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Updated: Apr 26

Revenue is the money generated from normal business operations, calculated as the average sales price times the number of units sold. Revenue is known as the top line because it appears first on a company's income statement. Net income, also known as the bottom line, is revenues minus expenses. There is a profit when revenues exceed expenses.

To increase profit, and hence earnings per share (EPS) for its shareholders, a company increases revenues and/or reduces expenses. Investors often consider a company's revenue and net income separately to determine the health of a business. Net income can grow while revenues remain stagnant because of cost-cutting.

Such a situation does not bode well for a company's long-term growth. When public companies report their quarterly earnings, two figures that receive a lot of attention are revenues and EPS. A company beating or missing analysts' revenue and earnings per share expectations can often move a stock's price.

Formula and Calculation of Revenue

The formula and calculation of revenue will vary across companies, industries, and sectors. A service company will have a different formula than a retailer, while a company that does not accept returns may have different calculations than companies with return periods. Broadly speaking, the formula to calculate net revenue is:

Net Revenue = (Quantity Sold * Unit Price) - Discounts - Allowances - Returns

The main component of revenue is the quantity sold multiplied by the price. For a service company, this is the number of service hours multiplied by the billable service rate. For a retailer, this is the number of goods sold multiplied by the sales price.

Source: Investopedia, Revenue Definition, Formula, Calculation, and Examples, accessed 25 December 2023, <>

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