What is the BreakEven Analysis?
Breakeven analysis refers to the identifying of the point where the revenue of the company starts exceeding its total cost i.e., the point when the project or company under consideration will start generating the profits by the way of studying the relationship between the revenue of the company, its fixed cost, and the variable cost.
It determines what level of sales is required to cover the total cost of business (Fixed as well as variable cost). It shows us how to calculate the point or juncture when a company would start to make the profit.
BreakEven Analysis Formulas
There are two approaches to calculate the breakeven point. One can be in quantity termed as breakeven quantity and the other is sales which are termed as breakeven sales.
In the first approach, we have to divide the fixed cost by contribution per unit i.e.
 Where, Contribution per Unit = Selling Price per Unit – Variable Cost per Unit
In the second approach, we have to divide the fixed cost by contribution to sales ratio or profitvolume ratio i.e.
 Where Contribution Margin Ratio = Contribution per Unit / Selling Price per Unit
BreakEven Analysis Example
Example 1
Suppose XYZ Ltd is expecting of selling 10,000 units at a price of $10 each. The variable cost associated with the product is $5 per unit and the fixed cost is coming $15,000 per year. Do the breakeven analysis for the given case.
Solution:
Use the following data for the calculation of breakeven analysis
The breakeven situation for the given case can be calculated in either quantity terms or in dollar terms.
Calculation of BreakEven Point can be done as follows –
To calculate the BreakEven Point (Quantity) for which we have to divide the total fixed cost by the contribution per unit.
 Here, Selling Price per unit = $10
 Variable Cost per unit = $5
 So, Contribution per unit = $10 – $5 = $5
 Hence BreakEven Point (Quantity) = $15000 / $5 units
BreakEven Point (Quantity) = 3000 Units
It means by selling up to 3000 units XYZ Ltd will be in no loss and no profit situation and will overcome its fixed cost only. Selling quantity beyond 3000 will help in earning a profit which will be equal to the contribution per unit for every additional unit sold beyond 3000.
Calculation of BreakEven Sales can be done as follows –
To calculate the Break Even Sales ($) for which we will divide the total fixed cost by the contribution margin ratio.
 Here contribution per unit = $5
 Selling price per unit = $10
 So, contribution margin ratio = $5 / $10 = 0.5
 Hence Break Even Sales ($) = $15000 / 0.5
Break Even Sales ($)= $30,000
It means by selling up to sales value of $30,000, XYZ Ltd will be in breakeven point and will overcome its fixed cost only and will earn profit equal to the sales value beyond $30,000 equal to contribution margin * Sales value beyond $30,000.
Example #2 – Multiproduct Company
Let us take the case of a multiproduct company producing three different kinds of products named A, B, and C and try to find the breakeven number of units. The following table gives a breakdown of the price, variable costs, and the expected number of units to be sold and let us assume the fixed cost to be $6,600.
In this case, we need to find the weighted average sale price which is derived as follows,
 Weighted average sale price = {(100*50%)+(50*30%)+(20*20%)}/(100%)
 = $69
Similarly, weighted average sale price for the variable cost is calculated as follows,
 Weighted average sale price = {(50*50%)+(30*30%)+(10*20%)}/(100%)
 = $36
So Breakeven number of units using the above formula is,
 Breakeven Units = $6,600 / ($69 – $36)
 = 200
Accordingly, the breakeven numbers for Product A are 50% of 200 that is 100 and similarly for Product B and Product C will be 60 and 40 respectively.
Now let us delve into a reallife example and try to apply this concept.
Example #3 – General Motors
Let us try to find the number of units needed to be sold by General Motors’ automotive division to breakeven.
Source: Company disclosures.MM stands for million.
First, let us give you a brief idea of what these numbers from General Motors’s Annual Report (or 10K) signify. For the number of units, we have taken the worldwide vehicle sales.
For 2018 the number of vehicles sold worldwide is 8,384,000 units.
For the deriving price per unit, the ideal way would have been to calculate a weighted average price of each model of vehicles with different selling price (e.g. Chevy and Le Sabre and many more have different prices). Since that would require an extensive analysis we have just used sales revenue as a proxy and divided it by a total number of units to derive the price per unit. The gross sales for 2018 were $133,045MM which when divided by 8,384,000 gives a price per unit of $15,869.
For variable costs per unit, we divided the line item “Automotive and other costs of sales” with the number of units sold. The Automotive and other costs of sales or variable costs for 2018 were $120,656MM which when divided by 8,384,000 gives a variable cost per unit of $14,391.
Finally, we took the line item “Automotive and other selling, general and administrative expense”, as a proxy for the fixed cost related to the automotive division. For 2018 the Automotive and other selling, general and administrative expense or fixed costs was $9,650MM.
Now it is very easy to calculate the breakeven and using the formula defined at the beginning,
 Breakeven Units = 9,650*10^6 / (15,869 – 14,391)
 = 6,530,438 units.
An interesting thing to note is that although the number of units the company is currently producing is almost 1.3 times the number of units General Motors is currently selling, there has been a steady decline in the number of units sold worldwide. We can also see the number of units to be sold for General Motors to breakeven has increased in 2018, which may be due to the increase in variable cost per unit.
Advantages
Some of the advantages of breakeven analysis are as follow:
 Catches Missing Expenses: One has to figure out all the committed cost as well as the variable cost while reviewing the financial commitment to figure out the breakeven point and in this way some missing expenses which are caught out.
 Set Targets for Revenue: As and when the breakeven analysis is complete, one comes to know their projected sales revenue so as to earn the projected profit and it also helps sales teams to set more concrete goals.
 Powerful Decision Making: As the top management is having more defined data, it will help them in good decision making to expand the business or taking any new contract by offering a good minimum price by considering the sunk cost.
Disadvantages
Some of the disadvantages of breakeven analysis are as follow:
 Unrealistic assumptions as the selling price of a product can’t be the same at different sales level and some fixed costs might vary with the output.
 Sales can’t exactly be the same as to that of production. There can be some closing stock or wastage as well.
 Businesses selling more than one product: It will be tough to analyze breakeven as apportioning of fixed cost among two products will be a challenging one.
 Variable product or services cost will not always remain the same. As the level of output will increase one’s bargaining power to procure material or service will also increase.
 It is a planning aid and not a decisionmaking tool.
Important Points

 Breakeven analysis tells us at what level an investment has to reach so that it can recover its initial outlay.
 It is also considered as a measure for the margin of safety.
 It is used broadly be it the case of stock and options trading or corporate budgeting for various projects.
Conclusion
Breakeven analysis is very important for any organization so that it can know its overall ability in generating profit. Suppose for any company if its break level is coming near to the maximum sales level which the company could reach then it is impractical for that company to earn profit even in the allpositive scenario. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the management that it should monitor the organization breakeven point constantly as it helps in costsaving and resulting in a decrease of the breakeven point.
Recommended Articles
This has been a guide to Break Even Analysis and its definition. Here we discuss the breakeven analysis formula along with calculation example, advantages, and disadvantages. You can learn more about accounting from following articles –
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