Operating Income Vs. Net Income: Key Differences You Must Know About

Operating Income Vs. Net Income: Key Differences You Must Know About

Rhema Hans
Rhema Hans
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

There are so many calculations that a company needs to take care of, and if you are not calculating your operating income and net income, you are in trouble. Wondering why?

Operating income vs. net income

Worry not; this article will tell you all you need to know about operating income and net income in detail. But most importantly, we will address whether or not operating income and net income are any different? If yes, what are the major differences between the two that you must be aware of? So, let’s delve right into it.

This article will cover the following:

  • Net income
  • Net income in business
  • Importance of net income
  • Operating income
  • Importance of operating income
  • Difference between operating income and net income
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Net Income

Net income, often referred to as the bottom line because it appears at the bottom of an income statement, reflects whether a business has made a profit after all expenses are deducted from total revenue.

Net income is also referred to as net profit, net earnings, net income after taxes (NIAT), and the bottom line because it appears at the bottom of the income statement. A negative net income when expenses exceed revenue is called a net loss.

Net income and net profit are often used interchangeably. However, profit refers to what remains after expenses and can be used in other calculations. For example, gross profit is revenue minus the cost of goods sold (COGS).

So be sure to pay attention to the type of profit referenced (net profit, gross profit, etc.) to make sure that you’re using net profit as the correct synonym for net income. Another way to reference net income. Earnings are your company’s profits after expenses and liabilities, including taxes.

It’s profit that can be distributed to business owners or invested in business growth. Investors and banks use net income to help decide whether a company is worthy of investment or a loan. Publicly traded companies use it to calculate earnings per share and distribution of dividends.

Net Income in Business

Net income is the amount of profit a business has left over after it pays all its expenses over a specified period, such as a fiscal year or quarter. These expenses include the cost of producing goods, operating expenses, non-operating expenses, and taxes, all of which are subtracted from a company’s total revenue to arrive at net income.

Some small businesses start tracking expenses and revenue with a simple spreadsheet, but even small businesses and startups can benefit from business accounting software like Deskera.

Importance of Net Income

Net income is also used to calculate other metrics such as net profit margin and operating cash flow. Banks consider net income when approving a business loan application, as do investors when deciding whether to invest in a company. Companies use net income to calculate earnings per share (EPS), a widely used profitability metric, to report to shareholders, VCs, and other investors.

Net income is also used to calculate net profit margin, which is net income expressed as a percentage of revenue. This shows how much of revenue is converted to actual profit after expenses are paid. More efficient companies have higher percentages or margins. But this will vary by industry.

Business accounting software like Deskera makes it easier for you to generate reports and get access to real-time data. And managerial accounting practices can take that data a step further. Make better and more strategic business decisions as your company sees new challenges or opportunities for growth.

The term net income can also be used in personal finance to describe an individual’s earnings after deductions and taxes. You may encounter the term net operating income, which is used in real estate investing. Net operating income reflects the pre-tax profit of income-generating real estate investments.

Net income is calculated by subtracting all expenses from total revenue/sales:

Net Income= Total Revenue - Total Expenses

To calculate net income, start with sales revenue. Deduct COGS, operating expenses, non-operating expenses, and taxes. Add any non-sales income, such as interest on investments.

Calculation of Net Income:

Step 1: First, calculate gross income by finding revenue from sales and subtracting the COGS. Revenue represents the amount the company earned for its products or services. COGS includes any costs associated with directly creating the product or service.

Step 2: Calculate operating expenses and subtract them from gross income to obtain operating income. Examples of operating expenses are administrative costs such as salaries of staff not involved in making products, rent, utilities, research, marketing, depreciation, and amortization of capital.

Step 3: Deduct non-operating expenses, which are expenses not related to product production or operations. A typical non-operating expense is an interest paid.

Step 4: Add any non-operating income. This is any income derived from sources other than from products or services. Examples include dividends or interest paid to the company.

Step 5: Subtract taxes to obtain net income.

Net income is a critical profitability metric. It reflects whether a business has made money after all expenses are deducted from total revenue. Businesses can distribute the profits to owners or shareholders or invest in new technologies or growth opportunities like financial and accounting software to help you track and calculate your net income. Demonstrating the ability to generate high net income can help businesses more easily secure bank loans and investments.

Now let us find out all about operating income.

Operating Income

The simple definition is that operating income shows your business’s ability to generate earnings from its operational activities. It measures the amount of money a company makes from its core business activities, not including other income that does not relate directly to the everyday activities of the business.

On the flip side, a non-operating expense is a one-time or unusual cost. This can include interest, lawsuit expenses, depreciation, obsolete inventory costs, and more.

Popular synonyms for operating income are operating profit and recurring profit. Operating income is also similar to earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT), but the one big difference between them is that EBIT includes any non-operating income the company generates.

Operating income is a measurement that shows how profitable a company’s core business operations are. The higher the operating income, the more profitable. Many business owners use the operating income figure to measure the operational successes of their business.

Many things can affect operating income, like labor costs, prices of materials, and pricing strategy. And because these items relate directly to a business’s day-to-day operations, operating income can help business owners make strategic decisions about how to grow or where changes are needed.

Calculation of Operating Income:

Operating income is found in the income statement. At the top of the statement cost of goods sold (COGS) is subtracted from revenue to find gross profit. Operating expenses are listed next and are subtracted from the gross profit. The amount remaining, after all, operating expenses are subtracted is the operating income.

