Difference Between Accounting and Economic Profit

When you hear a word called “profit”, the image that comes to your mind is monetary benefits. But according to economists, profit is way more than monetary benefits.

It is not just cost/expenses reduced from the revenues but there are multiple terms for the profits. Some of the types of profits are accounting profit and economic profits.

While most people think these terms are the same and relate these terms to the profits of organizations, they are missing the point that these two terms are entirely different from each other.

Accounting vs Economic Profit

The main difference between accounting and economic Profit is that accounting profit refers to monetary revenue minus monetary costs which includes any type of cost in the organization in the form of rents, salaries, material costs etc. Economic profit refers to the monetary revenue minus total cost. Total cost includes opportunity cost as well as implicit cost consists of salaries, rents etc.

Accounting vs Economic Profit

Accounting profit consists of only implicit costs whereas economic profit consists of both explicit and implicit costs.


Comparison Table Between Accounting and Economic Profit (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonAccounting ProfitEconomic Profit
DefinitionAccounting profit refers to the economic profits earned by the company at the end of the financial yearEconomic profits are the profit earned by the company after reducing both the explicit as well as implicit cost from the revenue earned by the organization.
ImportanceAccounting profits of the company signifies the profitability of the company.Economic profit signifies how efficiently the company is allocating its resources for earning revenue.
RelevanceAccounting profit is relevant for understanding the financial performance of the firmEconomic profits may not provide the correct picture of the financial performance of the firm as it also includes some other aspects like opportunity costs.
Numerical calculationAccounting profits = Revenue – Explicit costsEconomic profits = Revenue – (Explicit + Implicit costs)


What is Accounting Profit?

Accounting profit is the net income earned by the company after reducing both the explicit cost and other expenses from the net revenue earned by the company by selling the core product or service of the company.

Accounting profit is calculated in compliance with the GAAP accounting standards.

Explicit costs are the costs that can be measured easily. It includes rent, labor charges, administrative costs, bills, etc. Accounting profits are also referred to as book profits.

Accounting profit = Total revenue – Explicit costs

Let’s understand accounting profit with a simple example.

There is a firm named ABC which is into the business of selling t-shirts. If the annual turnover of the firm is Rs 1000000. Some of the expenses of the firm are the raw material cost of Rs 700000 and salaries of Rs 50000.

Then accounting profit of ABC is 1000000 – (700000+50000)

Accounting profit = Rs 250000

Some of the advantages of accounting profit are

  1. It is useful in taking some of the important business decisions like investments etc.
  2. Investors are interested in investing in those businesses which have high accounting profits.

It also shows the financial performance of the company in a financial year.

accounting profit 2

What is Economic Profit?

Economic profits are defined as the net profits earned by the firm after reducing both explicit and implicit costs like opportunity costs from the total revenue earned by the company.

Numerically, economic profits can be calculated using the below-mentioned formula.

Economic profit =Total revenue – (Explicit cost + Implicit cost)

Let’s try to understand economic profits with the help of an example.

Let’s say, there is a manufacturing firm named ABC who are facing losses from the last few years.

The manager of this company suggested its top management that the can survive in the market by ether reducing the cost of manufacturing or by the addition of new products to its product line.

Top management of the firm decided to reduce the cost of manufacturing. Then, in this case, the revenue which the firm could not earn as they have not launched new products is known as opportunity costs.

This opportunity cost is the cost that has to be reduced from the total earned revenue in order to calculate the economic profits of the firm.

Some of the advantages of economic profit are

  1. It helps in measuring the efficiency of the firm as it includes how efficiently the resource is allocated.
  2. Along with accounting profits, economic profits also help in measuring the success factor of companies.
economic profit 1

Main Differences Between Accounting and Economic Profit

Although both are methods of measuring the net income of the organizations operating in any industry there exist a lot of difference between accounting and economic profits when it comes to the type of cost and importance.

  1. Economic profit of the firm is usually less than accounting profit as there is opportunity cost which is not deducted from total revenue to calculate accounting profits.
  2. The actual profits of the firm are determined by the accounting profit whereas economic profit is termed an abnormal profit.
  3. Opportunity costs are considered while calculating economic cost whereas other costs like non-cash costs are considered in accounting profit.
Difference Between Accounting and Economic Profit



Both types of profits i.e. accounting profits and economic profits are very important for the growth of the company in a highly competitive industry.

Profits of the company determine how the company has performed in the past and how it will perform in the future.

Though accounting profit gives the real picture of the income of the company and it helps investors and shareholders regarding the investment decisions.

Economic profits are more internal to the company as it helps the top management in accessing the opportunity costs in taking various decisions. It also helps in allocating resources efficiently

It doesn’t matter in which industry your organization is performing; what matters is net profits earned by the organization.

But all in all both accounting profits and economic profits are great ways of ensuring both shareholders and investors that your company is performing well in the market.

Key Differences Between Accounting and Economic Profit (PDF Format)

Download the key differences in .PDF format, to read or print them later:

Difference Between Accounting and Economic Profit



  1. https://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1037&context=econ_pub
  2. https://www.bostonfed.org/-/media/Documents/neer/neer498c.pdf
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For measuring the performance of a company, which profit is most useful?

Piyush Yadav
Piyush Yadav
Reply to  Bishnu

Hi Bishnu,
Both accounting and economic profit are important in measuring the success of a company.