Gross Revenue vs Net Revenue: Detailed Guide

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Gross revenue or net revenue are two vital financial indicators that are frequently used to evaluate the financial performance and viability of businesses. These metrics provide valuable insights into different aspects of a company’s financial health, offering distinct perspectives that are crucial for decision-making and strategic planning.

Revenue recognition and reporting are critical and challenging issues for accountants. Many investors record their income as well, and the difference between net and gross revenue for a small business can have significant income tax consequences if handled incorrectly. There are many grey areas in both recognition and reporting, but all earned revenue from sales transactions is classified as gross revenue or net revenue.

In this article, we will delve into the importance of both gross revenue and net revenue, the differences between gross and net revenue, as well as their formulas and limitations.

What Is Gross Revenue?

The total amount of money created by the sale of goods or services over some time, such as a quarter or a year, is referred to as gross revenue (also known as total revenue or gross income). It is frequently used to show your company’s potential to sell items and generate revenue, but it does not take into account expenses.

Formula For Gross Revenue

To determine gross revenue for a product-based business, use the formula gross revenue = (number of items sold) x (price of goods sold). The formula for service-based businesses is gross revenue = (number of clients) x (price of service).

Reporting Of Gross Revenue

When gross revenue (also known as gross sales) is recorded, the income statement accounts for all money from a sale. Whatever expenditures from whatever source are not taken into account.

For example, gross revenue reporting excludes any cost of goods sold (COGS) or other deductions, focusing solely on the money gained from sales. So, if a shoemaker sells a pair of shoes for £81.99, the gross revenue is £81.99, even though the shoes cost £32.00 to create.

Definition of Net Revenue

Net revenue (or net sales) is defined as gross revenue minus returns and allowances such as sale promotions and purchase discounts. In essence, net revenue refers to the actual amount of money received by the company at the end of the period. When calculating payments to their sales team, companies that pay commissions frequently use net revenue.

The Formula For Net Revenue

Net revenue for a given time can be calculated using the formula

net revenue = gross revenue – returns – allowances.

Returns are the monetary worth of all returned items, whereas allowances are the total amount of the discounts granted on gross sales.

Reporting of Net Revenue

Net revenue (or net sales) is calculated by deducting any discounts or allowances from gross revenue. The net revenue for the same shoemaker’s £81.99 pair of shoes sold, which permitted merchants to sell at a 40% discount to clear stocks, would be £49.19. They can deduct other costs from that £49.19, such as rent, employee salary, packaging, and so on. Anything that the shoemaker incurs as a cost would be removed from the gross revenue of £81.99, yielding the net revenue.

Net revenue is typically recorded when a commission must be recognised, and a supplier receives a portion of the sales revenue, or one party sources clients for another party.

When Should You Use Gross vs. Net Revenue?

Gross revenue is incredibly useful for tracking sales volume and ensuring that your company’s market share is increasing and your salespeople are meeting their targets. However, it gives you little information about your company’s total profitability.

Net revenue, on the other hand, is excellent for tracking profitability and provides far more information than just gross sales. However, net income has its limitations. For example, you can’t always tell why net income changes. You can’t tell whether your company’s net income is changing due to swings in sales or expenses unless you look at your gross revenue during the same period.

Is Gross Revenue The Same as Gross Profit?

Gross revenue is not the same as gross profit. Gross revenue represents the total income generated from a company’s primary operations before any expenses are deducted. It is the starting point in a company’s income statement and includes all sales or revenue generated.

In contrast, gross profit is the amount of money a company earns from its core operations after subtracting the cost of goods sold (COGS). It provides a measure of a company’s profitability at the most basic level, focusing solely on the direct costs associated with producing goods or delivering services. Gross profit is a critical indicator for assessing a company’s efficiency in managing its production costs and generating income.

Differences Between Gross Revenue And Net Revenue

An income statement’s gross revenue or net revenue are two distinct elements. Both make it easier to evaluate other financial information, such as profits.

Let us now examine the differences between the two:

BasisGross RevenueNet Revenue
MeaningNet revenue alone is not adequate for computing a business’s profits.Gross sales is the total value of sales an organization generates from selling goods or services.
Inclusive ofGross sales include the cost of goods sold, returns, discounts, allowance, overheads, and profit.Net sales only include the cost of goods sold and the gross profit
Exclusive ofIt is the purest form of sales proceeds that doesn’t account for any deductions.It is the sales revenue that excludes discounts, returns, and allowances
FormulaGross Sales = Total Sales Volume × Sales Price Per UnitNet Revenue = Gross Revenue – Sales Discount – Sales Return – Allowance
Mathematical ImplicationIt helps determine the net revenue or sales of the firmIt is used for evaluating the operating income of the business
RelevanceShortcomings   Gross sale is necessary for understanding a company’s efficiency in improving its sales and maximizing market share. Also, investors and shareholders look at a company’s gross sales before investing.Net revenue alone is not adequate for computing a business’s profits
           It overlooks other sources of income—interest on investment, rent, or commission. Also, it only signifies sales values, not actual profits made by a business.Net revenue alone is not adequate for computing a business’s profits
Position on Income StatementIt is found on top of Income StatementsIn the income statement, It appears right after gross sales.

