The cost to income ratio is an important financial metric that measures a company’s operational efficiency. It compares operating costs to operating income to show the percentage of revenue used to cover expenses. The lower the ratio the more efficient the company is at generating profit from revenue.
Calculating the cost to income ratio is straightforward once you understand the components. Here is a stepbystep guide to calculating this ratio for your business.
What is the Cost to Income Ratio?
Also called the operating cost ratio or operating expense ratio, the cost to income ratio evaluates the costs of running your business relative to the income earned
It is calculated by dividing total operating expenses by total operating revenue. The result is expressed as a percentage.
Cost to Income Ratio = Total Operating Expenses / Total Operating Revenue x 100
This ratio shows what percentage of revenue is consumed by operating costs. For example, a ratio of 60% means operating costs are 60 cents for every dollar of operating revenue.
The lower the ratio, the more efficiently the business is run. Higher ratios mean more revenue is being spent on expenses rather than profit.
Why Calculate Cost to Income Ratio?
Tracking cost to income ratio over time is useful for:

Measuring efficiency – The ratio monitors if costs are growing faster than revenue. This helps identify problems with spending or pricing.

Benchmarking – Comparing your ratio to competitors and industry averages helps assess operational efficiency.

Setting targets – Establishing a target ratio provides a goal for optimizing operations and reducing costs.

Forecasting – Projecting future ratio levels helps with budgeting, planning, and managing growth.
For most businesses, keeping the cost to income ratio below 50% is a best practice. However, ideal levels vary by industry. Assessing your ratio versus benchmarks is important.
How to Calculate Cost to Income Ratio
Follow these steps to accurately calculate your company’s cost to income ratio:
1. Determine the Reporting Period
Decide which time period you want to measure. Many businesses calculate this annually using fullyear financials. However, quarterly or monthly ratios can also be useful.
2. Identify Total Operating Expenses
Add up all operating expenses for the chosen reporting period. This includes:
 Cost of goods sold
 Selling, general and administrative expenses
 Depreciation and amortization
 Research and development
 Advertising
 Rent
 Utilities
Operating expenses exclude capital expenditures, taxes, interest, and other nonoperating costs.
3. Identify Total Operating Revenue
Calculate total revenue earned from normal business operations during the period. This includes:
 Sales revenue
 Service revenue
 Membership/subscription revenue
 Licensing revenue
Do not include nonoperating income like dividends, rent, or interest.
4. Divide Expenses by Revenue
Divide total operating expenses by total operating revenue.
Be sure to use the expenses and revenue figures from the same reporting period. This gives you the cost to income ratio.
5. Convert to a Percentage
Multiply the ratio by 100 to express it as a percentage. This helps when comparing over time or to industry benchmarks.
Cost to Income Ratio Example
Let’s look at an example to see how to calculate cost to income ratio in practice.
Jumping Fish Inc. is a small retail company. Here are their financials for 2019:
 Total sales revenue: $800,000
 Cost of goods sold: $320,000
 Selling expenses: $110,000
 General and administrative expenses: $150,000
 Depreciation expense: $20,000
Total operating expenses = $320,000 + $110,000 + $150,000 + $20,000 = $600,000
Total operating revenue = $800,000
Cost to Income Ratio = Total Operating Expenses / Total Operating Revenue
= $600,000 / $800,000
= 0.75
To convert to a percentage, multiply by 100:
0.75 x 100 = 75%
Therefore, Jumping Fish Inc.’s cost to income ratio is 75%. This means operating costs consume 75% of total revenue.
While not terrible, it’s a bit high, so they should look for ways to reduce expenses or increase revenue.
Tips for Improving Cost to Income Ratio
If your company’s cost to income ratio seems too high, here are some tips to improve it:

Increase sales – Focus on boosting revenue through volume discounts, upselling, new products, etc. More total revenue improves ratio.

Raise prices – Increase margins on existing products to grow revenue faster than costs.

Reduce labor costs – Assess staffing needs, overtime, and compensation to optimize human resource expenses.

Lower materials costs – Negotiate better deals from suppliers or change materials to cut these variable costs.

Cut overhead – Look for savings on fixed costs like rent, utilities, insurance, subscriptions, etc.

Improve productivity – Get more output from existing resources through process improvements. This increases income without raising costs.
Regularly monitoring your cost to income ratio and taking steps to lower it promotes greater profitability over time.
Limitations of Cost to Income Ratio
While useful, the cost to income ratio does have some limitations to be aware of:

No indicator of profit – The ratio only looks at revenue and expenses. Your net profitability still depends on variables like taxes and interest.

No cash flow measure – The ratio uses accrual accounting. It does not consider the timing of actual cash inflows and outflows.

No balance sheet data – The ratio excludes capital structure metrics like assets, liabilities, and equity.

No benchmark standards – There are no universal standards for “good” cost to income ratios. Comparisons within industries are needed.

Susceptible to manipulation – Companies can artificially alter revenue and expenses to influence the ratio.
Use cost to income ratio as one key metric among many to assess performance. Combine it with other financial ratios and management tools to obtain a complete picture.
The cost to income ratio is easy to calculate but provides powerful insights into a company’s operational efficiency. As a key profitability metric, monitoring it regularly helps identify issues with expenses or revenue.
Use the steps outlined here to accurately calculate your business’s cost to income ratio. Look for ways to lower the ratio through costcutting or revenueboosting strategies. Over time, improving your cost to income ratio leads to higher profit margins and better bottom line results.
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Operating costs / operating income = Costtoincome ratio
The resulting ratio gives investors a clear view of how efficiently the bank is being run (at least in theory). In effect, it shows how much input (cost) the bank requires to generate one pound (or dollar or euro, say) of output (profit).
Everything you want to know about Cost to Income Ratio
How do you calculate costtoincome ratio?
A simple formula calculates the costincome ratio, also known as the costrevenue ratio. Cost Income Ratio = Operating cost/operating income The costtoincome ratio is calculated by dividing the operating costs by operating income. There are four major steps that financial managers take to perform calculations of the costtoincome ratio. 1.
How do you calculate cost to income ratio?
Formula: Cost to Income Ratio = Operating Expenses ÷ Operating Income It can be expressed as a ratio or in percentage terms. Since operating expenses are in the numerator and operating income is in the denominator of the formula, a lower ratio is desirable.
How is operating cost ratio calculated?
It’s calculated by dividing a company’s operating costs by its operating income. A lower ratio indicates better efficiency, as it means the company is spending less to generate each unit of income. Regular monitoring of this ratio can help businesses understand their operational health and make informed financial decisions.
How to calculate CI ratio?
To calculate the CI Ratio, simply divide the Operating expenses by its Operating income for the same period. Operating expenses include all the costs of running the Bank i.e. Employee cost, Rent, Advertisement, etc. Operating income includes Net interest income + other income. (NII is interest earned – interest expended)