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Operating Profit


Operating profit, also known as operating income, is a measure of a company’s earnings from its principal business operations before deducting interest and taxes. It reflects the profits a company makes after paying off its variable costs like wages, raw materials, but before paying interest or tax. It is often considered an accurate representation of the company’s operational profitability and business efficiency.


The phonetic spelling of “Operating Profit” would be: “ɒpəreɪtɪŋ prɒfɪt”.

Key Takeaways

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  1. Definition: Operating profit reflects the profit a company makes from its core business operations, excluding deductions of interest and taxes. It shows the company’s operational efficiency and its ability to generate profit from the sale of its goods or services, before other costs are factored in.
  2. Importance: Operating profit is a key indicator of underlying business performance. A high operating profit indicates that the company is effective at controlling its operating costs and is generating more revenue from the everyday operational business. A lower operating profit may suggest the opposite.
  3. Calculation: Operating profit is calculated by subtracting Operating Expenses, including Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), Research and Development (R&D) expenses, and General & Administrative (G&A) costs, from a company’s Gross Income. The formula is: Operating Profit = Gross Income – Operating Expenses.


Operating profit is a critical metric in business finance as it provides an accurate reflection of the profitability and operational efficiency of a firm. It measures the profit earned from a firm’s usual business operations, thereby excluding non-operating income or cost, such as interest expenses or revenue from investments. This distinct focus on earnings from core business activities makes it a reliable indicator of a company’s financial health and operational performance. An increase in operating profit typically signifies improving efficiency and profitability, while a decline may suggest operational difficulties. Thus, potential investors, shareholders, and management can leverage this valuable insight to make informed strategic decisions and evaluate a company’s ability to generate profits.


Operating Profit, also known as operating income, is a critical financial parameter used by businesses to reflect on the profitability of their regular operations, excluding factors like taxes and interest. This measure gives a concise appraisal of a company’s core line of business, including aspects like resource management, pricing strategy, and cost control. It’s basically the profit earned from the business’s main operations, neither affected by income and costs from non-core segments nor by other financial results. The purpose of Operating Profit is to provide a clear perspective of the profits derived from the core operating activities and the firm’s efficiency in generating profit. Investors, creditors, and other stakeholders use operating profit to measure the company’s operational efficiency and gauge its profitability relative to its peers. Essentially, a higher operating profit indicates a more profitable and economically resilient company. It serves as pivotal insight for internal planning and decision-making, providing an accurate understanding of performance without unusual or one-time influences.


1. Apple Inc.: In their 2020 fiscal year, Apple Inc. reported an operating profit of $66.29 billion from its total revenues of $274.52 billion. This is deduced after subtracting the cost of goods sold and operating expenses like research and development, selling, general, and administrative expenses from the total revenue. A very high operating profit symbolizes the operational efficiency and profitability of the company.2. Amazon Inc.: Amazon reported an operating profit of $22.9 billion for the year 2020. This was calculated after deducting cost of sales, fulfillment, marketing, technology, content, general and administrative expenses from their total revenue of $386 billion. Amazon’s considerable operating profit is due to its diversified revenue streams, efficient operational strategies, and widespread customer base.3. McDonald’s Corporation: In the year 2019, McDonald’s reported an operating profit of about $9 billion. This was obtained after subtracting costs associated with franchise revenues, company-operated restaurant revenues, and operating sale and administrative expenses. McDonald’s operating profit highlights its successful business model and strong global presence.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Operating Profit?

Operating profit, also known as operating income or operating earnings, is a measure of the profitability of a company’s core business operations, excluding taxes and interest costs.

How is Operating Profit calculated?

Operating Profit is calculated by subtracting the cost of goods sold (COGS), operating expenses (like salaries, rent, utilities etc.), and depreciation and amortization from a company’s total revenue.

Why is Operating Profit important?

Operating Profit is significant because it shows the profitability of a company’s core business. It excludes elements such as taxes and financing costs, thus providing a clear picture of the company’s financial state and the efficiency of operations.

Is Operating Profit the same as Net Profit?

No, they are different. Operating profit only considers revenues and costs directly related to business operations. Net profit, on the other hand, includes all revenues and costs, such as taxes, interest expenses or other income and expenses.

What is a good Operating Profit margin?

A good operating profit margin varies by industry. However, a higher percentage typically indicates a more profitable company that has better control over its costs compared to its competitors.

Can a company have a positive Operating Profit but still be in financial trouble?

Yes, it’s possible. A company may have a positive operating profit but still face financial difficulties due to debt obligations, taxes, or non-operating expenses that are not considered within operating profit calculations.

Does Operating Profit include taxes and interest costs?

No, Operating Profit does not include taxes and interest costs. It exclusively considers the profits earned from a company’s core business operations.

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