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Revenue vs. Profit: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 20, 2023
Revenue is the total money earned from sales, while profit is the money left after subtracting all expenses from revenue.

Key Differences

Revenue is the total amount of money brought into a business from its operations, typically from sales of products or services. Profit, on the other hand, is the financial gain achieved when the revenue exceeds the total expenses of the business. Revenue doesn't account for the costs involved in producing or selling a product or service, while profit does.
Revenue represents the gross earnings of a company before any deductions. It's often referred to as the "top line" because it appears at the top of the income statement. Profit is the net earnings after all expenses have been deducted from the revenue. It's often referred to as the "bottom line" because it appears at the bottom of the income statement.
For revenue, think about it as the inflow of money into a business from its primary operations. If a store sells $10,000 worth of goods in a month, that $10,000 is its revenue. Profit, however, would consider the cost of obtaining and selling those goods. If the store spent $7,000 to acquire and operate for that month, its profit would be $3,000.
While revenue is crucial for understanding the overall business volume, profit gives a clearer picture of financial health. A business can have high revenue, but if its expenses are higher, it will have a negative profit. Both revenue and profit are vital indicators, but they provide different insights.

Comparison Chart


Total money earned from sales.
Money left after deducting expenses from revenue.


Business volume.
Financial health of the business.


"Top line" on an income statement.
"Bottom line" on an income statement.


Doesn't consider expenses.
Directly influenced by expenses.

Key Insight

Inflow from primary operations.
Business's net earnings.

Revenue and Profit Definitions


Monetary value of sales made during a specific period.
The quarterly revenue figures exceeded the projections.


What remains after subtracting all costs from the revenue.
The event was successful, and they made a decent profit from ticket sales.


The inflow of funds into a business from its primary operations.
The software company saw a spike in revenue after launching their new app.


The positive difference between the sale price and the production cost.
Selling handmade crafts, she calculated her profit for each item.


Total income generated by a business from selling its products or services.
The bakery reported a revenue of $50,000 last month.


Financial gain obtained when revenue exceeds expenses.
After paying all the bills, the store made a profit of $5,000.


Gross earnings before any expenses are deducted.
Despite high sales, the revenue didn't translate to substantial profit.


Net earnings after all deductions from the gross income.
While their revenue was sky-high, high operational costs led to minimal profit.


Income generated without considering the costs.
Her revenue from the art show was impressive, but the expenses were high too.


The monetary benefit achieved from an investment or business activity.
His wise stock choices yielded a substantial profit in the stock market.


The income of a government from all sources appropriated for the payment of the public expenses.


An advantageous gain or return; benefit.


What is revenue in simple terms?

Revenue is the total money a business earns from selling its products or services.

How is profit different from revenue?

Profit is the money left after deducting all expenses from revenue.

How can a business increase its profit?

A business can increase its profit by increasing revenue, decreasing expenses, or both.

Which is more important: revenue or profit?

Both are important; revenue indicates business volume while profit indicates financial health.

Can a business be profitable without high revenue?

Yes, if a business keeps its expenses low, it can be profitable even with modest revenue.

Can a company have high revenue but low profit?

Yes, if a company's expenses are high compared to its revenue, it can have low profit.

Is revenue the same as sales?

Yes, in most contexts, revenue and sales are used interchangeably.

Is gross profit the same as revenue?

No, gross profit is revenue minus the cost of goods sold.

What's an example of a revenue source?

A revenue source could be sales of products, rendering of services, or licensing fees.

How is profit margin calculated?

Profit margin is calculated as (Profit/Revenue) x 100%.

Why might a company have negative profit?

A company might have negative profit if its expenses exceed its revenue.

Does revenue consider returns and discounts?

Net revenue considers returns and discounts, while gross revenue does not.

What happens if expenses exceed revenue?

If expenses exceed revenue, the company incurs a loss rather than a profit.

What's the difference between net profit and gross profit?

Gross profit is revenue minus the cost of goods sold, while net profit subtracts all other expenses as well.

Is profit always a cash gain?

No, profit can be on paper, and a company might not have equivalent cash if, for instance, sales are on credit.

Why is revenue often called the "top line"?

Revenue is called the "top line" because it appears at the top of the income statement.

How do investors view revenue and profit?

Investors look at both; revenue indicates growth and market share, while profit indicates efficiency and financial health.

Why is profit referred to as the "bottom line"?

Profit is called the "bottom line" because it's the final figure after all deductions, appearing at the bottom of the income statement.

Can revenue ever be negative?

No, revenue represents sales and cannot be negative, though profit can be.

How can a company increase revenue?

A company can increase revenue by attracting more customers, raising prices, or introducing new products/services.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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