January 12, 2023

Break-Even Analysis: Importance, Limitations & Calculations

Anyone who is savvy about investments or who keeps up with business headlines will remember media articles about new businesses or startups citing break-even. The promoters promise the general public and their investors that a strong action plan will help them reach break-even in three years. And some of us have also seen pals and coworkers in business say that when times are tough, things are down and they're not even breaking even.

Even while we all know the general concept of break-even, there are occasions when we overlook the specifics just when we need them. So let's investigate the precise definition of break-even, its business consequences, how to determine the break-even point, and the efficacy of break-even analysis as a management strategy tool.

What does the term "break-even point" mean?

When a business's sales value and its expenses are equal, it has reached break-even. A little more specifically, it denotes the output at which the total production income equals the whole production cost in accounting terms.

Similar to this, in the world of investments, break-even is defined as being reached when the market value of an asset equals its acquisition cost. It is crucial to realize that a business that achieves break-even does not make a profit but also does not lose money.

Calculating the break-even point

When you divide the total fixed cost of production by the price of one individual unit, less the variable cost per unit, you get the break-even point.

(You can work out the variable cost per unit by dividing the total variable cost by the units produced)

A simple Illustration to explain the definition-

1. Assumptions

The total fixed cost for a small pen manufacturing unit is Rs.10000 per month;

The sales price of a pen is Rs.5 per piece;

The variable cost of production is Rs. 2 per piece.

2. Break-even in units

FC divided by (Sales price per unit – VC per unit) or,

10000 / (5 – 2); or, 10000 / 3 = 3333.33 (3334)

The unit needs to sell 3334 pens in a month to achieve break-even.

3. Break-even in value terms

We consider the same example as above. Again, we divide the fixed cost by the contribution margin (Unit sales price – unit VC) / unit sales price.

This means,

5 -2 = 3;

3 / 5 =0.6 (contribution margin)

10000 / 0.6 = 16666.66 (16666)

The result implies the unit needs to sell a pen worth Rs.16666 to break even in the month.

How does break-even analysis work?

With the aid of a fiscal method called break-even analysis, you may determine how many products or how much in businesses must be sold for a business to break even (fixed cost primarily).

The relationship of both a business's fixed costs and variable costs, revenue, and contribution is examined in the break-even analysis.

Before we delve into the specifics of break-even analysis, let's quickly go through the components:

Fixed Cost (FC): 

A fixed cost is a cost that does not change regardless of how much a company produces. The fixed cost is separate from business operations and must be paid even in the absence of any productive activity.

Variable Cost (VC):

The variable cost is the expense that is closely applicable to the production unit and changes according to the volume of output.

Revenue: Revenue is the entire amount of money a business makes from the selling of goods and services.


A company's participation profit is determined as sales revenue minus variable costs.

Break-even Analysis: Relevance, Benefits, and Limitations

The break-even analysis offers a comparative review of the essential costs associated with your business or organization. More crucially, this type of study can support a business's profit-oriented strategic planning.

Advantages of break-even point

1) Break-even offers a true picture of a company's ability to turn a profit.

2) Offers vital information for enhancing a company's success. An organisation can choose its strategy by using a break-even analysis. The options include growing production quantity or unit sales price, while lowering fixed or variable costs.

In all circumstances, a plan that incorporates all of the aforementioned elements proves to be the most successful.

3) Using break-even analysis, management can correct its course in the desired direction. The management might make adjustments if some predictions included in the initial marketing plan prove to be incorrect.

4) Having a firm grasp of break-even enables management to adopt an effective pricing strategy that is competitive.

Disadvantages of break-even point

1. costs are continuous.

Break-even analysis has a key drawback in that it uses the same price premise for compute. Since scale economies will reduce the input cost as the company raises its production volume, the concept of constant costs is useless. As a result, all businesses gain from decreased purchase costs due to more volume.

Reducing expenses will lead to a smaller unit break-even amount from the initial study, presuming that the sale price stays the same.

2. A constant sales price

The analysis also makes the assumption that the unit sales price won't change. Any product's sale price is determined by the market, and to endure the market's vagaries, a company's management may need to implement an evolving pricing policy.

3. Single product

The break-even model is preferred for companies that only sell one product. The model's assumption that the proportional fraction of each product produced and sold will remain constant prevents it from operating effectively for computations involving several products.

4. Cost heads' complexity

Numerous expenditures are semi-variable. It is challenging for a multi-product corporation to allocate costs by-product; the break-even calculation becomes complicated and unreliable.

5. Is unaffected by Inventory

In the case of a business enterprise, the analysis assumes that the quantity produced equals the quantity sold.

However, an opening and closing inventory of the products must always be taken into account. For instance, the closing stock at the conclusion of the study period and the closing goods at the commencement of the analyzed period will have an effect on the actual situation.


A firm runs in a proactive way. Knowing full well that the greatest method to manage is with a flexible strategic approach, you are a successful business owner or corporate manager (the business). A break-even study is not always the best way to address a company's operational problems. Nevertheless, it is a useful tool that examines the cost and volume of a firm, two important factors.

You'll be able to apply the study in the most advantageous method for your firm thanks to your experience and business acumen.


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