Operating Income = Gross Income – Operating Expenses

Gross income is the amount of money your business has left after subtracting the costs of producing the product— also known as costs of goods sold. To get gross income, you subtract COGS from your revenue.

Operating expenses include all of the costs associated with running your core business activities. This includes things like utilities, insurance, rent, employee wages, and insurance.

Importance of Operating Income

Your company should be calculating operating income because it separates the operating and non-operating revenues and expenses, giving an outsider a clear picture of how the company makes money.

Investors and creditors can use the number to evaluate the business’s efficiency and profitability without regarding interest expenses or tax rates two variables that may be unique from one company to another. A higher operating income means your business is more likely to pay back what it owes.

Looking at total revenue or the “bottom line” of your income statement alone isn’t enough for most business owners. It’s important to dig deeper, and examining your operating income on a regular basis helps to shed more light on the overall health of your business.

But let’s find out what are the key differences between net income and operating income.

Difference Between Operating Income & Net Income

The key difference between operating income and net income is that operating income refers to the income earned by a business organization during the period under consideration from its principal revenue-generating activities and does not consider non-operating income and non-operating expenses, whereas net Income refers to earnings of the business which is earned during the period after considering all the expenses incurred by the company during that period.

Both, operating income and net income are essential metrics in the financial accounting statements. Operating income is the income generated by the day-to-day operations or, in other terms, the core activities of a business.

It is calculated after deducting the cost of operations from the total sales. And net income is the bottom line. It is the final profit available for the shareholders after deducting interest expenses, any extraordinary income or expense, and taxes.

Operating income, on the one hand, identifies the income generated from the operating activities of the business; net income, on the other hand, quantifies any income generated by the business entity either from operations or from interests earned from investments or even an income generated by liquidating an asset. Operating income is a subset of a bigger umbrella called Net income.

Operating income is the most significant section in the income statement of any business unit. It is because it helps in identifying the income generated from the primary business activities of the firm.

It does not consider any one-time expense or any one-time income. Hence it is free from any manipulations and gives a clear picture of the robustness of the operational activities of the business.

Analysis of operating income for consecutive quarters can help an investor identify the profitability of the business and the growth opportunities it can provide for the long term.

Net income, on the other hand, is the final profit available for the shareholders after all expenses and income have been taken care of. Hence it is called a bottom line and used to pay out dividends.

Unlike operating income, it does contain any one-time expense or one-time income. For example, consider a pharma company that has a robust operating income but has been penalized by regulators.

This one-time payment will not affect the operating income but will impact the net income and eventually, the profit available to the shareholders. Investors should carefully analyze both incomes before parking their money.

Operating income only takes care of revenue generated and the cost of operations.  Net income takes care of not only revenue, costs, expenses, but also one-time expenses, taxes, and surcharges.

Therefore, sometimes you might see a big number on the operating income section of the balance sheet, which gets completely wiped off in the bottom line. Since net income denotes the profitability of the firm, it is used in calculating parameters like EPS, return on equity, and return on assets. Shareholders are mainly interested in these ratios, as these will only determine if their investments have been worthwhile.

In conclusion, both operating income and net income are essential parameters while judging the financial health of the firm. Long-term investors will be more interested in understanding the robustness of the core business activities of the firm. Hence they will monitor the operating income with a close eye.

However, short-term traders will be more interested in the bottom line numbers as that will determine the earning potential of their speculative bets. That is why most of the time, you will see a sharp dip in the share price of a listed firm whenever there are some short-term setbacks like losing a lawsuit or being penalized by regulators. Most of the time, these are an overreaction by the short-term traders who are concerned about near-term profitability, and most often than not, share prices do bounce back.

Take, for example, the Maggi ban in India had a massive impact on Nestle India Ltd shares, which dropped by 50% in 4 weeks before bouncing back to their initial levels within 2 quarters.

How Can Deskera Assist You?

Operating income and net income can never be calculated if you don't have an account of where you are spending or investing your money. Hence, what you require is a reliable software for accounting, and nobody does it better than Deskera.  Deskera software takes care of all your accounting tasks. A software that can help you manage your cash flow, send invoices to customers, sort your books, and make reporting and compliance easier. To know more about accounting with Deskera, take a quick look at the video below:

Easy Accounting and So Much More With Deskera
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Key Takeaways:

  • Operating income is a company's profit after deducting operating expenses which are the costs of running the day-to-day operations.
  • The metric includes expenses for the raw materials used in production to create products for sale, called the cost of goods sold or COGS.
  • Net income, also called net profit, reflects the amount of revenue that remains after accounting for all expenses and income in a period.
  • Net income, also called net profit, reflects the amount of revenue that remains after accounting for all expenses and income in a period.
  • It's important to note that a company can generate a positive number for operating profit but have a loss or report negative net income for the quarter or fiscal year.
  • While both operating profit and net income are measurements of profitability, operating profit is just one of many calculations that occur along the way from total revenue to net income.
  • All profitability metrics on an income statement should be analyzed, including gross profit, operating profit, and net income, to determine where a company is earning its profits or losing money.
  • The operating income helps in identifying how much revenue transforms into profit.
  • Net income identifies the earning potential of the business entity.
  • Taxes are not considered in operating income.
  • Net income is derived after considering taxes.
  • Operating income is used to calculate the return on capital employed.
  • Net income is used to calculate ratios such as earning per share, return on equity, assets, etc.
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