the difference between a profit center and an investment center is: What is the difference between a cost center a profit center and an investment center?

assets and projects

Committing more funds to businesses with a high-profit margin. It represents such machines or persons which undertake the same operations. The aim is to determine the cost of each operation regardless of the location within the unit.


Managers make decisions every day that affect the company’s operations. In an ideal situation, Max’s manager would be evaluated on her performance based on factors that she can control, such as cost. A cost center is a business unit that incurs expenses or costs but doesn’t generate any revenue. Remember that revenue is money from selling goods and services for the company. Examples of cost centers include accounting, human resource, and IT departments.

The difference between a profit center and an investment center is: a. An investment center…

the difference between a profit center and an investment center is centers and profit centers are both reasons a business becomes successful. A cost center is a subunit of a company that takes care of the costs of that unit. On the other hand, a profit center is a subunit of a company that is responsible for revenues, profits, and costs. A profit center is a business center that generates both revenue and costs.

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A difference between actual quantity of input used and standard quantity of input. If actual cost is less than standard cost is considered favorable. Based on several different amounts of sales or other activity measure.

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Managers in a profit center are involved in all decisions relating to revenues and costs, except for investments. Decisions regarding investments such as acquiring or disposing capital assets are taken by the top management in corporate headquarters. Having profits centers makes it convenient for the top management to compare results and to identify to what extent each profit center contributes to corporate profits. Like a profit center, an investment center incurs costs and earns revenue, but it also controls the amount and type of investments it makes in order to earn profits. Managers can decide which assets or items of value owned by the business that it needs to purchase to generate additional revenues and earn profits. The manager of an investment center is evaluated on his or her ability to control costs, generate revenue, and produce a rate of return, or the percentage gained or lost on investing in the additional assets.

Additionally, the retailer has an accounting department that tracks and records all revenues, gains, expenses, and losses. Since the accounting department doesn’t sell accounting services to outside parties as a revenue source, it is considered a cost center. They will be given a budget and must control costs to successfully serve their function within their given budget. The retailer also has a human resource department that recruits, hires, and trains all employees.

flexible budget

The manager of the accounting department would be evaluated on her ability to control costs incurred by her department. In business, there are many departments with their own specific purposes. Distinguish between cost centers, profit centers, and investment centers by learning their roles in cost incurrence and revenue generation. At the same time, the investment center manager has the power to determine capital investment requirements along with input mix, product mix, selling price, output quantities to boost productivity. The main difference between the two is that a cost center is only responsible for its costs, while a profit center is responsible for both its revenues and costs.

In this post, you will come to know the fundamental differences between cost centre and profit centre. Let’s consider another example of ABC Inc., MNC engaged primarily in the apparel and sports equipment business. RevenueRevenue is the amount of money that a business can earn in its normal course of business by selling its goods and services.

In contrast, the profitability of the centre acts as a measure of the performance of a profit centre. ProfitabilityProfitability refers to a company’s ability to generate revenue and maximize profit above its expenditure and operational costs. It is measured using specific ratios such as gross profit margin, EBITDA, and net profit margin. Rather, it can be said that without profit centers, cost centers would still be able to generate profit ; without the backing of cost centers, profit centers won’t exist. According to Management Guru Peter Drucker, cost centers are the only requirement of a business.

Technique or tools of Management Accounting

On the other hand, the profit center makes sure to generate revenues and profits directly. Cost centers vs. profit centers both are important for the business. If any organization thinks that the cost centers are not required to generate profits, they should think twice. Because without the support of cost centers, it would be impossible to run a business for a long period. Service cost centers help provide a support function to enable the other profit center to function well. For example, we can talk about the human resource department as a service cost center since the human resource department helps enable the sales division to make more profits for the business.

In a cost centre, it is pertinent to classify cost into fixed cost and variable cost. We divide the organization into various sub-units for the purpose of costing. That is the collection and utilization of cost data in an optimum manner. These sub-units are the smallest area of responsibility or segment of activity. It is different from profit centers that are not concerned about investment decisions. But on the other hand, the influence of profit centers is wide.


Similarly, a Supermarket chain like Big Bazaar or Walmart can identify their highly profitable stores by making a comparison of the profit made by each centre. SubsidiaryA subsidiary company is controlled by another company, better known as a parent or holding company. The control is exerted through ownership of more than 50% of the voting stock of the subsidiary. Subsidiaries are either set up or acquired by the controlling company. To find out quantity variance, we need to look at the formula of quantity variance.

As such, it is treated as a separate business with revenues accounted for on a standalone basis and balance sheet. Companies evaluate the performance of an investment center according to the revenues it brings in through investments in capital assets compared to the overall expenses. A cost centre can be a location, person, an item of equipment for which we determine cost. For effective control of costs, we divide the factory into various departments. Further, on the basis of the activities performed, these departments are sub-divided into cost centres.

A center is a unit of a business organization that generates revenue and incurs expenses and ultimately aims to make a profit. In other words, a profit center is a segment of an organization that can be evaluated based on its profitability. This could be a particular division, product line, or service offering that contributes to the overall revenue of the organization. The profit center manager is responsible for managing the revenue, expenses, and profits of the segment. In Max’s company, the accounting department provides services such as the monthly reporting and the annual budgets that it prepares to other departments within the company. It incurs costs to produce these deliverables, but it does not generate any revenue by providing them to other departments.


This means the manager of the profit center makes decisions over revenue from goods and services offered by the company as well as controlling costs. Profit center managers’ performance is often evaluated by comparing the actual profit to targeted or budgeted profit. There are often multiple profit centers in an organization, one for each department selling a group of goods. A profit center differs from a cost center because managers of the profit center have the power and authority to make decisions around revenue from goods and services.

The primary functions of the cost center are to control the company’s costs and reduce the unwanted costs the company may incur. A profit center is treated as a separate business, with revenues accounted for on a stand alone basis. The difference is that here, in addition to being responsible for costs, the head of a profit centre will also be responsible for revenues.

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An Investment Center is an organization’s business unit that has the potential to use capital to directly increase the company’s profitability. The terms “Profit Center” and “Cost Center” are some examples of parallelism that you can compare and contrast. The main evaluation criterion for an investment center is to assess how much revenue it generates as a proportion of its investment in capital assets. Companies can use one or a combination of the following financial metrics to evaluate the performance of an investment center. A profit center is a branch or division of a company that directly adds to the corporation’s bottom line profitability.

  • It represents such machines or persons which undertake the same operations.
  • An investment center also incurs costs and earns revenue, but the manager of an investment center also has control over the investments that it makes to earn profits for its department or division.
  • Using this rate of return as a measure of performance usually leads to managers investing in assets that generate the highest net operating income relative to the cost of the asset.

A company is having some profitable investment projects with positive NPV to invest in. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. A Profit Center is a part of a business that is expected to make an identifiable contribution to the organization’s profit. Return on Investment is a method of determining how much money is made compared to the amount of money invested. An operating expense is an expenditure that a business incurs as a result of performing its normal business operations. Full BioMichael Boyle is an experienced financial professional with more than 10 years working with financial planning, derivatives, equities, fixed income, project management, and analytics.

But, Profit Centres help in evaluating both segmental performance and managerial performance. Balance SheetsA balance sheet is one of the financial statements of a company that presents the shareholders’ equity, liabilities, and assets of the company at a specific point in time. It is based on the accounting equation that states that the sum of the total liabilities and the owner’s capital equals the total assets of the company. Cost Of Goods SoldThe Cost of Goods Sold is the cumulative total of direct costs incurred for the goods or services sold, including direct expenses like raw material, direct labour cost and other direct costs.