Operating Income vs. EBITDA: Definitions, Formulas & Examples

Operating income and EBITDA are two essential metrics that analysts use to assess a company’s operational performance and profitability. Although they both offer insights into a company’s financial health, when it comes to comparing operating income vs. EBITDA, they have different calculations and interpretations. Investors, analysts, and managers should be able to understand the differences between these business metrics.

What is Operating Income? 

Operating income, which is also called operating profit or earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT), is the money a company makes from running its main business. It leaves out non-operating costs like taxes and interest, which gives a more accurate picture of how efficiently the business runs.

Operating Income Formula

The formula for operating income is:

Operating Income=Gross Revenue−Operating Expenses


Operating Income vs. EBITDA

How to Calculate Operating Income

To calculate operating income, you simply need to subtract operating expenses from gross revenue. Operating expenses typically include costs directly related to production, such as wages, rent, utilities, and raw materials.

Operating Income Examples

  1. A manufacturing company’s operating income is $500,000 for the fiscal year after deducting direct labor, materials, and other production costs from its gross revenue.
  2. A software company reports an operating income of $1.2 million for the quarter, showcasing its ability to generate profits from licensing fees and software development services while covering operational expenses.
  3. A retail chain’s operating income stands at $3.5 million for the year, indicating strong sales performance across its stores after accounting for costs such as rent, utilities, and employee wages.

How to Interpret Operating Income

Operating income is a good indicator of a company’s financial performance in its core business. Just subtract operating expenses from gross income and you’re good to go. If it’s a positive outcome, it indicates that the company’s primary focus is on generating profits. If it’s not looking good, it could indicate some issues with the way the business is being managed.

Checking the trend of operating income over time gives us insights into whether the company is improving or declining in its ability to generate profits from its core activities. It’s also a good idea to see how other companies are doing.

What is EBITDA? 

EBITDA stands for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization. It’s a financial metric that helps gauge a company’s operating performance by excluding certain expenses that may fluctuate due to financing and accounting choices.

When talking about operating profit vs EBITDA, EBITDA gives a better understanding of  company profitability by leaving out non-operating expenses such as interest and taxes, as well as non-cash expenses like depreciation and amortization.

EBITDA Formula

EBITDA is calculated by adding back interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization to net income. This metric gives you a good idea of how well a company is doing by taking out certain expenses that can make profitability analysis misleading.

The EBITDA formula is: 

EBITDA = Net Income + Interest + Taxes + Depreciation + Amortization 

what is EBITDA

How to Calculate EBITDA

  1. Start with the company’s net income, which can be found on the income statement.
  2. Add back interest expenses, which can also be found on the income statement.
  3. Add back taxes paid, which are typically listed in the income statement or can be calculated using the effective tax rate.
  4. Add back depreciation expenses, which can be found in the company’s financial statements, specifically in the notes to the financial statements or the cash flow statement.
  5. Finally, add back amortization expenses, which can also be found in the notes to the financial statements or the cash flow statement.

EBITDA Examples

  1. Manufacturing Company: A manufacturing company reports a net income of $500,000 for the year. It had interest expenses of $50,000, taxes of $100,000, depreciation of $150,000, and amortization of $50,000. To calculate EBITDA, add back these expenses to net income: $500,000 + $50,000 + $100,000 + $150,000 + $50,000 = $850,000. The EBITDA for the manufacturing company is $850,000.
  2. Tech Startup: A tech startup reports a net loss of $100,000 for the year. It had no interest expenses, taxes, or amortization, but it did have $50,000 in depreciation. Since EBITDA adds back these non-cash expenses and taxes, the EBITDA for this startup would be calculated as: -$100,000 + $50,000 = -$50,000. In this case, the negative EBITDA suggests the startup is not yet profitable from its core operations but may be investing heavily in growth.

How to Interpret EBITDA

Understanding EBITDA involves recognizing its significance as a metric that gauges a company’s fundamental operational performance, disregarding specific costs such as interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. A bigger EBITDA means that the main activities of the business are making more money, and it makes it easier to compare businesses in different fields.

