I need a single word or short phrase (2 or 3 words at most) that describes revenue minus expenses, that is the net financial gain or loss. It is unknown when applying this term whether the amount is a loss or gain, so I am looking for a term that intentionally leaves that unspecified. The word will be used as a label, so it would preferably be a very clear word without alternate meanings that can stand on its own. That somewhat excludes slang, but my situation doesn't necessarily require an especially formal word.

I've tried several routes to see if I could find something. I've been surprised that I haven't found results readily, to be honest. "Bottom line" seems close, but I feel that doesn't seem quite precise enough for a label. "Net" would be appropriate, but as a label, it may not be especially clear that it refers to financial profit/loss. (There are a number of non-financial quantities in the same context.)

  • 3
    How about Net$? Or whatever the local currency symbol is.
    – TimR
    Nov 10, 2014 at 22:53
  • 4
    profit can be negative, so that's a good option. Also you can use overall change.
    – Arsen Y.M.
    Nov 10, 2014 at 22:54
  • 1
    @ArsenY.M.: +1 for profit.overall change is no good, since it does not tell you what + means and what - means. (gain or loss would be OK too - gain is like profit, and loss just swaps the signs.)
    – Drew
    Nov 10, 2014 at 22:57
  • @ArsenY.M. is right. If you don't say whether it's profit or loss then it's not clear what the positive/negative sign means. I regularly work with cost spreadsheets where loss is positive - you can't just assume that + means profit and - means loss. For that reason, 'profit' is actually a better label than the proposed term - because a loss is defined as a negative profit.
    – A E
    Nov 10, 2014 at 22:57
  • @Drew, great minds, huh?
    – A E
    Nov 10, 2014 at 22:58

5 Answers 5


Net profit is a proper definition or net financial result:

  • Often referred to as the bottom line, net profit is calculated by subtracting a company's total expenses from total revenue, thus showing what the company has earned (or lost) in a given period of time (usually one year). also called net income or net earnings.

Source: (www.investorwords.com)

  • 'P/L' to its friends.
    – A E
    Nov 10, 2014 at 23:17

During 40 years in the profession I never discovered any better term than 'Profit or loss'.

Some people I knew, mostly Americans, would talk about a 'negative profit'. I could never understand why they would use two words where one would suffice - namely 'loss'.

You could use 'income' - 'gross income', 'net income'. If it is negative, I guess you still call it 'income'. I have never heard of 'outgo'!



The amount remaining after expenses are deducted


How about "net outcome"? :) Net Result sounds good too.

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    Are "net outcome" and "net result" used in financial circles? Mar 16, 2021 at 14:59

The word Stake does the job well. Just wanted to help people who are still visiting here for an answer.

  • 2
    Welcome to EL&U. Please note, we're not like other Q&A sites: an answer here is expected to be authoritative, detailed, and explain why it is correct. I recommend you edit your answer - for example, adding a published definition (linked to the source) and explain why this demonstrates the suitability of your word. For further guidance, see How to Answer and take the EL&U Tour :-) Dec 22, 2018 at 7:06
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    -1. I don't think stake is correct in this context. A stake is merely an interest or share in a business, which is quite different from what the overall return of the business is. Dec 22, 2018 at 7:13
  • @Chappo Agreed. Dec 24, 2018 at 10:58

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