Net Loss

Updated on April 30, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is Net Loss?

Net loss refers to the loss incurred by the business during the particular accounting period after considering all the income and expenses incurred by the company during that period and such a situation arises in the company when the total expenses of the company are greater than its total income.

Net Loss Definition

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For eg:
Source: Net Loss (

Net loss or net profit is usually recorded at the bottom of an income statement. A business can survive despite incurring net losses by relying on revenues earned during an earlier period or with the help of loans. Still, it goes without saying that the purpose of a business is to turn profits eventually.

Net Loss Explained

Net loss meaning not just signify another accounting term but an important indicator of how well a business is performing and is called the ‘bottom line’ both practically, because it is mentioned at the bottom of the income statementIncome StatementThe income statement is one of the company's financial reports that summarizes all of the company's revenues and expenses over time in order to determine the company's profit or loss and measure its business activity over time based on user more, and also figuratively because of its significance in that no matter what odds a business might be facing but if it succeeds in generating profits, things are still looking up and vice versa.

Net Loss Consolidated Statement

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Source: Net Loss (

However, it must not be seen in isolation because several times, net losses are registered simply as a result of some temporary or transitory change in business operations or production facilities, which must not be considered a cause of concern for the future success of the business. When continual losses are occurring due to inefficient marketing, sub-quality products, or highly expensive production along with other issues, a business must take necessary actions to turn things around to survive and prosper.

It is also considered an example of the matching principleMatching PrincipleThe Matching Principle of Accounting provides accounting guidance, stating that all expenses should be recognized in the income statement of the period in which the revenue related to that expense is earned. This means that, regardless of when the actual transaction is made, the expenses that are entered into the debit side of the accounts should have a corresponding credit entry in the same more as revenues earned in a period and the expenses made against it are matched for that period irrespective of when those expenses might be paid. If some of the expenses incurred in a specific period are not paid within that period, they are known as accrued expenses.

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Net Loss Explained in Video


Causes and Impact

Although it is not unusual for a business to suffer losses, continuing losses would result in lowered accrued earnings. They could necessitate extreme measures to cut down on operational or other expensesOther ExpensesOther expenses comprise all the non-operating costs incurred for the supporting business operations. Such payments like rent, insurance and taxes have no direct connection with the mainstream business more. It could include reducing the manpower or shutting down some of the manufacturing units or downgrading part of the operations, none of which would do well in terms of creating a positive image for the corporation in their consumers or investors. Still, at times such drastic measures may help tide over a particularly tricky period before a business can generate profits again.

Along with these reasons, revenuesRevenuesRevenue is the amount of money that a business can earn in its normal course of business by selling its goods and services. In the case of the federal government, it refers to the total amount of income generated from taxes, which remains unfiltered from any more can also fall below expenses and cost of goods sold due to intense competition or ill-conceived pricing strategies apart from an unsuccessful approach to marketing the products or services offered. Successful marketing programs are often considered the best method for boosting sales and the image of a business, resulting in net income, which would also be used as accrued earnings for future quarters and support business operations in case net losses occur due to some unforeseen reason.

It must also be understood that losses might affect how a company files its taxes due to the way it can alter taxable income in a specific period. Due to regional laws for offsetting losses against income in another period, taxable income might be brought down, and businesses could receive tax refunds, which would help them keep their operations afloat. However, as already stressed, continued losses would eat into the cash reserves, and a business might risk shutting down its operations if it fails to turn things around and generate profits.

Also, have a look at Net Operating LossNet Operating LossThe term "net operating loss" refers to an operating loss that occurs when a company's expenses exceed its revenues in a given period and is reflected in the accounting books in the period when the company's allowable tax deductions exceed current taxable more.


Now we can calculate Net Loss as per below:

Formula of Net Loss


Let us consider the following net loss example to check how to calculate it:

For example, Company ABC might earn revenues worth $150,000 in a specific period, and COGS are $100,000 while expenses mount up to $60,000 against the revenues earned.

As the formula is applied, the total loss comes to:

Total Revenues ($150,000) – Total Expenses (COGS($100,000) + Expenses ($60,000))

$150,000 – ($100,000 + 60,000) = $150,000 – $160,000 = -$10,000

Thus, we are left with negative cash of $10,000 after deducting the COGS and expenses from the total revenues earned for that period. In other words, Company ABC registered a loss of $10,000 for the said period. They would need to rely on accrued earnings or additional resources to stay afloat and carry on with future operations. It happened due to excess expenses, which, along with COGS, exceeded the total earnings for the said period.

How To Avoid?

Total expenses can further be broken up in Cost of Goods SoldCost Of Goods SoldThe Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) is the cumulative total of direct costs incurred for the goods or services sold, including direct expenses like raw material, direct labour cost and other direct costs. However, it excludes all the indirect expenses incurred by the company. read more (COGS) and operating expenses of all kinds, which are necessary to keep a business in operation. COGS is the primary figure which must be covered in revenues. If, for some reason, including increased costs of production, manufacturing issues, expensive equipment, or other factors, revenues might be exceeded by COGS, thus resulting in losses.

Assuming revenues cover COGS, there can always be an unexpected rise in expenses due to several reasons and or an increase in spending on areas previously budgeted. All of these factors can add to total expenses, and should they exceed revenues, the net loss might result for a specific period. Thus, to control the figures for a net loss in the balance sheet, it is important to keep the COGS and expenses incurred controlled.

Net Loss Vs Gross Loss

The net loss must also not be confused with Gross Loss, which is the negative cash left after COGS is deducted from total revenues. If the result is positive, it would be termed Gross Profit, and if the effect is negative, it would be called Gross Loss for that period.

Formula of Gross Loss

Whereas while calculating Net Losses, one must deduct COGS as well as all other operational expensesOperational ExpensesOperating expense (OPEX) is the cost incurred in the normal course of business and does not include expenses directly related to product manufacturing or service delivery. Therefore, they are readily available in the income statement and help to determine the net more from revenues earned in a period. This is why a company might earn a gross profit for a period that is arrived at merely by deducting COGS from revenues but still end up with Losses when expenses are also taken away from these Gross Profits. If Gross Losses are registered, then Losses would always be higher than Gross Losses for the same reason for deducting expenses.

This article has been a guide to what is Net Loss. Here we explain its formula along with an example, vs gross loss, how to avoid it, its causes & impact. You may learn more about accounting basics from the following articles –

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