Difference Between Margin vs Profit
Getting good margins on a product and getting a good profit are two factors that are usually viewed holistically together, and are directly proportional to each other. But we will try to view them individually, to better understand the concepts.
A margin is a percentage term defined to denote the difference between the numerator and denominator. Since companies and products of different sizes and different types can have varying numerical terms, a margin is a very strong unit of comparison across sectors, within industries, with supplementary and complimentary sectors, etc.
Margins can be viewed and correlated to any term on the income statement or balance sheet to determine a specific unit’s margin. Gross Sales Margin and EBITDA Margin are examples of margins based on the Income Statement alone, whereas Return on Assets and Return on Equity are types of margins involving both the Income Statement and the Balance Sheet.
Even the interest rate that we deal with, on regular basis, in the corporate world or personal life, is a type of margin that distinguishes between the interest payment and the principal amount, in percentage values.
Profit is a numerical value denoted in any currency terms and is usually derived from the Income Statement calculations only.
A company has a Top Line Sales Revenue figure on top of its Income statement, that denotes the total money received by customers via full payments, partial payments, or due payments, in exchange for goods and services.
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A company also incurs expenses divided between direct and indirect expenses that will include rent, wages, salaries, cost of materials, marketing and advertising expenses, utilities, depreciation and amortization costs, etc.
Profit is your Total Expenses deducted from Top Line Sales Revenue figure. Profit could further be divided into 2 major types, Gross Profit and Net Profit.
Example to understand both Margin vs Profit
The following example will explain, profits, margins and some types of margins we usually come across;
Company ABH produces a Mobile Phone named “Letia” for a manufacturing cost of INR 7,200 and sells it for a selling price of INR 12,000.
The company spends INR 3,600 per unit on marketing, advertising, asset depreciation, and other overheads.
|Selling Price||INR 12,000|
|Manufacturing Cost||INR 7,200|
|Gross Profit (Selling Price -Manufacturing Cost)||INR 4,800|
|Gross Margin (Gross Profit / Selling Price)||40%|
|Marketing, Depreciation & Other Expenses||INR 3,600|
|Net Profit (Gross Profit – Expenses)||INR 1,200|
|Net Margin (Net Profit / Selling Price)||10%|
Hence, when Company ABH sells a single unit of Letia phones, it’s net “margin” per product stands at 10%, while it’s actual “profit” stands at INR 1,200.
Head to Head Comparison between Margin vs Profit (Infographics)
Below is the top 4 difference between Margin vs Profit
Margin vs Profit Comparison Table
Let’s look at the top 4 Comparison between Margin vs Profit
|The Basis of comparison Between Margin vs Profit||
|Unit Of Value||A margin is a percentage number||Profit is expressed as a whole number|
|Mathematical Calculation||Margin uses the mathematical function of division, thereby dividing the two numbers in concern
|Profit uses the mathematical function of subtraction, thereby reducing one number from the other|
|Utility For Peer Comparison||Margins can be used to compare 2 companies of different sectors and of different sizes||Profit cannot be used to compare companies of different sectors most of the times, and of different sizes for sure|
|Actual Utility||Margins can justify the numbers and value creation in case of a business in an easily understandable manner||Profit numbers are the actual numbers, and clearly quantify the worth of the business’s value creation|
Key Differences between Margin vs Profit
Let us discuss some of the major differences between Margin vs Profit.
- While Margin is a percentage term and hence can always be standardized, Profit is a numerical term usually expressed in a certain currency and hence can differ in terms of the currency used.
- Margin can be derived solely by deploying the mathematical function of division between the two units of numbers in concern, and Profit is derived from deploying the subtraction function, usually in a linear calculation between numbers of an Income Statement.
- A business’s Margin can be used to quickly check up on its relative performance internally (of different quarters or years in question) or externally (of similar other businesses or companies), while Profit cannot be used to compare businesses accurately against each other at least.
- Margin can help in the easy understanding of a business or its sector, while Profit is actual numbers and hence denote the real cash value of the business.
- A lower margin as compared to a previous quarter can still result in a higher profit.
In the above example, if the Selling Price of the product is increased to INR 20,000 and the margin is reduced to 8%, the net profit will still be higher in actual numerical terms at INR 1,600.
Conclusion – Margin vs Profit
However, for running a business, it is important to know the difference. While we tried to view this as two separate terms, and the two terms have their certain nuances, they end up being very closely related and attached to each other. If no other number or unit (selling price, cost of raw materials, other expenses, etc.) is altered, then the margin and profit of business will always move proportionately. While Margin is the percentage value of the earnings generated in a business transaction, profit is the actual whole number, translating into actual cash gains.
This has been a guide to the top difference between Margin vs Profit. Here we also discuss the Margin vs Profit key differences with infographics and comparison table. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more.
- Revenue vs Profit – Top Comparison
- Data Analytics vs Business Analytics
- Finance vs Economics – Useful Differences
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