Service Revenue

Updated on March 26, 2024
Article byShrestha Ghosal
Edited byShrestha Ghosal
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is Service Revenue?

Service revenue is the income an organization generates through the provision of various services to its clients and customers. This revenue is derived from intangible offerings, including consulting, professional advice, or specialized expertise. This type of revenue stream is common in industries like consulting, information technology services, healthcare, and professional services.

Service Revenue

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The value in this revenue type lies in the knowledge, skills, and expertise that a company brings to meet the specific needs of its customers. Companies charge fees for the services they provide by creating a correlation between the quality and value of the services provided and the revenue earned.

Key Takeaways

  • Service revenue is the income earned by an organization from its delivery of several services to its users and consumers. 
  • This revenue originates from intellectual services such as consulting services, expert counsel, or specialized skills. 
  • For service-oriented businesses, this earning also acts as an indicator of the market’s recognition of their competence and the perceived worth of their services. 
  • Companies regularly monitor and evaluate this income as a means to determine the success of their service delivery, consumer satisfaction levels, and the overall progress of the company.

Service Revenue Explained

Service revenue is a financial metric that constitutes the income generated by a business through offering intangible services to its customers. Thus, the basis of this revenue lies in the value-added through intellectual capabilities, problem-solving proficiency, and specialized services to meet the customer’s specific needs. Companies offering services trade their expertise for financial compensation.

Businesses generally charge fees, hourly rates, or project-based pricing for the services they provide. They establish a link between the quality of the services offered and the revenue generated from them. Therefore, for service-oriented businesses, it serves as a measure of the market’s acknowledgment of their expertise and the perceived value of their offerings. Companies actively track and analyze this revenue to assess the effectiveness of their service delivery, customer satisfaction levels, and overall business performance.

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How To Calculate?

The steps to calculate customer service revenue are:

  • The business must determine the project-based rate that has been established for the specific project. This is the amount agreed upon with the client for the services to be provided.
  • If there are multiple projects, they must then multiply the project fee by the number of projects completed or in progress. The service revenue can be calculated by multiplying project fees and the number of projects.
  • The business must also consider any adjustments that may apply, like discounts, refunds, or additional charges. Then, they must adjust the total project-based revenue accordingly.


Let us study the following examples to understand this revenue:

Example #1

Suppose Writer’s Dream is a company that offers content writing services to its clients. The company charges the clients for each project. It completed three projects for a client during a specific period with project fees of $5,000 each.

Therefore, by using the service revenue formula, the total revenue for the projects was calculated as follows:

Service Revenue = $5,000 x 3 =$15,000

Therefore, the company’s total revenue generated during the specified period, based on the three project fees, would be $15,000. This is one example of service revenue.

Example #2

Apple reported its fourth consecutive revenue drop for the September quarter, with $89.5 billion in revenue. The company witnessed a decline of one percent from the previous quarter. Although the total quarterly revenue exceeded Wall Street estimates of $89.28 billion, the dip was not unexpected. Additionally, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the company generated quarterly revenue records of $22.3 billion in services revenue.

Apple’s shares have increased by roughly 32.5% this year despite the anticipated decline in sales. With the holidays approaching, the business is approaching its busiest quarter, which is when its earnings report is announced. This is another example of service revenue.

Journal Entry

Recording customer service revenue in accounting involves creating a journal entry that reflects the income generated from providing services.

For instance, if a consulting firm completes a project and invoices the client $1,000 for services rendered:

  • The firm will increase the accounts receivable if the client pays later or cash if payment is immediate. Thus, the entry will be “Debit: Accounts Receivable or Cash $1,000.”
  • It will also increase the revenue account with a credit entry to recognize the income earned. The entry will be “Credit: Service Revenue $1,000.”

Thus, this journal entry accurately records the increase in accounts receivable or cash along with the recognition of the revenue. Moreover, it offers a clear representation of the financial impact of the consulting service the firm provides.

How To Increase?

Some ways to increase this revenue include the following:

  • Diversifying and expanding the range of services offered to meet a broader set of client needs can help. Additionally, identifying complementary services that align with the business expertise may be valuable.
  • Businesses may invest in effective marketing strategies to increase visibility and attract new clients. Moreover, utilizing digital marketing, social media, content marketing, and other channels may help showcase the benefits of the services.
  • Focusing on retaining existing clients by providing exceptional service and building solid relationships is essential. Furthermore, satisfied clients are more likely to return for additional services and may refer others to the business.
  • Companies must evaluate and adjust their pricing strategy based on market conditions, competition, and the value of the services they offer. They may also consider tiered pricing, package deals, or subscription models to appeal to different client segments.
  • Organizations must also stay updated on industry trends, acquire new skills, and invest in professional development. These practices can enhance the quality and breadth of their services and make the business more attractive to potential clients.

Service Revenue vs Sales Revenue

The differences between the two are as follows:

Service Revenue

  • This revenue is the income generated from providing intangible services to clients. The services involve expertise, consultation, or specialized skills instead of the sale of physical products.
  • The revenue is commonly associated with businesses that offer professional services, including consulting firms, law practices, healthcare providers, and information technology services. Such businesses are based on the knowledge and skills they provide.
  • The billing structure for this revenue is based on factors like hourly rates, project fees, or subscription models. Clients are charged for the time, effort, or specific outcomes related to the services offered.

Sales Revenue

  • Sales revenue is the income generated from the sale of tangible goods or products. It is associated with businesses involved in manufacturing, retail, and wholesale trade, where the transaction involves the exchange of physical items.
  • This revenue is prevalent in businesses that produce, distribute, and sell physical products. It includes industries like retail stores, manufacturing companies, and wholesalers dealing with consumer goods.
  • The billing structure for sales revenue is straightforward and involves the direct sale of products at a set price. It can include one-time sales or recurring sales for consumable goods.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is unearned service revenue?

Unearned revenue is the advance payments a business receives for services that have not yet been provided or earned. It represents a liability on the company’s balance sheet as the business is obligated to deliver the services in the future. Until the services are provided, the unearned revenue remains a liability. It is gradually recognized as revenue over time when the services are delivered. This practice ensures that the company accurately reflects its financial obligations.

2. Is service revenue an equity?

No, this revenue is not considered equity. It is part of a company’s income and is classified as a component of equity on the balance sheet. The revenue contributes to the increase in equity as it reflects the income earned by the business through the provision of services.

3. Is service revenue a permanent account?

This revenue is not a permanent account. Instead, it is a temporary account in accounting. Temporary accounts are used to track financial activities over a specific period. At the end of the accounting period, these temporary accounts are closed to the equity section of the balance sheet.

This article has been a guide to what is Service Revenue. We explain its journal entry, how to calculate and increase it, examples, & comparison with sales revenue. You may also find some useful articles here –

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