Home Uncategorized the difference between a profit center and an investment center is: Cost Centers, Profit Centers & Investment Centers Video & Lesson Transcript

the difference between a profit center and an investment center is: Cost Centers, Profit Centers & Investment Centers Video & Lesson Transcript

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A cost center is a function within an organization that does not directly add to profit but still costs an organization money to operate. Unlike a profit center, an investment center might invest in activities and assets that are not necessarily related to the company’s operations. It could be investments or acquisitions of other companies enabling diversification of the company’s risk. A new trend is the proliferation of venture arms within established corporations to enable investments in the next wave of trends through acquiring stakes in startups. While the profit centre is responsible for both the costs and revenue.


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Revenues are important for a company because it is what keeps a business going. Since cost centers aren’t responsible for generating any revenue, the revenue from the profit and investment centers must cover the costs of the cost center. Divisional managers in investment centers may be highly motivated than managers in profit centers due to their authority in decision making.

Investment Center vs Profit Center

Since the responsibilities of the human resource department are only to hire, fire, and train employees within the company, they are a cost center. The department has no responsibility for generating a profit and only has the responsibility of serving its function within the budget. The retailer’s IT department installs, maintains, monitors, and protects all technological systems.

  • A profit centre is a place where both costs and revenues are identified.
  • Each operation is run as a profit center in its native nation, with divisional managers in charge of all choices regarding costs and revenues.
  • It is different from profit centers that are not concerned about investment decisions.
  • Each of these departments would be a profit center, as each one incurs costs and earns revenue and profit from selling its books to customers of the bookstore.

Whether to operate business units as profit centers or investment centers often depends on the attitude of the top management, nature of the business and industry practices. A profit center is a division or a branch of a company that is considered to be a standalone entity. A profit center is responsible for generating its own results where the managers generally have decision-making authority related to the product, pricing, and operating expenses.

Question: The difference between a profit center and an investment center

To accumulate cost, we treat each such activity as a cost centre. And to calculate the cost of production of the respective cost centre, all the costs related to that particular activity would be accumulated separately. Return On AssetsReturn on assets is the ratio between net income, representing the amount of financial and operational income a company has, and total average assets. The arithmetic average of total assets a company holds analyses how much returns a company is producing on the total investment made.

Each operation is run as a profit center in its native nation, with divisional managers in charge of all choices regarding costs and revenues. A Profit Center is a company’s branch or division that is seen as existing independently. The administrators of a profit center can typically make decisions on the product, pricing, and operating costs.

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Moreover, unlike a profit center, investment centers can utilize capital in order to purchase other assets. An investment center is a profit center that also handles revenue and cost-related choices in addition to investment-related ones. Business units known as “investment centers” are able to use capital to increase a company’s profitability. An investment center is different from a cost center, which does not directly contribute to the company’s profit and is evaluated according to the cost it incurs to run its operations. The performance of a profit center is evaluated based on profitability, whereas the performance of an investment center is evaluated based on the ROI of the investments made. The decision-making process and the time horizon are also different for both centers.


A skincare conglomerate owns a skin care manufacturing division, a skincare retail division, and a skincare service division. The skincare manufacturing division manufactures skincare products and sells these products to retailers. They are responsible for investing in manufacturing assets, generating revenue through product sales, and controlling costs. They are given a residual income target that they must meet.

As a result, the organization won’t develop any new products or innovate on their current products/services. Eric Sottile has a bacholors degree in accounting from the University of Kentucky and a bachelors degree in finance from the University of Kentucky. Eric works for a public accounting firm and has passed his CPA exams with an average score of 94. The financing arm of an automobile maker or department store is a common example of an investment center. It helps ascertain whether some of the business’s resources may potentially become too costly for the firm or not. Parent CompanyA holding company is a company that owns the majority voting shares of another company .

This company also generally controls the management of that company, as well as directs the subsidiary’s directions and policies. Calculate Windfall ProfitA windfall profit is a sudden income or profit of abundant and unexpected nature. This can happen due to winning a handsome lottery compensation or inheritance of wealth not expected or demand-supply problems where certain goods/services/commodities are in significant demand. Maximizing RevenuesRevenue maximization is the method of maximizing a company’s sales by employing methods such as advertising, sales promotion, demos and test samples, campaigns, references. There will be no branding or marketing department which means that the company will keep producing products, but no one will know about the products or the company.

What is a Cost Center?

When the actual quantity is more than the standard quantity, the variance would be unfavorable and vice-versa. Can be done in two ways – first through price variance and then through quantity variance. She has 20+ years of experience covering personal finance, wealth management, and business news.

  • Similarly, the accounting, finance, information technology, and human resources departments are all treated as cost centers.
  • An investment center is a profit center for which management is able to measure objectively the cost of assets used in the center’s operations.
  • For example, we can talk about the human resource department as a service cost center since the human resource department helps enable the sales division to make more profits for the business.
  • An investment center that cannot earn a return on invested funds in excess of the cost of those funds is deemed not economically profitable.

Let’s briefly recap what we’ve learned about the difference between a profit center and an investment center is centers, profit centers, and investment centers. Businesses consist of a number of different departments, and the company should evaluate the managers of each department based on the factors that they can control. An investment center also incurs costs and earns revenue, but the manager of an investment center also has control over the investments that it makes to earn profits for its department or division. For example, MN Books has a discount division and a division that sells textbooks to schools.


In a decentralized https://1investing.in/, responsibility and decision making is broken split across profit centers, cost centers, and investment centers. The profit center definition is a department that incurs costs and generates revenue from selling goods and services to customers. An example of a profit center is a toy department of a large retailer. This differs from cost centers which are only responsible for costs incurred by the department. An example of a cost center is the accounting department of a large retailer. An investment center differs from both a profit center and a cost center because the manager of the investment center has the authority and responsibility for making investment decisions in operating assets.

Marginal analysis is an examination of the additional benefits of an activity when compared with the additional costs of that activity. Companies use marginal analysis as to help them maximize their potential profits. Let’s have a look at the four main objectives of investment centers. What are those basis on which any plant or dept is decided to be a profit center fund center or cost center. While the cost centre is not autonomous, the profit centre is autonomous.

These centres act as auxiliary units to the production cost centre. For example Canteen, Maintenance shop, Toolroom, Accounts, Power House, etc. Think of a situation when the whole factory is treated as a single unit for both budgeting and cost control purposes. What a mess it could be to compare the standards with the actual figures. In this situation, the desired objective will not be achieved. Hence, the subdivision of the factory into a number of departments becomes essential.

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