What is AN Operating Income/Operating Profit?

Operating income, also known as operating profit, is a crucial financial metric that measures the profitability of a company’s core business activities. It is calculated by subtracting operating expenses from gross profit. Operating income provides insight into how well a company is managing its core operations, excluding the effects of non-operational factors such as taxes and interest expenses.


Key Aspects of Operating Income/Operating Profit:

  1. Definition:
    • Operating income is the profit a company makes from its regular business operations. It is an indicator of the efficiency and profitability of the company’s core activities, without considering non-operating items like interest and taxes.
  2. Calculation:
    • The formula for calculating operating income is:Operating Income=Gross Profit−Operating Expenses\text{Operating Income} = \text{Gross Profit} – \text{Operating Expenses}
    • Gross Profit: Revenue from sales minus the cost of goods sold (COGS).
    • Operating Expenses: These include selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A), depreciation, and amortisation.For example, if a company has a gross profit of £500,000 and operating expenses of £300,000, the operating income would be:

      Operating Income=£500,000−£300,000=£200,000\text{Operating Income} = £500,000 – £300,000 = £200,000

  3. Components:
    • Revenue: Total income from sales of goods or services.
    • Cost of Goods Sold (COGS): Direct costs attributable to the production of the goods sold by the company.
    • Operating Expenses: Includes costs related to the day-to-day running of the business, such as rent, utilities, salaries, marketing, and administrative expenses.
    • Depreciation and Amortisation: The allocation of the cost of tangible and intangible assets over their useful lives.
  4. Importance:
    • Performance Indicator: Operating income shows the profitability of the company’s core business operations, providing insight into operational efficiency.
    • Comparative Analysis: It allows for comparison with other companies in the same industry, as it excludes the effects of financing and tax strategies.
    • Investment Decisions: Investors and analysts use operating income to assess the company’s financial health and operational performance, which can influence investment decisions.
    • Management Tool: Helps management identify areas where costs can be controlled or reduced and where operational efficiencies can be improved.
  5. Exclusions:
    • Operating income does not include income and expenses from non-operating activities such as interest income, interest expense, and taxes. It focuses solely on the company’s core operations.


Consider a UK-based retail company with the following financial data for a year:

  • Revenue: £1,000,000
  • Cost of Goods Sold (COGS): £600,000
  • Gross Profit: £400,000 (Revenue – COGS)
  • Operating Expenses: £250,000 (including SG&A, rent, utilities, salaries, and marketing)
  • Depreciation and Amortisation: £50,000

Using the formula:

Operating Income=Gross Profit−Operating Expenses−Depreciation and Amortisation\text{Operating Income} = \text{Gross Profit} – \text{Operating Expenses} – \text{Depreciation and Amortisation} Operating Income=£400,000−£250,000−£50,000=£100,000\text{Operating Income} = £400,000 – £250,000 – £50,000 = £100,000

The company’s operating income is £100,000, indicating the profit generated from its core business operations before accounting for interest and taxes.



Operating income is a vital financial metric for assessing the profitability and efficiency of a company’s core business activities. For UK businesses, understanding operating income helps in making informed decisions about cost management, operational improvements, and investment strategies. By focusing on the profit generated from regular operations, operating income provides a clear picture of the company’s financial health and operational success.