Definition of Contribution Margin

Contribution margin is a core business concept and is often used in cost accounting to identify the amount of financial contribution a sold product provides to the company. Simply put, contribution margin is the sales price less the direct costs (sometimes referred to as variable costs).

Marginal Revenue in Business

Marginal Revenue

The scholarly definition and reality are two different perspectives.  The student is taught that marginal revenue equals the additional dollars generated for an additional single unit of sales.  It is literally taken right down to the micro measurement.  This is simple to understand but in small business, the scope of its meaning and impact are substantial to the bottom line.

Fixed Costs – Explanation and Examples

Fixed Costs

‘Fixed costs’ is a business term used mostly in cost accounting.  It has several meanings based on its usage.  The most common definition associated with fixed costs is expenses that must be paid regardless of production or sales volume.  The best example is rent for a company.  It doesn’t matter whether you produce or sell one widget or several thousand, the rent must still be paid.

So why is it important to understand fixed costs?  How is it used in cost accounting and in financial reporting?  Finally, what are examples of fixed costs? 

Alcohol Costs – Monitor Closely

Alcohol Costs

In the restaurant business, alcohol is the single best margin generator.   If you are going to have a profit, this is where the money is made.  As an owner, you need to understand the value of alcohol sales and the associated costs.  This aspect of operations not only generates high contribution margins, it covers its share of costs and ultimately adds to the bottom line. 

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