What is EBITDA?

EBITDA is the earnings a business has before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization, and is an indicator of operational profitability of the business.


It is a sub total line in the income statement as shown below.

Income statement showing EBITDA
Sales 100,000
Cost of sales 45,000
Gross profit 55,000
Operating expenses 30,000
EBITDA 25,000
Depreciation 10,000
Interest 5,000
Earnings before tax 10,000
Tax 2,000
Net income 8,000


Why is EBITDA Useful?

As the line is drawn before interest, depreciation and tax, the EBITDA effectively represents the profit of the business before the effects of any capital investment (depreciation), before the effects of its method of financing activities (interest), and before the effect of any localised tax rates.

For this reason, EBITDA can be used as an indicator to compare businesses which have similar business models, but which have different financing structures, depreciation policies and tax systems.

EBITDA is also a useful indicator of cash flow from business operations and is the starting point for cash flow statements.

A multiple of EBITDA is often used to support business valuations particularly when the business has net losses. For example is a business has EBITDA of 100,000 and the multiple for the type of industry it operates in is say 5, then an indication of the value of the business would be 5 x 100,000 = 500,000.

What EBITDA is not

EBITDA is not the same as cash flow. It is part of cash flow in that it represents the revenue after expenses, but it does not include cash required to fund working capital requirements (inventory, accounts receivable, and accounts payable), and to pay for capital expenditure, and such items as debt repayments.

Last modified October 18th, 2019 by Michael Brown

About the Author

Chartered accountant Michael Brown is the founder and CEO of Double Entry Bookkeeping. He has worked as an accountant and consultant for more than 25 years and has built financial models for all types of industries. He has been the CFO or controller of both small and medium sized companies and has run small businesses of his own. He has been a manager and an auditor with Deloitte, a big 4 accountancy firm, and holds a degree from Loughborough University.

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