Decision Analysis: Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis, Break-even Analysis and Marginal Analysis

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Cost-volume-profit (CVP) analysis, break-even analysis, and marginal analysis are all essential methods used in accounting and financial planning. These strategies assist organisations in evaluating the link between sales volume, costs, and profit and may be used to make educated choices regarding pricing, production, and investment. CVP analysis, known as breakeven analysis, determines the breakeven point for various sales volumes and cost structures. 

In contrast, break-even analysis looks at the fixed cost level compared to the profit gained by each extra unit produced and sold. Marginal analysis studies the additional costs and benefits of a choice or action. Mastering these principles is essential for excelling in accounting and financial analysis. Pursuing a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) course marks your initial stride toward achieving CMA certification, which can unlock lucrative career prospects in financial management.

Cost-Volume-Profit (CVP) Analysis

Cost-volume-profit (CVP) analysis is a technique of cost accounting that looks at the influence that changing levels of costs and volume have on operating profit. It is a financial planning tool that executives employ while selecting short-term plans for their organisation. CVP analysis includes various assumptions, such that the sales price and fixed and variable costs per unit remain constant. Running a CVP analysis includes applying numerous equations for pricing, cost, and other factors, which it then puts out on an economic graph.

The cost-volume-profit analysis tries to establish the breakeven point for alternative sales volumes and cost structures, which may be valuable for managers making short-term business choices. CVP analysis is a complete study that analyses the link between sales volume, expenses, and profit to establish breakeven thresholds and profit objectives. It examines several elements including sales price, expenses, and sales mix. 

The cost-volume-profit chart, frequently abbreviated CVP chart, is a graphical depiction of the cost-volume-profit analysis. In other words, it’s a graph that depicts the connection between the cost of units produced and the volume of units generated using fixed expenses.

Break-even Analysis

Break-even analysis is a financial method used by organisations to find the point at which total cost and total income are equal, meaning there is no loss or gain for the firm. It is used to assess the margin of safety for a company based on the revenue that is generated and the expenditures related to the revenue. The research indicates how much sales it would take to pay for the expense of carrying out the operations of the company. Break-even analysis mainly deals with the contribution margin of a product, which is the profit that remains after the total variable expenses are deducted from the selling price of the product.

The formula for break-even analysis is Break-Even Quantity = Fixed Costs / (Sales Price per Unit – Variable Cost Per Unit). The break-even analysis is vital to business owners and managers in estimating how many units or revenues are needed to cover the fixed and variable expenditures of the business. There are two primary strategies to decrease the break-even point: lower expenses and boost pricing. A break-even analysis is a vital component of any business plan and is typically a prerequisite if you want to take on investors or borrow money to support your firm.

Marginal Analysis

Marginal analysis is a decision-making method used in microeconomics and business to analyse the additional benefits of a business activity compared to the higher expenses experienced by the same activity. It includes breaking down a decision into a series of 'yes or no' judgements and comparing the marginal benefit with the marginal cost of each extra unit of work. 

Marginal analysis helps organisations optimise their prospective earnings by analysing if the expenditures connected with the change in activity will result in a gain that is substantial enough to offset them. It is also important in decision-making when two possible investments exist, but only limited resources are accessible. Marginal analysis is a key idea in microeconomics that sits at the basis of why we make decisions.

Integrating CVP, Break-even, and Marginal Analyses

To merge CVP, break-even, and marginal analyses, one may utilise the information acquired from CVP analysis to compute the break-even point, which is the point where total revenue equals total costs, resulting in zero profit or loss. Break-even analysis is a subset of CVP analysis focusing on determining the point where total revenue equals total costs. 

Marginal analysis, on the other hand, investigates the change in total cost that emerges when the amount produced varies by one unit. By integrating these evaluations, one may identify the best production level, optimising profit while reducing expenditures.

A company can use CVP analysis to determine the optimal production level by following these steps:

  • Calculate the break-even point: The break-even point is when total revenue equals total costs, resulting in zero profit or loss. A corporation may compute the break-even threshold in units or dollars by applying CVP analysis. This estimate will assist the organisation in identifying the minimal number of units it needs to sell to pay all costs.
  • Determine the contribution margin: The difference between the selling price and variable costs per unit. By measuring the contribution margin, a corporation may calculate how much each unit contributes to paying fixed expenses and creating profit.
  • Analyse the sales mix: The sales mix is the proportion of different items or services a firm offers. By assessing the sales mix, a firm may decide which goods are more profitable and focus on marketing and manufacturing to optimise revenues.
  • Conduct marginal analysis: Marginal analysis studies the change in overall cost that emerges when the amount produced varies by one unit. Using marginal analysis, a corporation may find the best output that maximises profit while minimising expenditures.
  • Identify the ideal production level: By integrating the information from the break-even point, contribution margin, sales mix, and marginal analysis, a corporation may identify the best production level that maximises profit while reducing expenses.


Cost-volume-profit (CVP) analysis, break-even analysis, and marginal analysis are key tools for managers, financial analysts, and investors to make educated choices.  These assessments include various assumptions, such that the sales price and fixed and variable costs per unit are constant.

The Certified Management Accountant (CMA) course by Imarticus Learning prepares candidates for the advanced CMA test. The CMA certification is the worldwide recognised top certificate in management accounting given by the Institute for Management Accountants (IMA), USA. The CMA course is an advanced-level certificate ideal for accountants and financial professionals. 

The CMA certification includes accounting, business, finance, and analytics. It helps to acquire 12 fundamental abilities that are widely required to dominate the field of accounting and finance. 

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