights into profitability will pave the way to smarter, more efficient management – your key to long-term sustainable business growth.

If you would like to discuss how to take advantage of any of the suggestions methods, call us to discuss your specific requirements.

You Love Your Business, We Love Your Numbers

Leanne Berry

Leanne Berry

Director, Love Your Numbers

About The Author

A self-confessed "geek girl", Leanne is driven both by numbers and technology, and how the two elements can work together for the good of a client's business. She thrives on problem-solving and encourages and assists clients to derive more from their accounting and other integrated software and systems. She loves your numbers, while you love your business. Leanne is a MYOB Certified Consultant, Xero Certified Advisor and Microsoft SMB Brand Ambassador. A social media "junkie", Leanne is always investigating new ways to use these online platforms for the benefit of her business, other bookkeepers and her clients. Beyond bookkeeping, Leanne is an expert business mentor, trainer and facilitator. In her spare time, Leanne develops and writes MYOB training manuals for Software Publications. These manuals are used throughout Australia for the Certificate IV in Financial Services (Bookkeeping) & (Accounting). When not working, Leanne enjoys spending time with her daughter Brodie and her beautiful golden labs Bella and Cooper.

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