Revenue vs earnings: learn revenues and how revenue & earnings differ

A salary is an income, and so are wages, tips, commissions, bonuses, and investments. We recommend having many streams of income, whether that is a job, an investment such as stocks, or rental properties. Simon Property Group (SPG) and Brookfield Asset Management (BAM) rescued JCPenney out of bankruptcy in the fall of 2020. As of late 2022, it had about 670 stores while reporting low debt levels largely as a result of the restructuring. Technically, net sales refer to revenue minus any returns of purchased merchandise. In 2019, Company X posted $1.2 million in revenue and a net income of $800,000.

  • Revenue and income are two very important financial metrics that companies, analysts, and investors monitor.
  • Various factors can affect the revenue and income of a business, some of which are beyond the company’s control.
  • Apple’s revenue in 2019 had decreased by about 2% from the previous year, while income went down by 7%.
  • Recognize and reward innovation to motivate your workforce and foster a culture of continuous improvement.
  • Therefore, revenue is only useful in determining cash flow when considering the company’s ability to turnover its inventory and collect its receivables.

Its chief financial officer (CFO) cited the introduction of pricing tiers as the reason for its top-line growth. On the expenses side, they were also able to cut down on taxes by automating VAT tax compliance for their ecommerce platform. The combination of new pricing tiers and tax optimization led to a 60% increase in income. Bottom line growth is always considered a good thing, and this is why an investor or bank will insist on looking at your company’s revenue vs. net income before giving you money. Capital gains, interest earned on investments, sales of assets, or other miscellaneous earnings are not considered revenue.

These are three of the most popular terms in the business, accounting, and finance sectors, but they can often be confused. Income can be used to analyze and determine whether a company is operating efficiently. For example, if the understanding the basics of infinite banking with whole life insurance company’s actual earnings are lower than the estimated earnings, it may indicate poor performance of the company. On the other hand, the fact that a company beats its earnings estimates is an indicator of its solid performance.

What is the difference between revenues and earnings?

For example, companies in the S&P 500 have seen an average year-over-year revenue growth rate of around 10%. In the realm of finance and accounting, revenue and earnings are the cornerstones of assessing a company’s financial health. Grasping these concepts is vital, especially when delving into financial statements, an investor’s primary tool for gauging a company’s worthiness as an investment. This article elucidates the subtle distinctions between the two, enhancing your financial literacy. Gross income refers to the total money earned by an individual or entity before any deductions, while net income refers to the amount left after deducting expenses and taxes.

  • To calculate revenue, you can multiply the price of each unit sold by the number of units sold during a given period.
  • The state of the economy, level of competition, and consumer behavior can significantly impact the revenue and income of a business.
  • In the context of business operations, income is the amount of money a company retains internally after paying all expenses and taxes.
  • The amount of profit retained often provides insight into a company’s maturity.
  • If there is an increase in the wages or salary of the consumer, the business’s income will increase, and when there is a decrease in the salary or wages of the consumer, the business’s income decreases.

More mature companies generate more net income and give more to shareholders. Less mature companies need to retain more profit in shareholder’s equity for stability. At each reporting date, companies add net income to the retained earnings, net of any deductions. Dividends, which are a distribution of a company’s equity to the shareholders, are deducted from net income because the dividend reduces the amount of equity left in the company. Both revenue and retained earnings can be important in evaluating a company’s financial management. A company’s profit is also known as its earnings, whereas revenue is not just a company’s profits, as it includes more factors.

From the above equation, we can observe that any payments or transactions would affect total revenue and net income. This is because when a company generates revenue, there is an increase in the current assets and shareholder’s equity on the balance sheet. Income and revenue are two vital components used in determining a company’s financial strength but are unrelated.


Here are some valuable tips to help you optimize your financial performance and achieve higher profits. Retained earnings are left over profits after accounting for dividends and payouts to investors. If dividends are granted, they are generally given out after the company pays all of its other obligations, so retained earnings are what is left after expenses and distributions are paid. The amount of profit retained often provides insight into a company’s maturity.


Earnings and income are often used interchangeably and are thus considered synonymous with each other—and many times, they are. However, there are various types or classifications of earnings and income that each have slightly different meanings. Apple Inc. (AAPL) posted a net sales number of $394,328 billion for the period, representing an increase of over $28 billion when compared to the same period a year earlier. Revenue and income are critical components in both business and personal finance. Remember that external factors such as economic conditions, tax laws, and industry trends can affect income. Companies should be aware of changes in their industry or market and adjust their income strategies accordingly.

What are Earnings?

Earnings typically refer to after-tax net income, sometimes known as the bottom line or a company’s profits. Earnings are the main determinant of a company’s share price because earnings and the circumstances relating to them can indicate whether the business will be profitable and successful in the long run. This highlights that elements beyond sales can influence a company’s earnings, underlining the importance of distinguishing between revenue and earnings when assessing a firm’s financial health. While a company with robust revenues may show it can sell its product or service, a business with high profits is likely more financially sound.


Investment income can be a source of income for companies as well as individual investors. A company’s income statement might have a line item that reads investment income or losses, which is where the company reports the portion of net income obtained through investments. Both net income and earnings are often referred to as a company’s bottom line because it’s the profit left over after every cost has been deducted and as a result, sits at the bottom of the income statement. It is also commonly used in relative valuation measures such as the price-to-earnings ratio (P/E). The price-to-earnings ratio, calculated as share price divided by earnings per share, is primarily used to find relative values for the earnings of companies in the same industry.

Their SG&A is under control (no need to break it out into individual expenses), vendor fees are constant, and the company has a good chance of seeing more improvement in its next month. Walmart’s profit for the year actually corresponds roughly to their historical revenue vs. income relationship (the year before the company’s income was $9.86 billion from $500 billion revenue). Nevertheless, their gap of revenue to income illustrates that, even for huge companies, the two concepts are not easily interchangeable. To know how much they have left to invest, and to understand their approach to reducing costs, they have to understand the revenue vs. income relationship in full. It’s tempting to think that the relationship between revenue and income is a pretty simple one— that as long as you’re keeping one of them healthy, the other will be healthy too.

Income and earnings are synonymous sometimes, whereas revenue is the amount generated through sales and business operations. Revenue is the total amount of money a company generates from its core operations. Gross income is a line item that is sometimes included in a company’s income statement but is not required.

However, the two numbers are different ways of expressing a company’s earnings, and they have different deductions and credits involved in their calculations. The main difference is that revenue is a company’s income before deducting expenses, while operating income represents the profit after subtracting expenses. Because it gives a picture of how efficient a company is regarding spending and managing operating costs, net income is considered the all-important measure of profitability.

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