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How to Compute Your Business Income

How to Compute Your Business Income

    Every person or organization engaging in business activities has the goal of earning income or profit. They provide products and/or services in exchange for a price that will gain them some sort of profit.

    The existence and continuity of every business relies heavily on how well a person or company sells their products and/or services — and also how good they manage and minimize business expenses. These two factors cause the business either to earn profit or incur losses.

    It’s a common mistake to think that the business is earning money if there is a sale. However, the real test of good business performance lies on business income.

    To determine if the business is profiting or losing money, you need to learn how to compute your business income.

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    Most businesses leave the job of computing their business income to their accountants. It is a practical move because accountants are technically competent to do the job. However, it is crucial that a businessperson understand the factors in computing business income so that they can better interpret and manage the financial result of the business operation. Furthermore, it can help the business determine which product or service is earning or incurring losses. As such, they can decide which product or service they should continue to sell and which to stop selling.

    In this article, I hope to share with you my knowledge in accounting to help you better manage your own business finances. You will discover tools that will help you to compute your business income and learn the factors which can help you interpret the numbers shown in an income report.

    Business Income Computation

    Generally, business income is computed as follows:

    Business Income = Revenue – Expense

    Business income is the amount of gain (in monetary value or in kind) earned from a sale of a service and/or product after deducting all incidental expenses incurred by the business.

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    Revenue is the amount of money received (or to be received) in exchange for the product and/or services provided and sold. Revenue includes gross receipts on sale of service — or gross sales on sale of product. For each sale of a product or service, the amount of revenue increases. Meanwhile, sales discounts and allowances given to buyers or customers for bulk orders or special promos decrease the amount of revenue. Sample sales of products includes the sale of grocery items, bags, shoes, clothes, software, electronic gadgets, books, etc. On the other hand, the sale of a service includes service fees earned from transportation, communication and sale of professional skills like freelance writing, virtual assisting, accounting, legal advice, doctor, etc.

    Expense is the amount of money paid (or to be paid) in exchange for product and/or service received and purchased. Sample expenses include inventory purchases, salary and wages, transportation, advertising, electric and water bills, communication, professional fees, etc.

    3 Easy Steps in Computing Business Income

    1. Identify all the products and/or services sold in a given period and then total the amount. The total represents your revenue.
    2. Identify all the costs you pay in order to operate your business in the same given period. The total represents your total expenses.
    3. To compute your business income, subtract your total expenses against your total revenue.

    Sample Illustration and Computation

    John Doe is a software developer who owns a Software Company which focuses on developing and selling online software. Additionally, he has a number of blogs that promotes other people’s products and in return, he earns commission income. (Note that the period we want to compute is for the whole year of 2011.)

    Step 1 – During 2011, Joe’s revenue was as follows:

    Sale of Software                                                                            $200,000
    Commission on sales of other people’s product                         40,000
    Total Revenue                                                                               $240,000

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    Step 2 – The cost in operating Joe’s Software Company during 2011 includes the following:

    Web Hosting Expenses                                                                       $2,400
    Domain Fees                                                                                                 10
    Salaries Paid                                                                                         60,000
    Rental and Utilities Expenses                                                           10,000
    Total Expenses                                                                                   $72,410

    Step 3 – Joe’s business income in 2011 is $167590, computed as follows:

    Business Income = Total Revenue – Total Expenses
    = $240,000 – $72,410
    = $167,590

    Based on computed business income for 2011, Joe’s Software Company is showing a good performance since the total revenue is greater than the total expenses.

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    Conclusion – Interpreting Business Income

    1. If Revenue > Expense = Income/Profit.

    When the amount of revenue earned is greater than the expenses incurred, it can mean the business operation is doing well because there is enough amount of money to pay all the business expenses. Also, it is an indicator of good business management.

    2. If Revenue < Expense = Loss.

    When the amount of expenses spent is greater than the revenue earned, it signals poor business performance since the amount received in selling products and/or services is not enough to pay all the expenses necessary to operate the business. Furthermore, this may indicate poor business management.

    3. If Revenue = Expense, we call it “Break-Even Point”.

    When the business revenue is equal to the expense, we call it break-even point. This indicates that the business is neither earning nor incurring loses. The earning is just exactly enough to pay the business operating expenses. It can still show poor business performance and management since the objective of a business is to earn profit.

    (Photo credit: Accounting via Shutterstock)

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    Lou Macabasco

    Lou Macabasco aspires to spread positive motivation.

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    Last Updated on September 2, 2020

    How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

    How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

    Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

    In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

    4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

    Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

    1. Be Clear About the Objectives

    Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

    It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

    Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

    2. Keep Goals Realistic

    It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

    It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

    3. Account for Inflation

    Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

    Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

    For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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    4. Short Term Vs Long Term

    Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

    As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

    By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

    How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

    Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

    • Ensuring healthy savings
    • Making smart investments

    You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

    Ensuring Healthy Savings

    Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

    This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

    1. Track Expenses

    The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

    Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

    If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

    2. Pay Yourself First

    Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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    Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

    The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

    Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

    3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

    Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

    Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

    At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

    Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

    You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

    4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

    In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

    Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

    • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
    • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
    • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

    The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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    5. Talk About It

    Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

    Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

    6. Maintain a Journal

    For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

    If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

    When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

    Making Smart Investments

    Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

    1. Consult a Financial Advisor

    Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

    Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

    2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

    Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

    Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

    As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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    3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

    Einstein once remarked about compounding:

    “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

    Use compound interest when setting financial goals

      Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

      Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

      4. Measure, Measure, Measure

      All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

      If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

      Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

      The Bottom Line

      Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

      and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

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      Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

      Reference

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