profit is defined

Accounting profit, on the other hand, calculates what actually occurred and the measurable results for the period. It’s the cost to an individual or company of not pursuing a particular business option. Economic profit can show management how efficiently the company has been using its resources. Economic profit is used to determine the effect of decision-making, choices, and investments. It is primarily used by a company when deciding when to enter or exit a market. The manager of this company suggested to its top management that they could survive in the market by reducing the cost of manufacturing or adding new products to its product line.

In the example his difference between accounting profit and economic profit was negative, indicating that his old job was the better choice monetarily. Profit had been positive, that would indicate that his current engagements proved to be the most profitable and therefore he was relatively better off. But like accounting profit, you can always improve – by cutting costs (i.e. expenses) and finding cheaper ways to make the same if not more revenue. Profit can ALWAYS be increased due to factors like improvements in productive efficiency , increase in demand , etc.

The whole future of the company depends on its profit earning capacity. If the company earns good profits, then it will give good returns to its stakeholder’s. So, the profits mentioned above are three completely different forms of profit.

If the market has no barriers to entry, new firms will enter, increase the supply of the commodity, and decrease the price. This decrease in price leads to a decrease in the firm’s revenue, so in the long-run, economic profit is zero. Despite earning an economic profit of zero, the firm may still be earning a positive accounting profit. Normal profit occurs when the difference between a company’s total revenue and combined explicit and implicit costs are equal to zero. A company may choose Project A over Project B. The profit from Project A after deducting expenses and costs would be the accounting profit.

It helps measure the firm’s efficiency by including how efficiently the resource is allocated. The Structured Query Language comprises several different data types that allow it to store different types of information… Marshall Hargrave is a stock analyst and writer with 10+ years of experience covering stocks and markets, as well as analyzing and valuing companies.

Economic Profit (or Loss): Definition, Formula, and Example

Economic profit differs quite significantly from accounting profit. Instead of looking at net income, economic profit considers a company’s free cash flow, which is the actual amount of cash generated by a business. Due to accrual accounting principles, the figure is often materially different from accounting profit. In most cases, accounting profit will be more than economic profit.

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We will also talk about the key differences between the two that everyone should know. Economic profit, on the other hand, is not recorded on a company’s financial statements, nor is it required to be disclosed to regulators, investors, or financial institutions. Opportunity costs are a type of implicit cost determined by management and will vary based on different scenarios and perspectives. The concepts of business profit and economic profit help to sharpen our focus on the issue of why profits exist, and what is their role in a non-socialist economy.

How Do You Calculate Accounting Profit?

Accounting profit is the difference between total revenue from a business and explicit costs (out-of-pocket costs) the business has to incur. Economic profits are the theoretical profits that result when company management subtracts all expenses plus the costs of lost opportunities from revenue earned in a particular period of time. Companies can use this type of analysis to decide on production levels. The economic profit figure is theoretical because opportunity costs are based on assumptions.

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Accounting profit is also often referred to as bookkeeping profit or financial Profit. The business if has accounting profit to be below implicit costs then the business tends to earn a negative economic profit. If the business earns negative economic profits, it is generally recommended that the business divest itself. In a like manner, the opportunity cost of owner effort is determined by the value that could be received in an alternative activity. Profit to an economist, then, is business profit, net of the implicit costs of equity, or other inputs provided by owners and used by the firm.

Economic Profit vs. Accounting Profit: An Overview

Most commonly, companies prepare their financial statements at the end of a financial year. However, the accounting profit can be calculated bi-annually, quarterly or monthly. Opportunity costs can be used for deeper analysis of business decisions, specifically when alternatives are available. Companies may look at opportunity costs when considering production levels for different types of products that they produce collectively but in varying quantities. The calculation of economic profit over the short-term can lead to inappropriate conclusions about the business option chosen. That’s because short-term losses can be inevitable before expected long-term profitability.

All things being equal, the company could have earned $3 more per unit if they had produced shorts instead of t-shirts. Companies and individuals may choose to consider economic profit when they are faced with choices involving production levels or other business alternatives. Economic profit can provide a proxy for foregone profit considerations. Accounting profit measures actual money inflows versus money outflows and is part of the required financial reporting and transparency of a company. Opportunity costs are the profits that a business misses out on when choosing to pursue one business venture over another.

profit and economic

We do not often study the profits missed out on due to the company’s decisions. We should analyze both the accounting profit and economic profit to get a balanced analysis of the companies profitability and decision making. Profit is simply all the money you make minus all the expenses you’ve paid in order to make that money.

