Profit Margin Ratio

Profitability is the ability of a business to generate profit from its revenue and is indicated in the financial projections template by the profit margin ratio. The ratio is an indicator of how well a business can control its expenses in relation to its revenue, and represents the percentage of revenue left after deducting all expenses.

Profit Margin Ratio Formula

The profit margin ratio formula is the net income divided by the revenue of the business.

Profit margin ratio = Net income / Revenue

Both net income and revenue are found on the income statement of the business. Net income is usually the bottom line of the income statement and might be referred to as profit after tax. Revenue is normally the top line on the income statement and might be referred to as sales or turnover.

The higher the profit margin ratio the more profit it earns from its revenue. A negative ratio indicates a loss making business.

Profit Margin Ratio Example

The income statement below is used as an example to show how to calculate the profit margin ratio.

Income statement – calculate profit margin ratio
Revenue 120,000
Cost of sales 55,000
Gross margin 65,000
Operating expenses 32,000
Depreciation 8,000
Operating income 25,000
Finance costs 6,000
Income before tax 19,000
Income tax expense 4,600
Net income 14,400

The numbers used in the calculation of the profit margin ratio are highlighted in the income statement shown. In the above example the revenue is 120,000 and the net income is 14,400.

Using the profit margin percentage formula the ratio is calculated as follows:

Profit margin ratio = Net income / Revenue
Profit margin ratio = 14,400 / 120,000
Profit margin ratio = 12%

In this case the ratio indicates that the business retains 12% of each sale that it makes as net income.

Real Life Profit Margin Ratio Examples

The profit margin ratio will vary from industry to industry, and therefore it is important when making comparisons to determine an industry profit margin ratio based on financial statements of businesses similar to your own.

To illustrate the difference in the profit margin ratio from industry to industry, the following table sets out the calculation of the ratio based on the income statements of two very different companies Apple Inc., and Amazon.

Profit margin ratio comparison
Apple Amazon
Revenue 170,910 74,452
Net income 37,037 274
Profit margin 21.67% 0.37%

Apple has a high profit margin ratio and retains 21.67% of every sale, whereas Amazon has a low profit margin ratio and retains only 0.37% of every sale it makes.

The profit margin ratio is reported on the ratios page of the financial projections template. The ratio should be monitored to ensure that it is consistent with the industry in which the business operates, and shows a value which is improving over time as the business becomes more efficient, gets its expenses under control, and starts to grow revenue at a faster pace than its expenses.

Care should be taken not to confuse profit with cash. A business with a high profit margin ratio does not necessarily mean that the business will not run out of cash. Profit is only one source of cash for the business, if the business ties up cash with inventory and accounts receivable or invests heavily in property, plant, and equipment, it can still be short of cash even with a high profit margin ratio.

The profit margin ratio can be calculated in a number of different ways, so it is important when making comparisons year or year or for different businesses, that the ratio used has been calculated the same way. The ratio is sometimes referred to as the return on sales or the net income percentage.

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