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Finance Formulas / July 17, 2018 / Kenley Hopper

An individual starts a business and incurs startup costs of $50,000. During the first year of operation, the business earns a profit of $75,000. If the individual had stayed at his previous job, he would have made $30,000. In this example, the accounting profit is $25,000, or $75,000 - $50,000. However, because the individual had the potential to earn income at another location while retaining the startup costs of the business, an economic loss of $5,000, or $25,000 - $30,000, is incurred. Although an accounting profit occurred, the individual would have made a larger profit if he had stayed in his previous position.

In other words, the breakeven point is equal to the total fixed costs divided by the difference between the unit price and variable costs. Note that in this formula, fixed costs are stated as a total of all overhead for the firm, whereas Price and Variable Costs are stated as per unit costs—the price for each product unit sold.

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