Top Line Definition
Top line is the revenue earned by the business by selling goods or services and is reported in the income statement for a defined period (monthly, quarter, semi-annual or yearly). Further, it is calculated after deducting the discounts given to the customer and also net off the sales reversed during the year.
For any entity or its stakeholders, the most critical item in the entire set of financial statementsFinancial StatementsFinancial statements are written reports prepared by a company's management to present the company's financial affairs over a given period (quarter, six monthly or yearly). These statements, which include the Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Cash Flows, and Shareholders Equity Statement, must be prepared in accordance with prescribed and standardized accounting standards to ensure uniformity in reporting at all levels. is the total sales. It is not the number of goods sold, but the “amount” of total revenue generated from the business of the entity. RevenueRevenueRevenue 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 deductions. means quantity multiplied by the price charged per unit.
We treat the increase in sales growth as growth in the top line. Other income earned is not linked to the primary business, and therefore, it is not included.
Please see below some of the top companies as examples and what forms their top line.
How to Analyze and Calculate Top Line?
Let’s have an example:
Income Statement: Amount in $ Million
We can calculate the top line as follows:
- The top line of the entity is only “Gross Revenue” and not the “total income”. Other income may include rebatesRebatesA rebate is a cashback to the customers against the purchase as a completing transaction incentive. Rebates are offered after the sale. Thus, it is a form of marketing strategy provided to the client to facilitate future transactions. earned from suppliers, interest income on fixed deposits, write-back of provisions, etc. Other income is
- Sales are increasing as the capacity utilisation of the plant capacity is increasing. Also, the selling pricing per unit is increasing consistently.
- The bottom lineBottom LineThe bottom line refers to the net earnings or profit a company generates from its business operations in a particular accounting period that appears at the end of the income statement. A company adopts strategies to reduce costs or raise income to improve its bottom line. (net profit) is increasing as reflected in the growth in net profit marginNet Profit MarginNet profit margin is the percentage of net income a company derives from its net sales. It indicates the organization's overall profitability after incurring its interest and tax expenses. over the years.
- Company’s major cost is dedicated to employee cost and marketing cost. Further, the cash profits are also increasing in line with an increase in the top line.
Why Top Line Matters?
- Top line drives the business. Lower sales mean the lower scale of business and higher sales mean a larger scale of business. We compare this scale to what competitors are achieving.
- Everything in the financial statements is linked to the top line. Several employees working in a company are based on the amount of business to be handled. Their paychecks are dependent again, dependent on the business.
- Companies keep the pricing of raw materialRaw MaterialRaw materials inventory is the cost of products in the inventory of the company which has not been used for finished products and work in progress inventory. Raw material inventory is part of inventory cost which is reported under current assets on the balance sheet. relatively low to ensure higher gross marginsGross MarginsGross margin is derived by deducing the cost of goods sold (COGS) from the net revenue or net sales (gross sale reduced by discounts, returns, and price adjustments). Gross margin formula (in absolute term) = Net sales – COGS. They also keep other direct overheads low to ensure sufficient gross profitsGross ProfitsGross Profit shows the earnings of the business entity from its core business activity i.e. the profit of the company that is arrived after deducting all the direct expenses like raw material cost, labor cost, etc. from the direct income generated from the sale of its goods and services..
- The indirect expensesIndirect ExpensesIndirect expenses are the general costs incurred for running business operations and management in any enterprise. In simple terms, when you want to buy grocery from a supermarket, the transportation cost to get you to the supermarket and back is the indirect expenses. are managed in the way to ensure sufficiency of operating profit marginsOperating Profit MarginsOperating Profit Margin is the profitability ratio which is used to determine the percentage of the profit which the company generates from its operations before deducting the taxes and the interest and is calculated by dividing the operating profit of the company by its net sales. (i.e. EBITDA margin). EBITDA is an important figure for an entity which means earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation.
- Increase in sales should reflect the increase in EBITDA. In case the EBITDA margin is steady and not increasing over the years, it means a company has reached the maturity stage of the business cycle. At this stage, innovations will only help the business to survive in the long term.
- Various ratios are linked to the top line, such as gross margin, net margin, efficiency ratiosEfficiency RatiosEfficiency ratios are a measure of how effectively a company manages its assets and liabilities and include formulas like asset turnover, inventory turnover, receivables turnover, and accounts payable turnover., EBITDA ratio, EBIT ratio, Cash ratio, etc. All such ratios reflect the growth of the entity over the years.
This article has been a guide to top line and its definition. Here we discuss examples, working and how to increase top line revenue along with its importance. You may learn more about financing from the following articles –