Updated on January 4, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Revenue Meaning

Revenue refers to a firm’s total earnings from primary business operations such as sale of goods or services rendered. It is shown as a top-line item in the income statement and is often referred to as gross sales.

It is an unfiltered amount of money—the gross amount earned by an organization or a government without accountingAccountingAccounting is the process of processing and recording financial information on behalf of a business, and it serves as the foundation for all subsequent financial more for deductions. In other words, it is the inward flow of cash generated from business activities. Moreover, it reflects the financial standing of a business—gross salesGross SalesGross Sales, also called Top-Line Sales of a Company, refers to the total sales amount earned over a given period, excluding returns, allowances, rebates, & any other discount. read more represent a positive cash flow.

Key Takeaways

  • Revenue or gross sale of a firm refers to the cash inflow derived from its primary business operation—the sale of products or services rendered. The formula is as follows.
    Revenue formula = Average Unit Price × Number of Units Sold/ Number of Customers Served 
  • In addition, companies earn money from various secondary sources—non-operating income. This includes rents, interests, dividends, commissions, and royalty.
  • For the government, revenue refers to income tax, penalties, fines, grants, and sale of bonds.


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For eg:
Source: Revenue (

Revenue Explained 

Revenue is the gross amount of money that a company earns. It is the company’s income before deducting any cost or expenseExpenseAn expense is a cost incurred in completing any transaction by an organization, leading to either revenue generation creation of the asset, change in liability, or raising more. Net incomeNet IncomeNet income for individuals and businesses refers to the amount of money left after subtracting direct and indirect expenses, taxes, and other deductions from their gross income. The income statement typically mentions it as the last line item, reflecting the profits made by an more, on the other hand, is the final amount of money that a company earns.

Revenue is also referred to as gross sales. Gross sales indicate the efficiency of an entity. Therefore, an increase in a firm’s gross sales over a period results in higher profits—more earnings per shareEarnings Per ShareEarnings Per Share (EPS) is a key financial metric that investors use to assess a company's performance and profitability before investing. It is calculated by dividing total earnings or total net income by the total number of outstanding shares. The higher the earnings per share (EPS), the more profitable the company more (EPS). In addition, a strong revenue model makes it easier for a company to build a positive reputation in front of the stakeholders.


The sources of revenue vary from industry to industry. Unlike governments, businesses generate income from completely different sources. Let us see how.

#1 – For a Business Entity

Businesses generate income in the following two ways:

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#2 – For the Government

The government acquires funds through the following sources:

Types of Revenue

It is subdivided into two types.

Revenue Types

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  1. Operating Revenue: It is the income generated from core business activities—the sale of goods or services rendered.
  2. Non-Operating Revenue: It is the income generated from secondary sources—unrelated to the primary business activity. Rents, interests, dividends, and royalty come under non-operating incomeNon-operating IncomeNon-Operating Income, also called Peripheral Income, is the capital amount that a business earns from non-core revenue-generating activities. The examples include profits/losses from a capital asset sale or Foreign Exchange Transactions, Dividend Income, Lawsuits losses, & Asset Impairment losses, etc. read more.

In addition, based on the payment of a transaction, total earnings are categorized as follows:

  1. Accrued Revenue: When one party fulfills their part of the transaction—handing over the goods or providing services to the customer, but the other is yet to make the payment, it is termed as accrued incomeAccrued IncomeAccrued Income is that part of the income which is earned but hasn't been received yet. This income is shown in the balance sheet as accounts more.
  2. Deferred Revenue: Here, the customer pays the firm beforehand. Thus, the company is yet to deliver the goods or services (in exchange for the advance paymentAdvance PaymentAdvance payment is made by a buyer to the seller before the actual scheduled time of receiving the goods and services. It protects the seller from the risk of non-payment. Additionally, it helps sellers financially in the production of the goods or rendering of more).


The formula for the revenue of a company offering goods is as follows:

Revenue = Average Unit Price x Number of Units Sold

The formula for companies providing service is:

Revenue = Average Unit Price x Number of Customers Served

Calculation of Revenue

As we go through the above formulas, we can observe that in the case of a company engaged in rendering services, the number of units sold is substituted with the number of customers served.

The fundamental steps for calculating revenue are as follows:

  1. First, the company needs to calculate the number of units sold or the number of customers served during a certain period.
  2. Then, calculate the average unit priceUnit PriceUnit Price is a measurement used for indicating the price of particular goods or services to be exchanged with customers or consumers for money. It includes fixed costs, variable costs, overheads, direct labour, and a profit margin for the more.
  3. Finally, find the product of the average unit price and the number of units sold/number of customers served.
  4. If there are different segments/divisions of the company, then individual earnings from each segment are added together to derive gross sales.


Let us look at some examples to better understand the practical applications of revenue.

Example #1

Let us assume that A ltd. sells printers in three different types. For the year 2021, its sales were as follows:

  • 100,000 type 1 printers were sold for an average price of $1,000 each,
  • 80,000 type 2 printers were sold at an average price of $1,800 each and
  • 50,000 type 3 printers were sold at the average price of $3,000 each.

Calculate the 2021 revenue for the company.


Type Average Unit Price ($)Number of Units Sold Revenue = Average Unit Price  Number of Units Sold

The gross sale of A Ltd. is $394000000.

Example #2

B Communications Ltd. provides telephone network service to its clients. In 2021, it served 300000 consumers and charged $5 for each of them. Determine the total earnings of the company.


Revenue = Average Unit Price × Number of Customers Served

               = $5 X 300000

               = $1500000

Total earnings of B Communications Ltd. are $1500000.

Example #3

In 2021, Acer Inc. reported $718.06 million in revenue; it is the total income from different segments—PCs, gaming lines, monitors, desktops, and Chromebooks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Revenue?

Revenue is the culmination of a firm’s earnings from its core business activities—product sales and services rendered. The other sources of income are non-operating transactions—receipt of interest, rent, commission, and royalty fees.

Is revenue the same as sales?

Although revenue is often written as sales on the income statement, in general, both these terms have little difference. The former is a broader term that includes all the business income generated from various sources. Sales, however, are the proceeds that an organization specifically reaps from its core business activities—offering products or services to customers for money.

What is the relationship between cost and revenue?

The terms cost and gross sale are closely related since business entities determine their profit by deducting the cost of goods sold from revenue.

This article has been a guide to Revenue and its Meaning. Here we discuss the formula to calculate revenue along with examples, sources, and types. You can learn more about accounting from the following articles –

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