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What Is a Revenue Deficit?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

A revenue deficit is a term used when a project fails to generate the net amount projected to be received from that effort. There are a number of reasons why this type of deficit may occur, including sales figures falling under projections and unanticipated operational costs that lead to a lower amount of net revenue. Tracking revenue generation is important in identifying trends that could lead to a revenue deficit, and making changes so that the deficit is either avoided or kept at the lowest amount possible.

One of the easiest ways to understand how a revenue deficit comes about is to consider a company that has a projection of generating a gross revenue of $500,000 US dollars (USD) over the course of a calendar year. The projected expenses for the operation are set at $150,000 USD, meaning the business anticipates a net revenue of $350,000 USD. Instead, actual sales for the period come to $450,000 USD while the expenses amount to $200,000 USD. This means that instead of achieving the projected goal for net revenue, the business sustains a revenue deficit of $100,000 USD.

Lower sales than projected or higher operating costs can lead to a revenue deficit.
Lower sales than projected or higher operating costs can lead to a revenue deficit.

It is important to note that a revenue deficit does not necessarily mean that a company experiences a loss. Using the same example, the business did generate a profit, but not one that was as high as originally projected. This means that the occurrence of a revenue deficit is not necessarily a sign that a company is in financial trouble, although owners and officers will want to determine why the deficit occurred and take action to prevent a recurrence in the upcoming accounting period.

When a revenue deficit occurs, original financial projections should be reviewed to determine if they were more optimistic that the actual circumstances merited.
When a revenue deficit occurs, original financial projections should be reviewed to determine if they were more optimistic that the actual circumstances merited.

When a revenue deficit occurs, there are several issues to consider. One approach calls for reviewing the original projections to determine if perhaps they were more optimistic that the actual circumstances merited. If so, choosing to go with a more conservative view with upcoming projections may be in order. Assuming that events occurred during the year that reduced sales, such as the release of a new product by a competitor, that loss of market share must be considered when projecting returns for upcoming periods. Even events such as natural disasters that inhibited production or reduced demand for the goods and services offered may be the root cause of the revenue deficit.

Calculating the revenue deficit and identifying the underlying causes for that deficit can often allow company officers to make corrections in terms of production policies and procedures, reallocate resources to better advantage, and even lead to enhancing the focus of a sales and marketing plan. Even if the business closed out the period with some amount of net profit, taking the time to find out why the deficit occurred can go a long way to making changes that help to decrease costs and enhance net revenue in the future. Doing so makes it possible to minimize the future impact of whatever events took place to decrease revenue in the past and can possibly help company owners and officers prepare to recapture lost market share and become more competitive.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

Learn more...
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

Learn more...

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    • Lower sales than projected or higher operating costs can lead to a revenue deficit.
      By: Alexander Orlov
      Lower sales than projected or higher operating costs can lead to a revenue deficit.
    • When a revenue deficit occurs, original financial projections should be reviewed to determine if they were more optimistic that the actual circumstances merited.
      By: HaywireMedia
      When a revenue deficit occurs, original financial projections should be reviewed to determine if they were more optimistic that the actual circumstances merited.