Non-Operating Income: Know in Detail

6 mins read
by Angel One

Non-operating income is income earned by a business organisation from sources other than its primary source of revenue. Examples include profits/losses from the sale of a capital asset or foreign exchange transactions, dividend income, and profits or other income generated from the business’s investments.

In simple terms, non-operating income is the portion of an entity’s income statement generated by activities outside its core business operations. This type of non-core revenue stream can take various forms, including gains or losses owing to currency fluctuations, asset impairments or write-downs, and income from dividends on investments in associates.

Investment gains and losses, and so forth, such as:

Income from Non-Operating Businesses

Losses incurred as a result of asset impairment or write-down.

Dividends are received as a result of investments in associates.

Gains and losses on financial securities investments

Gains and losses result from forex transactions; thus, it is impacted by swings in foreign exchange rates.

Any profits or losses that are not a recurrent event

Any gains or losses that occur on a recurrent basis but are not operational

Formula for calculating Non-Operating Income

It is typically reported at the bottom of the income statement as “Net Non-Operating Income or Expense.” Typically, it comes following the “Operating Profit” line item. Additionally, it is referred to as incidental or incidental income.

It is calculable as follows:

Income from Non-Operating Activities

= Income from Dividends

– Losses incurred as a result of asset impairment

+/- Gains and losses on the sale of financial securities

+/- Gains and losses on foreign currency transactions

+/- Gains and losses resulting from one-time non recurring events

+/- Gains and losses incurred as a result of recurring but non-operational events

It is unlikely to have a stable formula because it depends more on the line item’s designation as an operational or non-operating activity.

Additionally, the calculation can be performed using –

Net Operating Income is calculated as Net Profit minus Operating Profit minus Net Interest Expense + Income Tax.

This is a back-calculation to determine the value of non-operating income and expenses from the entity’s income statement, as some corporations record such income and expenses separately.

Profitability of Non-Operating Activities vs Profitability of Operating Activities

When evaluating a company’s actual performance, it is critical to distinguish between revenue earned through day-to-day business activities and revenue created from other sources. That is why corporations must separate non-operating income from operating income.

Operating income is an accounting term that refers to the profit generated by a business’s operations after operating expenses such as labour, depreciation, and cost of goods sold is deducted (COGS). In a nutshell, it informs interested parties about the amount of income converted to profit through the company’s regular and continuous commercial operations.

The income statement shows operating income. Non-operating income should appear near the bottom of the income statement, behind the operating income line, to assist investors in differentiating the two and determining where the income comes from.

Non-Operating Income Example

Retail stores’ primary operations are purchasing and selling items, which necessitates a high level of cash on hand and liquid assets. Occasionally, a merchant will choose to invest its idle capital in putting it to work.

If a retailer invests $10,000 in the stock market and earns 5% in capital gains over one month, the $500 ($10,000 * 0.05) is considered non-operating income. The $500 in earnings would be discounted when analysing this retail business, as it cannot be depended on to generate continuous revenue over the long run.

Alternatively, if a technology business sells or spins off a division for $400 million in cash and stock, the proceeds are classified as non-operating income. If a technological business makes $1 billion in revenue per year, it’s easy to understand how adding $400 million will raise revenue by 40%.

A sudden increase in earnings makes the company appear to be an extremely desirable investment to an investor. Due to the inability to replicate or duplicate, the sale cannot be deemed operating income and should be excluded from performance analysis.

Particular Considerations

Occasionally, businesses attempt to disguise low operating profit by reporting substantial non-operating income. Before interest and taxes (EBIT), earnings include revenue from non-core company operations and are sometimes overstated by corporations to conceal lacklustre operating outcomes. Be suspicious of management teams who attempt to flag metrics that include overstated, discrete gains.

Non-operating income frequently causes a substantial increase in earnings from one period to the next. Determine where money was created and how much of it, if any, is related to the firm’s day-to-day operation and is likely to be repeated.

Operating income can assist in this situation, but not always. Regrettably, skilled accountants occasionally find ways to disguise non-operating transactions as operating income to inflate profitability on income statements artificially. Advantages

Non-operating income is a proxy for the proportion of revenue generated by non-operating activities. It enables the separation of peripheral revenue and expenses from revenue and expenses from the company’s core operations. It enables stakeholders to analyse the company’s pure operating performance and make comparisons with peers.

From the entity’s perspective, disclosing such income and expenses demonstrates that there is nothing to conceal. It generates a transparent image for the organisation, and all stakeholders, including employees and investors, feel more comfortable taking risks in support of the organisation’s growth ambitions.

Notification of non-operating expenses

Non-operating expenses represent non-core operations that can be slashed in great need. These line items demonstrate value in the income statement of the company.

Additionally, it assists the stakeholder in evaluating more accurate figures rather than forgetting them and developing plans based on false figures.


  •  It does not reflect the entity’s operating performance because it includes non-core business transactions.
  • It could be a misunderstanding caused by past experiences. Certain businesses may use it to exaggerate or deflate profits to pay fewer taxes or to entice investors to raise money through the market.
  • Businesses may conceal such transactions under different headings to influence their bottom lines.
  • Of the income statement of the organisation. Investors should use caution when examining line items resulting from non-core company transactions.


Net operating income and expense reporting can be counterproductive, as organisations with a higher net operating income are considered to have lower earnings quality.

It has no bearing on determining the entity’s operating prowess. Hence, it may only function as a line item that needs to be assessed in isolation because it is obtained from non-core operations that do not constitute the entity’s primary source of revenue.

Consider the following:

Non-operating income and expenses are one-time occurrences, such as a loss due to asset impairment. Certain non-operating items are recurrent but are nevertheless classified as non-operating because they do not constitute the entity’s fundamental business activity.


Both are prone to experiencing sharp ups and downs, whereas stable organisations’ operating performance is relatively stable. It is the last line item on the income statement, following the operating profit line item.