Implicit cost is the opportunity cost, i.e. the option forgone by the firm while investing the money somewhere else or using some other option. In simple terms, profit can be understood as all the income that is received by an individual. It is the lifeline of the business, as, without profit, the survival is difficult, rather impossible.

We have noted that the normal risk-adjusted rate of return on equity is considered to be the minimum return necessary to obtain and maintain investment for a particular use. The service station business is quite competitive whether there is active price cutting or not. Let us assume, however, that this filling station is successful largely because of a good location and efficient manage­ment.

We can comprehend the economic Profit when all the input costs are excluded from the output costs, giving the economic Profit. However, the costs included are implicit as well as explicit costs. In a moment, we will dissect this concept for a better understanding. Profit can be defined as the access of revenues over expenses. Accounting profit is reported in the income statement of the company. The net Profit calculated by subtracting the current year’s expenses from revenues is called accounting profit.


In this article excerpt, we have discussed some fundamental differences between accounting, economic and normal profit. The actual profits of the firm are determined by the accounting profit, whereas economic profit is termed an abnormal profit. The accountant shall consider accounting profit as they will consider production costs and their impact on profitability. In contrast, when economists describe costs, they are interested in how the company has decided to implement any strategy. It will also analyze how those strategies can impact the firm and the economy.

Related Differences

Economic profit is the difference between total revenue and total cost summing up the explicit and implicit costs together. Accounting profit is the exact profit in figures on your business income statement and other accounting reports. This figure is calculated by calculating the total revenue and then subtracting the cost of goods sold and expenses from it. It is the money that you have left after you have paid for the production of your goods or services and paid for all expenses. These expenses are the costs that you incur in the process of running the business. Operating expenses, labour, transportation, and sales expenses are common examples of these costs.

  • However when you spend that money on things to benefit your business like Plant and Equipment and other expenses, then that money does get factored in as such – money used to finance your expenses.
  • Accounting profit is an indicator of the company’s financial performance and tells you exactly how profitable it is in terms of money.
  • Barriers to entry prevent new firms from easily entering the market, and sapping short-run economic profits.

You can calculate accounting profit by subtracting explicit costs or expenses from the total amount of revenue earned. Explicit costs include things like raw materials, wages, lease payments, and utilities. Management calculates accounting profit as part of its financial statements, though it may use different approaches for internal analysis. Economic profit can deliver approximation as to which desired direction the business has headed to. The term “profit” may bring images of money to mind, but to economists, profit encompasses more than just cash. In general, profit is the difference between costs and revenue, but there is a difference between accounting profit and economic profit.

Economic Profit vs. Accounting Profit: What’s the Difference? – Investopedia

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Explicit CostsExplicit costs are the culmination of all direct and indirect expenses recorded in a company’s ledger. The next step is to take the difference between the cash flows of each project and compare them to see which generates more economic profit. An implicit cost—also called imputed, implied, or notional costs—are any cost that has already occurred but not necessarily shown or reported as a separate expense. Opportunity cost is the potential forgone profit from a missed opportunity—the result of choosing one alternative and forgoing another. Rather, our basic purpose is to suggest that each view has a different purpose.

Economic profit on the other hand defines as the profit levels that the business earns over and above the expenses that are generally termed as opportunity costs. In corporation and in other large firms, man­agers are paid salaries. But if the wages of manage­ment are less than managements’ opportunity cost, a difference between accounting and economic profit still exists. This opportunity cost is the cost that has to be reduced from the total earned revenue to calculate the firm’s economic profits.

  • Implicit costs are costs in which there is no money leaving, but instead either money could have been entering instead or the value of your assets is decreasing.
  • The economist recognizes the need to pay a minimum sum to owner-provided inputs.
  • Accounting profit is the difference between total monetary revenue and total monetary costs, and is computed by using generally accepted accounting principles .
  • The income statement is the statement that reflects the current financial health and growth of the company.

It is important to understand the concept of implicit and explicit costs here. Explicit costs are the deductible costs that can be appropriated as current costs of the company. The economic Profit is significantly different from the accounting profit. As the name suggests, the economic Profit reflects the impact of different economic decisions of a company’s management.