Contribution Analysis

Assess the contribution of a particular product or business unit

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What is Contribution Analysis?

Contribution analysis is used in estimating how direct and variable costs of a product affect the net income of a company. It addresses the issue of identifying simple or overhead costs related to several production projects.

Contribution analysis aids a company in evaluating how individual business lines or products are performing by comparing their contribution margin dollars and percentage. Direct and variable costs incurred during the manufacturing process are subtracted from revenue to arrive at the contribution margin. This is, therefore, a very crucial procedure or tool to manage the growth of a business.

Contribution Analysis Example

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Contribution Margin Formula

The formula for contribution margin dollars-per-unit is:

(Total revenue – variable costs) /  # of units sold

For example, a company sells 10,000 shoes for total revenue of $500,000, with a cost of goods sold of $250,000 and a shipping and labor expense of $200,000.

The contribution margin per shoe is ($500,000 – $250,000 – $200,000) / 10,000

Contribution = $5.00 per shoe

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Contribution Analysis Template

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The Pros of Contribution Analysis

Contribution analysis helps compare how individual products are profitable to the company and is easy to use.

The significance of contribution analysis is that it indicates the profitability of each product and helps you understand the various components and specific external and internal factors that influence a company’s income, and it utilizes existing information.

The Cons of Contribution Analysis

Some disadvantages of contribution analysis are that its assumptions are unrealistic:

  • Sales prices remain constant; no discounts are given
  • Costs of production are linear
  • What is produced is what is sold (no inventory)

Learn More

Thank you for reading CFI’s guide to Contribution Analysis. To learn more, see the CFI resources listed below and check out our Financial Analysis Fundamentals course.

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