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What is Revenue?

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Revenue refers to the total amount of money generated from the sale of goods, provision of services, or other business activities by a company during a specific period. It represents the inflow of economic benefits to the business entity resulting from its primary operations.

In simple terms, revenue is the income earned by a company from its core business activities before deducting any expenses, taxes, or other costs. It is also referred to as sales, sales revenue, or turnover.

Revenue can come from various sources, including:

1. Sale of Goods: Revenue is generated when a company sells products or goods to customers. This includes both tangible goods, such as consumer products or equipment, and digital goods, such as software or digital content.

2. Provision of Services: Revenue is earned when a company provides services to clients or customers. This can include professional services, consulting, maintenance, subscriptions, or licensing fees.

3. Rental Income: Revenue can be generated through the rental or lease of property or assets, such as real estate properties, vehicles, or equipment.

4. Royalties and Licensing: Revenue can be earned through the licensing or granting of intellectual property rights, such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, or franchise fees.

5. Interest and Dividends: Revenue may also include interest income from loans or investments and dividends received from investments in other companies.

It’s important to note that revenue is recognized in the financial statements based on the revenue recognition principles, typically following the accrual basis of accounting. According to this principle, revenue is recognized when it is earned and realizable, meaning that goods or services have been delivered to customers, and payment is expected or received.

Revenue is a crucial metric for evaluating a company’s financial performance, growth, and profitability. It provides insights into a company’s ability to generate sales, attract customers, and create value through its products or services.

In South African accounting, revenue recognition and reporting are governed by the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as adopted by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).


1. International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), available at:

2. SAICA website – (South African Institute of Chartered Accountants)