But it doesn’t take into account things like capital expenditures, changes in working capital, and one-time expenses, which means it doesn’t fully consider long-term sustainability. So, while EBITDA is helpful, it’s important to consider other metrics and qualitative analysis to get a complete picture of a company’s financial situation and future potential.

When to Use Operating Income vs. EBITDA 

If you’re looking for a better understanding of a company’s profitability from its core operations, operating income is the way to go. It takes into account the subtracted operating expenses from the gross income, giving you a clearer picture. It’s handy for evaluating how well a company’s day-to-day business activities are going and its capacity to make profits, without factoring in non-operational elements such as interest and taxes.

In contrasting operating income vs. EBITDA, EBITDA is commonly used to compare how well companies in the same industry or sector are performing operationally. It takes out the effects of financing choices, taxes, and non-cash expenses such as depreciation and amortization. EBITDA is a handy way to compare how profitable different companies are, even if they have different ways of managing their money or keeping track of their finances.

Ultimately, deciding between operating income and EBITDA comes down to your analysis goals and how much detail you need to evaluate a company’s financial performance.

Choosing Between Operating Income vs. EBITDA

If you want to get a clear idea of how profitable a company’s core operations are, go for operating income. It takes into account the operating expenses and deducts them from the gross income. This is useful for getting a grasp on day-to-day business efficiency.

When you’re comparing operational performance across companies in the same industry, it’s a good idea to use EBITDA. This metric excludes financing decisions, taxes, and non-cash expenses like depreciation and amortization. EBITDA is a handy tool for evaluating how profitable a company’s operations are, especially when comparing companies that have different capital structures or accounting practices.

Take into account your analysis goals and the level of detail you want to decide which metric is most suitable for you: operating income vs. EBITDA.

How TGG Can Help 

TGG Accounting is here to help businesses with their financial management and business advisory needs. Our expertise lies in optimizing EBITDA and operating income, so you can make the most out of your business. By conducting a thorough analysis of finances and carefully planning strategies, TGG can pinpoint opportunities for enhancing both EBITDA and operating income.

TGG specializes in creating customized solutions that help clients maximize profitability and achieve sustainable growth. Whether it’s through cost management, revenue enhancement, or operational efficiency initiatives, TGG is dedicated to delivering results.

Frequently Asked Questions About Operating Income and EBITDA

No. Operating income and profit are different. Operating income represents the profits generated from the main business operations, while profit includes all income and expenses, including non-operating items.


EBIT is another term for “Earnings Before Interest and Taxes,” and is not the same thing as earnings. Both measures show how profitable a business is, but EBIT includes both operating income and non-operating income and expenses, but not taxes and interest costs.

EBITDA shows how profitable a company’s operations are by leaving out costs like interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. This gives a more accurate picture of the company’s main operations and its ability to make cash flow.

A 20% EBITDA margin is generally considered good, indicating strong operational profitability. However, what constitutes a “good” EBITDA margin can vary depending on industry standards and specific company circumstances.

EBITDA is not the same thing as gross profit. To figure out operational profitability, gross profit only takes the cost of goods sold away from revenue. EBITDA, on the other hand, takes running expenses away from revenue plus depreciation and amortization.

There are a few things that can affect a company’s EBITDA, like industry standards, the size of the company, and the business model. Typically, a higher EBITDA margin suggests better operational efficiency and profitability.

It depends on the specific analysis goals. EBITDA is commonly used to compare operational performance among companies in the same industry. It focuses solely on operational factors and disregards non-operational elements such as interest and taxes. On the other hand, operating income gives a clearer picture of how profitable the core business activities are.

An advantage of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) over net income is that it eliminates non-operating charges, allowing the focus to remain only on a company’s operational success. This makes it easier to see how profitable a company’s main operations are.

No. There is a difference between EBITDA and Net Operating Income (NOI). Even though both measures evaluate a business’s operational profitability, EBITDA is more often used across industries to evaluate overall performance, whereas NOI is more commonly used in the real estate industry to evaluate a property’s revenue potential.

One of the most frequent questions we’re asked is, “Where is EBITDA on an income statement?” People have trouble finding it because EBITDA is not normally shown on the income statement. Instead, it is calculated using the information from the income statement.