Importance Of Gross Revenue And Net Revenue

Net revenue is an important number to understand since it is a true reflection of how well your firm is doing. Let’s take a closer look at the significance of gross and net revenue.

#1. Performance Assessment 

Gross sales or net revenue is an important benchmark for evaluating a company’s financial success since it provides insight into its ability to create income.

#2. Investor Belief 

Investors commonly rely on gross revenue or net revenue numbers to assess a company’s prospective return on investment and overall financial soundness.

#3. Considerations for Taxation 

Tax authorities frequently use either gross revenue or net revenue data to calculate tax responsibilities. Thus, accurate reporting is critical to prevent legal complications.

#4. Making Informed Decisions 

Data relating to gross revenue or net revenue is used by business leaders to make well-informed decisions about pricing strategies, budget allocations, and resource management.

#5. Profitability 

Net revenue expresses a company’s success by taking into account expenses, taxes, and deductions, providing a clear picture of the bottom line.

#6. Strategic Planning 

Gross revenue aids in the development of revenue targets and growth strategies, whereas net revenue supports in the identification of cost-cutting and efficiency-improvement opportunities.

#7. Creditworthiness

These measures are used by lenders and creditors to assess a company’s capacity to repay loans and manage its financial responsibilities.

Gross And Net Revenue Ratios

Gross or net revenue are terms that are frequently used in ratios and other metrics to indicate a company’s financial strength and performance.

One metric that provides key insights into the profitability of your specific products or services is the gross profit ratio. The gross profit ratio, also known as the gross profit margin, is the percentage of a product’s or service’s gross sales that is profit above the cost of production.

Net sales x gross profit = gross profit ratio

In this formula, net sales equal gross sales minus returns minus the cost of goods sold. Another metric based on your company’s revenue—this time, your net revenue—is the net profit margin, also known as return on revenue.

Revenue = (Revenue – Cost) Net profit margin

In other words, your net profit margin represents your company’s overall profitability after deducting all fixed expenses and overhead.

How Gross and Net Revenue Affect Finances

It’s critical to recognize that gross sales and net revenue are not the same thing when it comes to a company’s financial health. Prospective lenders and investors examine both types of revenue to understand more about your company’s strategy and management.

Gross revenue is a measure of the capability of your product to sell. Net revenue, on the other hand, displays how much of your gross sales remain after accounting adjustments such as returns and refunds.

When your net revenue equals your gross revenue, it might indicate that your product is popular enough, and consumers will continue shopping for it. It also implies that you do not need to provide tremendous savings to move things.  

Gross revenue can be used by investors to validate your business model and product offering. However, they can compare it to net revenue to have a better idea of product quality as well as the effective use of your marketing and sales activities.

While price cuts can be an efficient strategy for acquiring new clients and broadening your target market, you should be conscious of their impact on your company’s revenues. Analyzing gross revenue and net revenue might assist you in striking a balance between aggressive growth plans and long-term business goals.

What are The Items Included In Gross Revenue?

Before any costs are deducted, gross revenue is the inflow of money or money’s worth to the firm, such as sales statistics, rents, discounts received, and so on.

Is VAT Added To The Gross or Net Price?

The net amount is the price charged before VAT is included; it is also known as the VAT-exclusive amount because VAT is not included. The gross amount is the price charged after VAT is deducted; it is also referred to as the VAT-included amount because it includes VAT.

Do You Charge VAT Based on Profit or Turnover?

VAT is a business transaction tax that may apply to all purchases and sales. It is not a profit tax. Most supplies are subject to a 20% VAT, however some are taxed at 0% or 5%.

How Do You Calculate Net and Gross Percentage?

To calculate the gross profit percentage: (Revenue-Goods sold)/Revenue*100. To calculate the net profit percentage: (Net Income/Revenue)*100.

What is the Basic Accounting Equation for Revenue?

The revenue formula in accounting is the price of goods or services sold multiplied by the quantity of goods or services sold. Revenue is a part of the owner’s equity equation.

Can a Company Have Negative Gross ?

Gross revenue cannot be negative since it refers only to the sum of all sources of income and doesn’t factor in any losses or costs. Other metrics can be negative, such as net income or gross profit, especially in the early stages of a new business.


Business accounting can appear difficult, especially if you are trying to get your books in order to apply for business financing.

As a small business owner, you probably believe your brain is at capacity in terms of financial knowledge and formulas. Understanding gross and net revenue, on the other hand, can help you make sound business decisions.

Everything will take time, and there will most likely be some trial and error to figure out what your gross revenue or net revenues mean. However, once you understand how to read a financial statement, you will know what changes to make to optimize your business!


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