Profit is a fond topic for most business owners, but do you know the difference between gross profit and net profit? Gross profit is the net result of your sales and your cost of sales, in other words, the profit on the sale of your product. Net profit, is the larger gross profit less all other operating and financing costs, usually a fraction of your gross profit!

Gross profit can be calculated for various elements that make up the total sales of your business, such as the gross profit per product or product category. The total gross profit in your financial statements depends on the number of products you sell but doesn’t show you the amount of profit you are making per item sold. Most accounting packages have this information in one of the stock/item reports. It is very helpful to analyse the gross profit per stock item, as you can see which products make you the most money, and therefore what you should focus your sales effort on.

The same principle can be applied to business divisions. By calculating the gross profit per area you are able to see who is pulling their weight and who is not contributing enough towards the running costs of the company. For service businesses, it is also possible to calculate the gross profit per service by including the salaries of the staff, and other costs, into the calculation. Typically service businesses keep some form of timekeeping, where it is possible to see how much of a person’s time (and therefore cost) can be allocated to the various services they perform, even better if individual staff members can be allocated to a specific service. Accounting packages are not set up for this level of analysis, so a spreadsheet is often necessary.

It may be easier to understand the gross profit as a percentage of sales rather than a rand value. Knowing that a product makes an R5 gross profit doesn’t have as much meaning as knowing that the gross profit is 75% of the sales price. Using percentages, you are also able to compare products and the value that they add to the operations of the business.

It may be necessary to dig a little into the accounting information to get a real picture of the gross profit of the business. Should you need a spade or a little help digging, let us know.


 GP – service GP, per product, overall, per division – % vs rand