Net Income


  • What is Net Income? 
  • Why Net Income is Important 
  • How to Calculate Net Income 
  • Net Income versus Profit Margin 
  • Net Income versus Earnings Per Share (EPS) 
  • Net Income and Taxation 
  • Net Income and Cash Flow
  • AASB Rulings on Net Income  

What is Net Income? 

Net income is essentially the financial conclusion of a business operations over a given period, like a fiscal quarter or a year. Its often termed as the bottom line because its situated at the bottom of the income statement. This figure indicates whether the entity has made a profit after deducting all its expenses from its total revenue.  

In simpler terms, its the amount of money that remains after all the bills have been paid. This leftover profit can be utilised in various ways – it can be distributed among the business owners as dividends or reinvested back into the entity to foster its growth. 

Investors and financial institutions, like banks, often scrutinise net income when evaluating the financial health of an entity. It serves as a significant metric for them to gauge whether the entity is a viable investment or loan candidate.  

For publicly traded entities, net income plays a crucial role in determining earnings per share, which directly impacts stock valuation. Additionally, it influences decisions regarding the distribution of dividends to shareholders. 

Alternative Terms For Net Income

Net income, despite being commonly known as the bottom line on an income statement, goes by various other names in the financial world. These include net profit, net earnings, net income after taxes (NIAT), and the bottom line. Conversely, if an entity’s expenses surpass its revenue, resulting in a negative value, its termed as a net loss. 

Net profit is often used interchangeably with net income, but its important to note the subtle differences. While both signify the amount left after deducting expenses from revenue, profit is a broader term that encompasses various types.  

For instance, gross profit represents revenue minus the cost of goods sold (COGS). Therefore, when using the term net profit, its crucial to specify the type of profit being referenced to ensure accuracy in calculations. 

Net earnings serves as another synonym for net income. This term underscores the idea that earnings are what remain for the entity after covering all expenses and liabilities, including taxes. It encapsulates the entity’s overall profitability after accounting for all financial obligations. 

The application process for a Tax File Number (TFN) is free.

Why Net Income is Important 

The importance of net income for entities extends beyond just determining profitability. It serves as a fundamental metric used in various financial analyses and decision-making processes. 

One significant application of net income is in calculating metrics like net profit margin and operating cash flow. Net profit margin, for instance, is derived by expressing net income as a percentage of revenue. This metric provides insight into how efficiently the entity converts its revenue into actual profit after covering expenses.  

Higher percentages or margins typically indicate greater efficiency, although this can vary across industries. 

For entities seeking financing, whether from banks or investors, net income plays a pivotal role. Banks often consider net income when evaluating loan applications, as it indicates the entity’s ability to generate profits and repay debts.  

Similarly, investors rely on net income to assess the profitability and potential returns of investing in an entity. Moreover, net income is used in calculating earnings per share (EPS), a key metric used to communicate profitability to shareholders, venture capitalists (VCs), and other investors. 

Financial Modelling

Financial modelling also heavily relies on net income to forecast future performance based on historical data. By analysing past net income figures, entities can make informed predictions regarding revenue, expenses, and cash flow. This aids in making critical budgeting decisions related to capital investments, staffing, and resource allocation. 

How to Calculate Net Income 

The formula for calculating net income (NI) can be represented as follows: 

Net Income (NI) =Total Revenue−Total Expenses 


  • Total Revenue: The total income generated from sales or other sources. 
  • Total Expenses: The sum of all expenses incurred by the entity. 

To break it down further: 

Step  Calculation 
Sales or Revenue  – Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) 
  = Gross Income 
Gross Income  Operating Expenses 
  = Operating Income 
Operating Income  – Non operating Expense 
  = Gross Income Minus Expenses 
Gross Income Minus Expenses  + Non operating Income 
  = Net Income Before Taxes 
Net Income Before Taxes  – Taxes 
  = Net Income 


Each step below shows the calculation performed to derive the respective figure in the net income calculation process. 

  • Calculate Gross Income: This involves subtracting the cost of goods sold (COGS) from the total revenue. The revenue represents the income generated from selling products or services, while the COGS includes the direct costs associated with producing those products or services. 
  • Deduct Operating Expenses: Once the gross income is found, subtract the operating expenses from it. Operating expenses cover various costs such as administrative expenses (like salaries, rent, and utilities), marketing expenses, research costs, and depreciation of assets used in operations. 
  • Subtract Non operating Expenses: Non operating expenses are those not directly related to the entity’s core operations. These could include interest payments on loans or any other financial costs. 
  • Add Non operating Income: Conversely, non operating income represents any income received from sources outside of the entity’s primary operations. This could include dividends, interest earned on investments, or other sources of income. 
  • Account for Taxes: Finally, deduct any taxes owed by the entity. Taxes can significantly impact the net income, so its crucial to factor them inaccurately. 
Net income calculator and maginifier

Net Income versus Profit Margin 

Net income serves as a fundamental component in calculating a entity’s profit margin, which represents the percentage of profit earned on each unit sold or each service provided. The profit margin is calculated by dividing net income by total revenue.  

This metric offers insights into how effectively the entity manages its expenses relative to its revenue generation. However, its important to note that profit margins can vary significantly across different business sectors. Therefore, investors should compare entities within the same sector to draw meaningful conclusions about their performance. 

Net Income versus Earnings Per Share (EPS) 

Net income is also utilised in calculating earnings per share (EPS), a crucial metric for investors. EPS is determined by dividing net income by the total number of shares issued by the entity. This metric is distinct from both share price and shareholder dividends, although it can influence them.  

Generally, shares with higher EPS values may trade for higher prices, but this relationship is not absolute. Additionally, entities with higher net incomes are typically in a better position to distribute shareholder dividends.  

However, it’s essential to recognise that the ability to pay dividends does not guarantee that an entity will do so. Some entities, especially younger ones aiming for growth, may prefer to retain profits for reinvestment or as reserves for unforeseen expenses. Similarly, even established entities may choose to retain profits on their balance sheets rather than distributing them as dividends. 

Net Income and Taxation 

Net income represents the profit that an entity retains after accounting for all expenses, including business taxes. Its sometimes referred to as net income after taxes (NIAT). Entities often showcase both net income before and after taxes on their income statements, facilitating comparisons among entities operating in regions with varying tax rates. 

It’s important to note that net income is not necessarily the same as taxable income for Australian tax purposes. Taxable Income is essentially Assessable Income less allowable Tax Deductions.

AASB Rulings on Net Income 

AASB 101 Presentation of Financial Statements, require that an entity must present its total comprehensive income for a period either in a single statement of comprehensive income or in two statements (a separate income statement and a statement of comprehensive income).  

Net income, or profit or loss, is a central component of these statements. It includes all items of income and expense recognised in a period except those items classified as other comprehensive income. 

The AASB framework acknowledges the direct impact of net income on equity. Profit or loss for the period increases owner’s equity, except for any portion that is distributed as dividends. This is reflected in the statement of changes in equity, as required by AASB 101. 


This article is general information only and does not provide advice to address your personal circumstances. To make an informed decision you should contact an appropriately qualified professional.