In economics, specifically cost accounting, the break-even point (BEP) is the point at which cost or expenses and revenue are equal: there is no net loss or gain, and one has "broken even". Therefore has not made a profit or a loss.


In the linear Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis model, [Where marginal costs and marginal revenues are constant, among other assumptions.] the break-even point (in terms of Unit Sales (X)) can be directly computed in terms of Total Revenue (TR) and Total Costs (TC) as::egin{align} ext{TR} &= ext{TC}\ ext{P} imes ext{X} &= ext{TFC} + ext{V} imes ext{X}\ ext{P} imes ext{X} - ext{V} imes ext{X} &= ext{TFC}\left( ext{P} - ext{V} ight) imes ext{X} &= ext{TFC}\ ext{X} &= frac{ ext{TFC{ ext{P} - ext{Vend{align}where:
* TFC is Total Fixed Costs,
* P is Unit Sale Price, and
* V is Unit Variable Cost.

The quantity left( ext{P} - ext{V} ight) is of interest in its own right, and is called the Unit Contribution Margin (C): it is the marginal profit per unit, or alternatively the portion of each sale that contributes to Fixed Costs. Thus the break-even point can be more simply computed as the point where Total Contribution = Total Fixed Cost::egin{align} ext{Total Contribution} &= ext{Total Fixed Costs}\ ext{Unit Contribution} imes ext{Number of Units} &= ext{Total Fixed Costs}\ ext{Number of Units} &= frac{ ext{Total Fixed Costs{ ext{Unit Contributionend{align}

In currency units (sales proceeds) to reach break-even, one can use the above calculation and multiply by Price, or equivalently use the Contribution Margin Ratio (Unit Contribution Margin over Price) to compute it as: ext{Break-even Point (in Sales)} = frac{ ext{Fixed Costs{ ext{C}/ ext{P.

R=CWhere R is revenue generatedC is cost incurred i.e. Fixed costs + Variable Costsor Q X P(Price per unit)=FC + Q X VC(Price per unit)Q X P - Q X VC=FC Q (P-VC)=FCor Q=FC/P-VC=Break Even Point


The break-even point is one of the simplest yet least used analytical tools in management. It helps to provide a dynamic view of the relationships between sales, costs and profits. A better understanding of break-even—for example, expressing break-even sales as a percentage of actual sales—can give managers a chance to understand when to expect to break even (by linking the percent to when in the week/month this percent of sales might occur).

The break-even point is a special case of Target Income Sales, where Target Income is 0 (breaking even).

There is a myth that Black Friday is the annual break-even point in American retail sales, but in fact retailers generally break-even (and indeed profit) nearly every quarter.lololo

Other uses of the term

The break even point is also the point on a chart indicating the time when something has broken even, and is a general term for not having gained or lost something in a process.

In nuclear fusion research, the term breakeven refers to a fusion energy gain factor equal to unity, this is also known as the Lawson criterion.

The notion can also be found in more general phenomena, such as percolation, and is rather similar to the critical threshold. In energy, the "breakeven" point is the point where usable energy gotten from a process exceeds the input energy.

In computer science, the term refers to a point in the life cycle of a programming language where the language can be used to code its own compiler or interpreter. This is also called self-hosting. This usually marks a transition from a "toy" language to a language usable in the real world.

In medicine, it is a postulated state when the advances of medicine permit every year an increase of one year or more of the life expectancy "of the living", therefore leading to medical immortality [cite book
last = Kurzweil, Grossman
first =
authorlink =
coauthors = Ray Kurzweil and Terry Grossman
title = Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live For Ever
publisher =
date =
location =
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] (barring accidental death).

See also

*Break even analysis
*Margin of safety


Further reading

* [ More about Break-even and calculating Breakeven using Excel Goal Seek]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • break even — {v. phr.}, {informal} (stress on even ) To end a series of gains and losses having the same amount you started with; have expenses equal to profits; have equal gain and loss. * /The storekeeper made many sales, but his expenses were so high that… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • break even — {v. phr.}, {informal} (stress on even ) To end a series of gains and losses having the same amount you started with; have expenses equal to profits; have equal gain and loss. * /The storekeeper made many sales, but his expenses were so high that… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • Break-even — Break|even auch: Break even 〈[brɛıki:vən] m. 4; Pl. selten; Wirtsch.; kurz für〉 Breakevenpoint * * * Break even [breɪk |i:vn̩ ], der; [s], s (Wirtschaftsjargon): Kurzf. von …   Universal-Lexikon

  • break even — /brekˈivən, ingl. ˈbreɪkˌiv(J)n/ [lett. «chiusura (break) alla pari (even)»] loc. sost. m. inv. (econ.) pareggio …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

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  • break-even — [brāk΄ē′vən] adj. designating that point, as in a commercial venture, at which income and expenses are equal …   English World dictionary

  • break even — verb 1. make neither profit nor loss (Freq. 1) • Ant: ↑profit, ↑lose • Verb Frames: Somebody s 2. attain a level at which there is neither gain nor loss, as in business, gambling, or a competitive sport (Freq. 1) …   Useful english dictionary

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