If you’re interested in measuring your company’s operating performance, EBITDA is an essential metric. EBITDA stands for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. This metric provides insight into the profitability of your business.
Breaking down the acronym
Before we talk about how to calculate this metric, let’s cover each of the pieces of this acronym:
- Earnings: Your earnings are the net profit generated from your company’s operations. You can find this value on the business’s income statement.
- Interest: This includes interest paid by the company on loans and other debts. It also relates to the interest the company has earned through investments.
- Taxes: Taxes refers to the business income taxes paid to the government.
- Depreciation: Depreciation refers to the decrease in the value of an asset over time. This is typically related to physical assets like buildings, machinery, technology, etc.
- Amortization: Amortization is the process of paying off the principal and interest on a loan at regular intervals over a period of time.
How to calculate EBITDA
Now that we’ve covered the acronym, we’ll review how to calculate EBITDA. First, you need to review your financial statements to identify your business’s earnings, interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Once you have these values, you need to add all of them together to calculate EBITDA.
It’s important to note that EBITDA is not a standardized measurement under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Due to this, companies may calculate it slightly differently depending on their reporting structure.
How it’s useful to your business
There are several reasons why this metric is important for your company:
Performance Evaluation: Using EBITDA, stakeholders can evaluate how well the core business operations are generating profit without the impact of financing variables or accounting adjustments.
Comparability: It can be difficult to compare net income between companies when different factors such as debt and tax structure come into play. EBITDA serves as a more standardized metric for comparison.
Investor Support: Investors may use EBITDA to assess a business’s ability to generate cash flow and gauge the probability that it will provide returns on investments.
Lending Risk Assessment: Lenders may use this metric to determine whether to offer financing to a company. Since EBITDA excludes interest payments, it provides a clearer picture of a business’s ability to repay debt.
Valuation: EBITDA is often used as a foundation to calculate valuation metrics such as enterprise value (EV) to EBITDA ratios. This, in turn, helps potential buyers assess a business’s value in relation to its operating profits.
Despite its usefulness, it’s important to note that this metric has limitations. It does not consider factors such as:
- Capital expenses
- Adjustments in working capital
- Taxes and interest payments impacts
Due to these restrictions, EBITDA should be used together with other financial metrics to gain a clear understanding of a business’s situation.