Cost-volume profit analysis

Updated: Aug 20, 2021

Cost-volume profit analysis

Key calculations when using CVP analysis are the contribution margin and the contribution margin ratio. The contribution margin represents the amount of income or profit the company made before deducting its fixed costs. Said another way, it is the amount of sales dollars available to cover (or contribute to) fixed costs. When calculated as a ratio, it is the percent of sales dollars available to cover fixed costs. Once fixed costs are covered, the next dollar of sales results in the company having income.

The contribution margin is sales revenue minus all variable costs. It may be calculated using dollars or on a per unit basis. If The Three M’s, Inc., has sales of $750,000 and total variable costs of $450,000, its contribution margin is $300,000. Assuming the company sold 250,000 units during the year, the per unit sales price is $3 and the total variable cost per unit is $1.80. The contribution margin per unit is $1.20. The contribution margin ratio is 40%. It can be calculated using either the contribution margin in dollars or the contribution margin per unit. To calculate the contribution margin ratio, the contribution margin is divided by the sales or revenues amount.


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James Knight
Editor of Education
James is the Editor of Education for Invezz, where he covers topics from across the financial world, from the stock market, to cryptocurrency, to macroeconomic markets.... read more.