Difference Wiki

Cost Centre vs. Profit Centre: What's the Difference?

By Janet White || Published on November 24, 2023
A cost centre is a department that incurs expenses without directly generating revenues, while a profit centre both incurs costs and generates revenues, being assessed on profitability.

Key Differences

A cost centre primarily focuses on controlling and reducing expenses without directly contributing to revenue generation. In contrast, a profit centre not only incurs costs but also contributes directly to the revenue and profits of the business.
The performance of a cost centre is measured based on its ability to control and minimize costs, without consideration of revenue. A profit centre, however, is evaluated based on its profitability, considering both its revenues and expenses.
In a cost centre, decisions are largely centered around cost efficiency and budget adherence. For a profit centre, decision-making involves strategies for both cost management and revenue maximization.
Typical examples of cost centres include administrative departments like HR and accounting, which support business operations. Profit centres are often revenue-generating units like a retail branch or a product line, directly contributing to the company’s earnings.
Cost centres are crucial for maintaining operational efficiency, whereas profit centres are pivotal in driving the financial growth and success of a business.

Comparison Chart


Control and minimize costs
Generate profit (revenue and cost management)

Performance Metric

Cost efficiency
Profitability (revenue minus expenses)

Role in Business

Supportive, non-revenue generating
Revenue-generating, directly impacting profits

Decision Focus

Cost control
Revenue and profit maximization

Typical Examples

HR, IT, and facilities departments
Sales departments, retail branches

Cost Centre and Profit Centre Definitions

Cost Centre

A division that contributes indirectly to profits through cost efficiency.
The logistics department, a cost centre, aims to reduce transportation costs.

Profit Centre

A department within a business that directly generates revenue and profits.
The sales division is the company's main profit centre.

Cost Centre

A section of a business where spending is monitored and controlled.
The maintenance team is a vital cost centre for the factory.

Profit Centre

A segment of a business responsible for both revenue generation and cost management.
The online services division has become an increasingly important profit centre.

Cost Centre

A segment of a business where the focus is on minimizing expenses.
Their customer service unit operates as a cost centre.

Profit Centre

An operational area where both income and expenses are tracked for profit calculation.
Their new product line was established as a separate profit centre.

Cost Centre

A department that incurs costs but does not generate direct revenues.
The IT department is considered a cost centre in the company.

Profit Centre

A part of a company that contributes directly to its financial success.
The export department has grown to be a significant profit centre.

Cost Centre

An organizational unit that is not responsible for profit generation.
In our firm, the research division is treated as a cost centre.

Profit Centre

A unit in an organization assessed based on its profitability.
Each retail store operates as an independent profit centre.


What is a profit centre?

A profit centre is a part of a business that generates revenue and is responsible for its profits.

Can you give examples of profit centres?

Sales departments, retail branches, and product lines are common examples.

Are cost centres important for a business?

Yes, they are crucial for operational efficiency and cost control.

What are examples of cost centres?

Examples include departments like HR, IT, and facilities management.

What determines the success of a profit centre?

Success is determined by its ability to generate profits, considering both revenues and expenses.

How is a cost centre different from a profit centre?

A cost centre focuses on minimizing expenses, while a profit centre focuses on generating profits.

What is a cost centre?

It's a business unit that incurs expenses without directly generating revenues.

How does a profit centre impact business decisions?

It influences decisions with its potential to increase overall profits.

Can a cost centre become a profit centre?

Yes, if it starts generating direct revenues, it can transition into a profit centre.

How do businesses manage cost centres?

Through budget control, cost monitoring, and efficiency improvements.

Do cost centres contribute to profitability?

Indirectly, by reducing overhead and improving efficiency.

How does market performance affect profit centres?

Market performance directly impacts their revenue and profitability.

Do cost centres generate any revenue?

Typically, no, they focus solely on cost management.

How is the performance of a cost centre measured?

It's measured by how effectively it controls and minimizes costs.

Why are profit centres important for a company?

They are key to financial growth and overall success of the business.

Are profit centres always external-facing?

Not always, but they often deal directly with revenue-generating activities.

Can a small business have distinct cost and profit centres?

Yes, even small businesses can differentiate between these units.

How does technology impact cost and profit centres?

It can improve efficiency in cost centres and open new revenue streams in profit centres.

Is budgeting important for cost centres?

Yes, strict budgeting is vital for effective cost control.

What strategies do profit centres use?

Strategies include revenue maximization and cost management.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons