What is the degree of operating leverage formula? Learn all basic concepts and formula calculations here

Degree of operating leverage formulaThe financial efficiency ratio of a company is used to measure the percentage of total cost taken out from the variable and fixed cost to calculate the revenue a company generates using this total percentage is referred to as operating leverage.

There are degrees of operating leverage that need to be calculated while measuring the percentage. For this, you may need degrees of leverage formula.

If the variable costs are low in proportion to fixed costs, then the company’s ratio for operating leverage will be higher so the company will generate a higher amount of profit from every potential incremental sale. On the other hand, when the percentage of variable costs is higher with lower fixed costs, then the ratio of operating leverage is lower and therefore the company makes a low profit for each of its incremental sales.

In simpler words, it all depends on the proportion or percentages of variable and fixed costs and a higher leverage ratio tends to generate a higher profit for the company. The explanation can relate to financial ratio percentages but can help to make managerial decisions.

What is the Operating Leverage Formula and how to calculate the degrees of operating leverage formula?

Company managers utilize the operating leverage to evaluate the effectiveness of the financial structure to identify the firm’s break-even point. Of course, an effective financial or pricing structure can provide you higher economic profits because, at even lower levels of prices, companies can easily manage to control the increased demands of the products constructively.

If the fixed costs are covered and the firm is making sufficient sales, then it is said to be a leading profit situation of a firm. Although to cover the cost of variables, the firm needs to promote its sales.

Additionally, if the company produces higher percentages of gross margin, its (DOL) degrees of leverage ratios will also be high, and thus its incremental revenues. This is because the companies do not increase their product cost percentages when their sales increase even though they are having a high DOL.

On the flip side, if the ratios for DOL are higher, then it incurs a higher forecasting risk because even the minor errors in the sale, which may eventually bring a chance of a massive miscalculation for the projection of cash flow. Therefore, it is important to make effective managerial decisions while a poor decision tends to affect a company’s operating level by an even lower sales revenue.

Here’s the formula to calculate the operating leverage,

The formula to calculate the operating leverage is to multiply the total quantity to the difference of the variable cost of each unit with the price of every unit and divided by the product of the difference of the variable cost of each unit and price minus Fixed operating costs

Operating Leverage = Quantity x (Price – Variable Cost per Unit)

                                         Quantity x (Price –  Variable Cost Per Unit) – Fixed Operating costs


DOL = [Quantity x (Price – Variable Cost Per unit)] / Quantity x (Price – Variable Cost per Unit) – Fixed Operating costs

Breaking the equation, you see that the DOL can be calculated by multiplying quantity with the difference of variable cost per unit with the per-unit price to fixed costs. If your operating income is prone to changes in sales and your financial structure, the company will face increased DOL ratios and of course vice versa.

In simpler terms, the equation can also be written in a much simpler way as;

Degree of operating leverage = Variable Costs


Finance managers should monitor the DOL to adjust the pricing structure of the firm to get higher sales volumes. Besides, a smaller change can even lead the company to have a dramatic decrease in profit.

Interpretation and Analysis

The effect of operating leverage on the firm’s EBIT (Earnings Before Interest and Taxes) can be reviewed by the degrees of operating leverage. Plus, if you wish to assess the variable costs and the fixed costs of the operation of your business, knowing the degree of operating leverage is important.

A higher value of the degree of operating leverage indicates that the firm has a higher proportion of its fixed percentage of fixed operating costs than that of variable operating costs. This particularly means that the company will use its fixed assets to support the business rather than the variable costs. It can also be taken as the company would make more profit while keeping the fixed costs intact.

Therefore, with few margins by keeping the costs constant, the company would bear a high DOL which ultimately will help to increase sales. Eventually, the company’s fixed assets such as plants, properties, equipment, and each tangible property will gain higher values without suffering a higher cost. In the long run, the profit margin of the company will expand along with its earnings at a much faster rate than the profits from its sales.

While a low DOL, suggests that a company would have low percentages of fixed operating costs as compared to variable operating costs. It means that while maintaining a lower gross margin, the company uses a lesser amount of its fixed assets to support its business.

To understand the core idea, it is important to comprehend that you have to control the fixed costs per unit can lead to a higher proportion of DOL as they make you independent from sales volume.

When the change in sales volume occurs, the variation in percentages of profit remains higher than the variation in sales and vice versa.

For instance, a change of 3% in a sale can even bring a larger change in the operating profit. That is why the managers of the companies would need to be mindful while making managerial decisions.

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