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Unformatted text preview: Whether you call it a direct cost or operating expenses, the
amount still reduces income. A few service businesses have either tiny direct costs or even no speciﬁc
costs of sales, which creates a Gross Margin of 100%. For example, a business consultant, attorney, or
tax accountant might easily have no speciﬁc cost of sales for an engagement, because the deliverable
is expertise. Even in these cases, however, there probably is a small cost of sales, such as photocopying
expenses or paper or burned CDs. Because computers have difﬁculty with dividing by zero, you might
be better off to estimate Gross Margin at 99% instead of 100%.
A good calculation of Gross Margin depends on properly dividing costs and expenses, and a good
calculation of Gross Margin will help you compare your business to others like it. Industry databases
including the ones included with Business Plan Pro® track gross margin by type of business. This is
always useful to provide at least a rough idea of what things generally cost, and how much things are
marked up. For example, retail sporting goods stores make a Gross Margin around 33%, which means
that what they buy for about $100 they sell for about $150.
Timing of costs is very important. A bookstore’s costs for a book it sells goes into accounting as COGS
when the book is sold, not when the bookstore buys it. For example, if a book purchased in October
sells in March, the COGS applies to March sales. Remember that you can’t calculate the correct Gross
Margin unless you correctly apply the direct costs for what you sold in a given period without regard
to timing of acquisition or payment.
Unit projections can help calculate both sales and costs. Expenses
Expenses start with personnel, shown as Payroll. Then you have rent, utilities, equipment, payroll
taxes, and probably some advertising, maybe commissions, public relations, and other expenses.
What we’re leading to is proﬁts. Proﬁts are what is left over after you start with sales, then subtract
cost of sales, expenses, and taxes. CHAPTER 15: THE BOTTOM LINE 15.3 An example...
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- Winter '09