What is EBITDA?

What is EBITDA

What is EBITDA?

EBITDA refers to a company’s earnings (i.e profit) before deducting interest expenses, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation. It is an acronym that stands for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortisation.

As an indicator, it is used to calculate a company’s profit-making ability or its ability to generate income for its owners.


Why use EBITDA? 

The advantage of using EBITDA to evaluate a company’s performance is that it is capital structure neutral. It doesn’t include factor in non-cash expenses like depreciation, which may or may not affect a company’s ability to generate income.


How to Calculate EBITDA

EBITDA can be calculated using these formulas:


Formula #1: 


EBITDA = Operating Profit + Depreciation Expense + Amortisation 


Operating profit, also known as EBIT or Earnings Before Interest and Taxes, is the amount of profit that a company generates only from its operating activities.

  • Depreciation expense is the cost of the company’s tangible assets such as machine, building, and equipment allocated over the duration of its useful life.
  • Finally, amortisation expense is the cost of the company’s intangible assets over the duration of its useful life.

Let us take an example. Suppose this is an income statement from a service based business.


Company X
Revenue
30,000
Operating Expenses
12,000
EBIT (Operating Profit)
18,000
Depreciation
600
Amortisation Expense
450
EBITDA
19,050

 



Formula #2:


EBITDA = Net Profit + Interest + Taxes + Depreciation + Amortisation


In calculating EBITDA using this second formula, it is worth noting that the figures here depend on how a company interprets these metrics and how they define operational profit and operational income.

In some cases, a company may interpret this metric in a way that includes all expenses and income generated, including those from core operations and other sources. 

Thus, we begin calculating net profit or a company’s total earnings after expenses have been deducted, then add back Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortisation.

Let us take an example. Suppose this is an income statement from the same business above.


Company X
Revenue
30,000
Operating Expenses
12,000
EBIT (Operating Profit)
18,000
Net Profit 
20,000
Taxes
3,000
Interest
1,000
Depreciation
600
Amortisation Expense
450
EBITDA
25,050



EBITDA as a non-GAAP measure

GAAP stands for Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, representing a common set of standards followed when carrying out accounting-related calculations.

EBITDA is considered a non-GAAP measure of a company’s operating performance because companies have a higher level of discretion than desired when calculating their EBITDA.

This makes it possible for a company to manipulate figures to suit their own interests, as with some cases involving non-GAAP measures.

However, the EBITDA is not entirely irrelevant. If a company considers EBITDA’s limitations during its calculation and analysis, it would be possible to make use of this metric as one of several calculations available for the purpose. In order to understand this metric better, a company may begin with its basic calculation and study its underlying components during its analysis.


EBITDA vs Operating Income

These two metrics are slightly different from each other in a way that EBITDA takes into account a company’s profit, including interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation expenses. On the other hand, operating income shows a company’s profit after taking out its operating expenses like depreciation and amortisation.

Simply put, EBITDA measures the profit potential of a company, while Operating Income is often used to ascertain how much of a company’s revenue can be converted to profit.


EBITDA vs Net Income

EBITDA and Net Income's main difference is that EBITDA refers to a company’s earnings, taking out the interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation expenses. On the other hand, net income refers to a company’s earnings after taking into consideration all the expenses it has incurred.


This can be a helpful metric for comparing companies, but it's important to remember that it doesn't tell the whole story. 


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About the Author

Annette Ferguson 

Owner of Annette & Co. - Chartered Accountants & Certified Profit First Professionals. Helping online service-based entrepreneurs find clarity in their numbers, increase wealth and have more money in their pockets.

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