What is Operating Leverage?


Operating leverage is a measure of how sensitive a company’s operating income is to changes in revenue. In other words, it is a measure of how much a company’s profits will change in response to changes in sales. Companies with high operating leverage have high fixed costs, which means that a large portion of their expenses are fixed, and do not change with changes in sales.

There are two types of costs that companies incur: fixed costs and variable costs. Fixed costs are expenses that do not change, regardless of the level of production or sales. Examples of fixed costs include rent, salaries, and insurance. Variable costs, on the other hand, are expenses that vary with the level of production or sales. Examples of variable costs include raw materials, labor, and shipping costs.

When a company has high fixed costs, it means that a larger portion of its expenses are fixed, and do not change with changes in sales. This means that if sales increase, the company’s profits will increase by a greater percentage than the increase in sales, since the fixed costs are spread out over a larger volume of sales. Similarly, if sales decrease, the company’s profits will decrease by a greater percentage than the decrease in sales, since the fixed costs are spread out over a smaller volume of sales.

Operating leverage can be measured using a formula that divides a company’s fixed costs by its total costs. The resulting number is a ratio that indicates the degree of operating leverage. For example, if a company’s fixed costs are $500,000 and its total costs are $1,000,000, its operating leverage ratio is 0.5. This means that for every dollar increase in sales, the company’s operating income will increase by 50 cents.

Operating leverage is important for businesses to understand because it can affect their profitability and risk. Companies with high operating leverage are more sensitive to changes in sales, and may be more vulnerable to economic downturns or changes in market conditions. On the other hand, companies with low operating leverage may have lower risk, but may also have lower potential for growth and profits.

Overall, operating leverage is an important concept for businesses to understand as they plan their operations and finances. By analyzing their fixed and variable costs, businesses can determine their degree of operating leverage and make informed decisions about their pricing, production, and sales strategies.

Caroline Grimm

Caroline Grimm is an accounting educator and a small business enthusiast. She holds Masters and Bachelor degrees in Business Administration. She is the author of 11 books and the creator of Accounting How To YouTube channel and blog. For more information visit: https://accountinghowto.com/about/

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