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Turnover vs. Revenue: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 19, 2023
"Turnover" refers to the total sales generated by a business, while "revenue" is the income earned from selling goods or services.

Key Differences

Turnover typically signifies the total sales or the total value of transactions conducted by a business within a specific time frame. Revenue, on the other hand, represents the income that a company earns from its primary operations, such as the sale of goods or services, before any expenses are deducted.
While turnover and revenue can sometimes be used interchangeably, especially in contexts where business sales are being discussed, they can also carry different nuances depending on the context. For instance, turnover might also refer to the rate at which inventory or assets are replaced or sold within a given period.
Revenue provides a clearer picture of a company's operational success since it focuses purely on the income generated from primary business activities. Turnover, meanwhile, can also allude to other contexts, like employee turnover, which deals with how often staff members leave and are replaced.
Both turnover and revenue are crucial metrics in business accounting and financial analysis. Analyzing these figures helps stakeholders gauge a company's financial health, operational efficiency, and profitability prospects.
It's worth noting that in some regions and industries, the terms may be used more synonymously than in others. But regardless of regional variations, the key distinction remains: turnover encapsulates total sales, while revenue zeroes in on the income generated from primary operations.

Comparison Chart


Total sales or transactions of a business.
Income from primary operations before expenses.


Can also refer to inventory or employee replacement rate.
Strictly related to income from sales of goods/services.


Indicates overall business activity.
Indicates operational success.

Regional Variance

Sometimes used interchangeably with revenue.
Always pertains to income from primary activities.


Broader, can apply to sales or rate of asset replacement.
Narrower, focused on primary business income.

Turnover and Revenue Definitions


Turnover can mean the total sales of a business.
The store had a turnover of $1 million last year.


Revenue is the income generated by a business.
The company's revenue surpassed expectations.


Turnover can refer to the rate at which assets are sold.
Their inventory turnover is impressive.


Revenue represents the gross income before any deductions.
Their main source of revenue is software sales.


Turnover can refer to the rate at which something is replaced.
The stock turnover rate is high for perishables.


Revenue is the income from primary business operations.
Advertisements contribute to a significant part of their revenue.


Turnover can indicate the rate at which employees leave a company.
The tech industry is known for its high employee turnover.


Revenue indicates operational and financial success.
Rising revenue signifies growing customer trust.


Turnover can represent the volume of business activity.
The restaurant sees a significant turnover during lunch hours.


Revenue can mean earnings from sales.
Monthly revenue has been steady for the past year.


The act or fact of turning over
Preventing the turnover of vehicles in accidents.


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


How is "revenue" primarily defined?

"Revenue" is the total income generated by a business from its operations before any costs or expenses are deducted.

Can both "turnover" and "revenue" indicate a company's health?

Yes, but they should be considered in conjunction with other financial metrics for a complete understanding.

Does "revenue" have implications for taxation?

Yes, revenue is typically the starting point for determining taxable income, with various deductions and adjustments made to arrive at the final tax liability.

Is "revenue" the same as profit?

No, revenue is the total income, while profit is what remains after expenses are subtracted from revenue.

How is "revenue" recognized in accounting?

Revenue recognition can vary, but it's typically recognized when a product is delivered or a service is provided, and there's a reasonable expectation of payment.

What is the primary definition of "turnover"?

"Turnover" can refer to the rate at which inventory or assets of a business are replaced, or the amount of money taken by a business in a particular period.

Are "turnover" and "revenue" interchangeable?

In some contexts, especially in UK business parlance, "turnover" can be synonymous with "revenue". However, "turnover" has other definitions that aren't related to "revenue".

Can "turnover" refer to staff or employees?

Yes, "employee turnover" refers to the rate at which employees leave and are replaced in a company.

How is "turnover" related to liquidity?

Higher asset or inventory turnover rates can indicate better liquidity, as assets are quickly converted into cash.

How can a high employee turnover rate impact a business?

High employee turnover can lead to increased training costs, reduced productivity, and potential harm to company culture or morale.

Do "turnover" and "revenue" always reflect a company's profitability?

No, a company can have high turnover or revenue but still be unprofitable if its expenses exceed its income.

Is "revenue" the same as sales?

In many contexts, yes. Revenue often refers to the total sales of goods and services.

What's the key takeaway about these terms?

While "turnover" and "revenue" can sometimes be used interchangeably, especially in certain business contexts, they have distinct meanings and applications in different areas.

How do "turnover" and "revenue" relate in accounting?

In many international contexts, "turnover" is the total sales of a company, equivalent to "revenue" in U.S. terminology.

Are there industries where "turnover" is especially significant?

Retail and inventory-intensive industries often focus on turnover rates to assess the speed at which stock is sold.

How do companies increase revenue?

Companies can increase revenue by boosting sales, raising prices, expanding product lines, or entering new markets, among other strategies.

What is "annual turnover"?

It refers to the total sales (or revenue, in some contexts) a company achieves in one year.

Can "turnover" refer to a type of pastry?

Yes, a "turnover" can also mean a small pie or pastry with a filling.

How is "turnover" used in sports terminology?

In sports, a "turnover" refers to the loss of possession, as in basketball or American football.

What's a "turnover rate" in the context of investments?

It refers to the percentage of a portfolio's holdings that have been replaced in a given year.
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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