Operating income vs. revenue what is the Difference?

Revenue vs. Income: An Overview

The entire amount of money derived from selling products or services for a business’s core activities is called revenue. Since it appears at the top of the income statement, revenue, also known as gross sales, is sometimes alluded to as the “top line”. A company’s overall profits or income are referred to as income or net income. When researchers and investors talk about a company’s operating income, they talk about net income or the company’s profit.


The revenue number represents a business’s income before deducting any costs. As a result, when a firm has “top-line growth,” its total sales or revenue have increased.

Although they are not equivalent, sales and net income are both helpful in assessing a company’s financial health. Revenue does not account for operating efficiency, which might significantly influence the bottom line, and measures how well a firm is at producing sales and revenue.


Revenues are multiplied by operating expenses like depreciation, interest, taxes, and other charges to arrive at net income. A business’s bottom line, or operating income, shows how well a company manages its expenditures and operational costs.

Profitability margin, operating income, earnings per share (EPS), price-to-earnings ratio, and return on shareholders’ property are all standard financial measures that employ income statement data.

The phrases “income” and “revenue” are sometimes used interchangeably since they relate to positive cash flow. However, “income” almost always refers to “net income” in an economic context, which is the total proportion of profits left over after subtracting all expenditures and additional revenue.

Operating Income

Operating profit is the same as gross profit, which equals revenues, less cost of sales, and fewer operating expenses. Using profit is the profit a company makes from its revenue-generating activities before interest, taxes, and any one-time unusual occurrences need to be subtracted. The total of those transactions combined with operational profit yields the company’s net income.

Revenue vs. Income Example

For 2021, Apple Inc. (AAPL) reported top-line sales of $365.8 billion. The company’s sales figure showed year-over-year growth of 33.3%. Apple reported $94.7 billion in net profits for the comparable period, up 64.9% over the prior year. 

Because net income is the outcome of total revenue minus all of Apple’s costs for the time, you can see that Apple’s net income is lower than its overall revenue. The abovementioned illustration highlights the distinction between income and revenue when discussing a company’s financials.

Growth in revenue and the bottom line may be attained in several ways.

A new product launch, such as the latest iPhone release, a novel service, or a new marketing initiative that boosts sales, might all result in top-line growth for a business like Apple.

In addition to cost-cutting measures or supplier negotiations, the rise in sales may have contributed to the improvement in the bottom line.

Can Income Ever Exceed Revenue?

Since income is derived from revenue after deducting all costs, it is generally impossible for income to be higher than revenue. Income is the goal, whereas revenue is the starting point. When income exceeds sales, the company will have acquired income from a non-operating source from the outside, such as a particular transaction or investment.

Is income or revenue more crucial?

Even though both metrics matter and that income come from revenue, payment is typically more significant. The rationale is that income is profit. demonstrating that a firm can pay its costs, use the profit to expand, and not rely on outside resources like debt to continue running.

Large profits, unlike strong sales, show that a company is in excellent financial condition and can offer its goods or services.

What Benefits Makes Revenue Management Offer?

By using revenue management, a business may more effectively control its marketing strategies and operating expenses, including the cost of raw materials, client pricing, and inventory levels.

The Bottom Line

The variation between these two numbers demonstrates how difficult it may be to analyze financial statements. Therefore, while determining a company’s profitability before investing, you need to consider various measures. If you only looked at Penney’s income for 2017, it would appear that it could quickly pay the $325 million in interest. But when you look at how little operational income it generates, you understand that this business may promptly collapse under the weight of its debts; therefore, you should think twice before investing in its shares.

You can also use operating income calculator.

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