Similarly, if a company gives a customer a sales allowance or accepts a return of goods, the account Sales Returns and Allowances will be debited. Gross profit gives a more accurate picture than net sales because it also shows the profit margin a company gets for each product. Make sure to keep records of all sales and returns to determine the correct calculations because this directly affects the totals on your business’s income statement. Understanding how net sales works is especially important when calculating your business’s revenue and determining your overall net earnings, also known as the bottom line. Knowing how to calculate net sales is one of the first steps to creating an accurate income statement for your business. Companies will typically strive to maintain or beat industry averages.

A company’s gross sales is the value of all its sales before accounting for certain reductions, like damaged goods, coupons, and discounts, or returned items. Think of gross sales as one piece of a puzzle — It doesn’t give you an accurate picture of a company’s real revenue. Because the gross sales figure doesn’t account for costs like discounts and returned items, it doesn’t tell you the actual amount of money the company brought in in a given time period. So let’s say you buy a sweater for $100, but you use a 25% off coupon.

Assume that a company has sales invoices for the month amounting to $63,000. The sales invoices represent the goods shipped to customers and includes $1,000 of sales taxes pertaining to its retail customers. The company offers credit terms of 1/10, net 30 days and some customers paid within 10 days and were granted early payment discounts of $300. The company also granted allowances of $200 to customers who received damaged goods or had been given a price adjustment. For example, if your business sold a total of $50,000 worth of merchandise, but you haven’t accounted for returns, discounts, or allowances, then your gross sales would be $50,000.

Understanding Net Profit Margin

To account for this, you can calculate net sales by subtracting returns and allowances from gross profit. Returns, of course, means the value of any products that were returned by customers. Allowances, in this case, are allowances for discounts on products that are sold. This gives a company some wiggle room for special promotions and sales.

Business leaders also need to report net sales data to the company’s stockholders. Net sales is a metric that shows how much money your business has brought in after subtracting sales-related deductions. That’s the cost of materials, assembly, packaging, distribution, facilities, equipment, marketing, and all the other overhead that go into making the goods.

This provides insight to understand the amount to which the business has profited and can actually be calculated in a business’s overall finances. Because net sales depends on several components, it is important to record data accurately, typically in a ledger, so that net sales can be calculated accurately. If a company’s income statement only has a single line item for revenues that is labeled “sales,” it is usually what is roi how to calculate return on investment assumed that the figure refers to net sales. Net profit margin is one of the most important indicators of a company’s financial health. By tracking increases and decreases in its net profit margin, a company can assess whether current practices are working and forecast profits based on revenues. The net profit margin, or simply net margin, measures how much net income or profit is generated as a percentage of revenue.

This amount would be placed at the very top of the income statement. This simply means you sold $50,000 worth of products but it doesn’t necessarily mean your business has all that income from the sales because other deductions have not yet been considered. Net Sales is the amount that you are left with once you remove all the deductibles from your gross sales. It is the amount of revenue that a company puts on its income report statement. It is the primary sales figure that analysts review when you release your income statement.

For presentation purposes, they offset gross sales to arrive at net sales. Meanwhile, net sales gives a more accurate picture of how much money a company actually made, because it does factor in costs like discounts from coupons and other sales allowances. For that sweater you bought with the coupon, the company would record a net sale of $75. If you were to later go back to the store and return the sweater for a full refund, then the net sales value of that transaction becomes $0.

What are the Components of Net Sales?

The stockholders want to know about the company’s sales so they know if their investment is safe. If they see the company’s revenues plummeting, they may consider selling their stock to cut their losses. On the other hand, if they see an increase in sales, they may choose to hang onto the stock longer before selling. Shopify POS has all the tools to help you convert more store visits into sales and grow revenue. Make more relevant product recommendations, turn abandoned store sales into online sales, and track both store and staff performance from one easy-to-understand back office.

🤔 Understanding net sales

If they change during particular seasons, you can use that insight to plan your stock levels and promotions accordingly. One flavor wasn’t flying off the shelves, so its price was reduced for a few weeks, plus the brand trialed a volume discount for larger orders that turned out to be pretty popular. Gross profit is the total amount of money that’s left over after you subtract all of those expenses from your net sales. Discounts, sometimes known as markdowns, are price reductions made by the seller to incentivize sales. Sales allowances are price reductions given to customers for issues where a full refund isn’t necessary. This is the total amount of revenue your company has brought in from sales, before any deductions.


For companies using accrual accounting, they are booked when a transaction takes place. For companies using cash accounting they are booked when cash is received. Some companies may not have any costs that will require a net sales calculation but many companies do. Sales returns, allowances, and discounts are the three main costs that can affect net sales. All three costs generally must be expensed after a company books revenue.

Revenue and net sales both describe income for a company, but there are some important differences. For example, a company could have revenue that is not a result of its net sales. Revenue is a broad term that includes all of a company’s income, while net sales accounts only for the income a company generates through the sale of its goods or services. Like discounts, sales allowances are also deducted from a product’s original price; however, an allowance is deducted for a specific reason on a particular product.

For example, maybe the retail building is pretty big, and so the flower shop owner rents out some of the space to another business or individual. The company might also have some of its cash assets in investments, and receive revenue as a return on those investments. Both the rent and the investment returns would appear on the company’s income statement, even though they aren’t a part of the company’s sales. The net profit margin measures the profits of a business as a percentage of total revenue. Along with other metrics, the net margin is used to make data-based decisions about how effectively a company uses its revenue.

Ideally, investors want to see a track record of expanding margins, meaning that the net profit margin is rising over time. There were some sales returns—a few batches were a little off, so some online customers asked for refunds. Because net sales includes revenue forfeited from discounts, it’s a great way to understand the impact discounts are having. With this metric, you can begin to understand if offering markdowns on the listed sales price is causing you to lose too much revenue compared to the uplift in conversions it brings. This metric can be used to measure total sales growth over time, track how well you’re managing discounts and returns, and identify areas of your sales operation that need improvement.