A margin means the difference between product sales and costs. There are a number of margins that could be calculated from the information located in income statement, which give the user information about different facets of an business operations. The contribution margin and gross margin examine different facets of the amounts earned on the sale of services prior to offering and administrative bills. The operating margin examines the operational output of an entire business, while the profit margin is supposed to reveal the overall results of a profitable business.


The calculation of these margins is as follows:

  • Contribution margin. This calculation is income minus all absolutely variable expenses, portioned by sales. Under this approach, all fixed costs are pushed even more down the income statement, while sales commission rates are shifted outside the sales department bills and placed from the totally variable expenditure classification. This margin causes it to be easier to start to see the impact of variable costs using a business and how much the contribution when it comes to fixed expenses.
  • Gross margin. The calculation is sales minus the expense of goods sold, separated by sales. It differs from the contribution margin because the gross margin also includes fixed overhead costs. Due to presence of several fixed costs, this percentage can vary somewhat as gross sales levels change, which makes it more difficult to see the real product margins of a business.
  • Operating margin. The calculation is sales minus the cost of goods sold and operating expenses, divided by sales. This margin is useful for determining the results of a business before financing costs and income. Thus, it focuses on the “real” results of a business.
  • Profit margin. The calculation is sales minus all expenses, divided by sales. This is the most comprehensive of all margin formulas, and so is the most closely watched by outside observers to judge the performance of a business.


These margins need to be tracked on a new trend line. By doing this, one can conveniently spot spikes and drops within the margins earned with a business, and investigate why these changes happened. Such investigations really are a key management technique for maintaining reasonable margins in a business.