Turnover vs. Profit: What’s the Difference?

Turnover in business is not the same as profit, although people often confuse the two: turnover is your total business income during a set period of time – in other words, the net sales figure. profit, on the other hand, refers to your earnings that are left after expenses have been deducted.

Business Finances: Turnover vs Profit

Uses for turnover

Turnover is a useful figure for companies. It gives you a quick sense of how successful your company’s sales are. Turnover is relatively simple to calculate:

Turnover = gross sales – returns – allowances – discounts

You will determine the total amount of money your organization earned solely from sales after entering the proper numbers into the formula.

The turnover metric is typically used by businesses to determine the success of their business endeavors and to aid in the calculation of other metrics, such as profit, on the income statement.

What are the differences between turnover vs. profit?

Both turnover and profit are used to calculate a company’s revenue, but they do so using different inputs. Net sales, also known as turnover, are a company’s total revenue from sales, while profit is the amount of turnover that remains after all expenses, both variable and fixed, have been taken into account. The use, types, and context of turnover and profit are some of the key distinctions between them.

In most businesses, the income statement includes both turnover and profit information. Turnover is typically the first line item because it is typically the largest amount and only includes revenue with no expenses. The bottom line on the income statement, or profit, almost always displays the total revenue the company earned after deducting all business expenses.

Types of turnover and profit

Turnover and profit are two financial metrics that businesses track that are relatively straightforward and stable compared to other financial metrics that vary by industry, organization, and other internal and external factors. Nevertheless, depending on the sector, these two terms might appear under different names on the income statement:


A few of the terms used synonymously for turnover include:


Some of the other names for profit include:

Uses for profit

One of the most crucial metrics that businesses track is profit. This number provides a clear picture of whether or not the organization generates enough revenue to cover the cost of operating the business and still turn a profit because it takes into account all of a business’ income, revenue, expenses, and costs. Most companies calculate profit through the income statement. A multi-step income statement is used by some businesses, while others only use a single step income statement. Although both should yield the same result, these two formulas use various inputs.

A single-step income statement uses this formula:

Profit = all income – all expenses

A multi-step income statement, however, breaks down each individual source of income or revenue as well as each individual cost the company incurs.

Businesses can quickly determine their viability once the numbers are calculated, and business leaders can decide how to best use the money that is left over to expand and develop the company.

Turnover vs. profit context

When discussing their organizations’ income statement, businesses almost exclusively refer to turnover and profit. Since they serve as the foundation (turnover, or the top line), and the basis for calculation (profit, or the bottom line), for a company’s comprehensive finances, turnover and profit are two of the most crucial income statement line items. Numerous companies refer to turnover and profit in other situations and occasionally under different names:


The company’s turnover measures the revenue it generated solely from the sale of its goods and services. Other sources of income, such as investments, are not taken into account. Many companies use the turnover calculation to evaluate the effectiveness of their marketing initiatives, comprehend their position in the market, and use it as a benchmark to compare their success to previous quarters or years.


Profit is one of the most important metrics businesses calculate. It displays the amount of money the business still has available after covering all costs and expenses. Most businesses use the profit figure to determine their budgets for the following fiscal year, make long-term strategic choices, and allocate funds for R&D and business expansion.

Frequently asked questions about turnover and profit

To learn more about the definitions of turnover and profit, read the following frequently asked questions:

Which metric is more important, turnover or profit?

For businesses, understanding and calculating turnover and profit are crucial because they influence the calculations on the income statement. Understanding turnover aids business leaders in decision-making regarding sales and marketing, while comprehension of profit aids in decision-making regarding long-term business strategy and development.

How can I find my companys profit margin using turnover and profit?

Your company’s profit margin lets you know how much money you make for every dollar of sales. The higher the percentage, the better your profit margin and the more money your business keeps internally rather than spending it on overhead, production costs, and other costs. To find your profit margin percentage, use this formula:

Net profit margin = (net profit / revenue) x 100

Though profit margins often differ by industry, typically a 5% profit margin is low, a 10% profit margin is average, and a 20% profit margin is high.

Is turnover the same as sales?

Although the words “sales” and “turnover” are frequently used interchangeably, they can have a few different meanings. In general, sales less any returns, discounts, or allowances are referred to as turnover. Contrarily, sales simply refers to the money made from customers, not necessarily taking into account returned goods, discounts for goods or services, or any other allowances.


How much of turnover is profit?

Although profits are dependent on turnover, turnover is independent of profits. Therefore, the profit is more dependent on tight control over variable costs the higher the turnover. Profits can be of either gross or net type. Gross profit is attained after subtracting COGS from Turnover.

Is revenue turnover or profit?

However, a small company’s healthy profit margin typically falls between 7% and 10%. However, keep in mind that some industries, like those in the retail or food industries, may experience lower margins. That’s because they tend to have higher overhead costs.

How is turnover calculated?

Revenue is the money businesses make from selling their goods and services, whereas turnover describes how often companies create assets or deplete them. As a result, while turnover affects a company’s efficiency, revenue affects its profitability.

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