How To Calculate EBITDA And What Are Its Pros & Cons

Farwah Jafri | July 5 2023

What Is EBITDA Margin?  

Financial metrics play an important role in evaluating the health of a company. One such metric is the EBITDA margin, which measures a company’s operating profitability and efficiency. By focusing solely on a company’s core operations, the EBITDA margin excludes any financing, tax, or accounting decisions, providing a more accurate view of a company’s operational efficiency.   

Investors and analysts commonly use EBITDA margin to compare the financial performance of different companies within the same industry. A higher EBITDA margin generally indicates that a company generates more profits. A lower margin may suggest that a company needs help to control operating costs. However, it’s important to remember that EBITDA margin should not be the only metric to evaluate a company’s financial performance. It may not account for external factors such as industry trends or market competition changes. This blog post will look closely at the EBITDA margin, its benefits, and its limitations as a financial metric.  

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What are the alternatives to EBITDA margin?  

There are several alternative metrics that investors and analysts can use to evaluate a company’s financial health. Some of these alternatives include:  

1. Gross profit margin

This metric measures the percentage of revenue after deducting the cost of goods sold (COGS). It is calculated by dividing a company’s gross profit by its revenue. Gross profit margin provides insight into a company’s ability to generate revenue and control costs. 

2. Operating profit margin

This metric measures a company’s profitability by dividing its profit by revenue. Operating profit is calculated by subtracting operating expenses from gross profit. The operating profit margin reflects a company’s ability to generate profits from its core business operations.  

3. Net profit margin

This metric measures a company’s profitability by dividing its net income by revenue. Net income is calculated by subtracting all expenses, including taxes and interest, from revenue. Net profit margin reflects a company’s ability to generate profits after all expenses are accounted for.  

4. Return on equity (ROE)

This metric measures the return a company generates on the equity shareholders invest. It is calculated by dividing a company’s net income by shareholder equity. ROE reflects how efficiently a company uses its shareholder capital to generate profits.  

5. Return on assets (ROA)

This metric measures a company’s return on its total assets. It is calculated by dividing a company’s net income by its total assets. ROA reflects how efficiently a company is using its assets to generate profits.  

What are the advantages and disadvantages of EBITDA Margin?  

The EBITDA margin has some advantages and disadvantages as below:  

Advantages of EBITDA Margin

1. It allows for easy comparison between companies 

The EBITDA margin provides a standardized measure of profitability that can be used to compare companies across different industries and regions. This makes it easier for investors and analysts to evaluate companies with different capital structures, tax rates, and accounting methods.  

2. It focuses on a company’s operating performance

The EBITDA margin focuses on a company’s operating income, which excludes non-operating expenses such as interest, taxes, and one-time charges. This allows investors to evaluate a company’s ability to profit from its core business activities.     

3. It provides a measure of cash flow

EBITDA is often used as a proxy for cash flow because it excludes non-cash expenses such as depreciation and amortization. This makes it a useful metric for evaluating a company’s ability to generate cash to fund its operations, pay dividends, and service debt.  

Disadvantages of EBITDA Margin

1. It does not account for capital expenditures

EBITDA does not consider a company’s capital expenditures necessary for maintaining and expanding its operations. A company with a high EBITDA margin may still need better cash flow if it does not invest in its business.  

2. It can be manipulated

Because EBITDA is not a standardized accounting metric, it can be manipulated by companies to make their performance look better than it is. For example, a company could delay capital expenditures or use aggressive accounting methods to inflate its EBITDA margin.   

3. It does not consider changes in working capital

EBITDA does not account for changes in a company’s working capital, such as accounts receivable, accounts payable, and inventory. A company with a high EBITDA margin may still face cash flow problems if it cannot collect on its receivables or manage its inventory effectively.  

How to calculate EBITDA?  

Here’s the formula to calculate EBITDA:  

EBITDA = Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) + depreciation + amortization  

Let’s take an example to illustrate how to calculate EBITDA. Suppose a company has the following financial information for the year:   

– Revenue: $1,000,000  

– Cost of goods sold: $600,000  

– Operating expenses: $200,000  

– Depreciation: $50,000  

– Amortization: $20,000  

– Interest expense: $30,000  

– Income tax expense: $40,000  

To calculate EBITDA, we need first to calculate EBIT:  

EBIT = Revenue – Cost of goods sold – Operating expenses  

    = $1,000,000 – $600,000 – $200,000  

    = $200,000     

Next, we add depreciation and amortization to EBIT to calculate EBITDA: 

EBITDA = EBIT + Depreciation + Amortization  

      = $200,000 + $50,000 + $20,000  

      = $270,000  

Therefore, the company’s EBITDA for the year is $270,000. This metric can be useful for comparing the profitability of companies within the same industry, as it allows for a standardized comparison of operating performance by removing the effects of non-operating and non-cash expenses.   


In conclusion, EBITDA is a financial metric that has gained widespread popularity recently. It provides a snapshot of a company’s profitability before accounting for certain expenses such as interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. EBITDA has several advantages, including its simplicity, consistency, and usefulness in comparing companies with different capital structures or accounting methods. However, it also has some disadvantages, such as its inability to account for changes in working capital or differences in capital expenditure. As with any financial metric, it is important to understand its limitations and use it with other measures to gain a more comprehensive view of a company’s financial health.  

Also Read: How To Calculate Manufacturing Overhead Costs

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Author Bio

Farwah is the Product Owner of Monily. She has an MBA from Alliance Manchester Business School, UK. She is passionate about helping businesses overcome challenges that hamper their growth, which is why she is working at Monily to facilitate entrepreneurs to efficiently manage business finances and stay focused on growth.