EBITDA vs EBIT: The Critical Differences You Must Know

Team Acquira
-  October 4, 2023
What You’ll Learn
  • The basic definitions of EBITDA and EBIT and how they differ.
  • How EBITDA and EBIT can impact acquisition decisions for entrepreneurs.
  • The significance and use-cases of both metrics.
  • The limitations and caveats associated with relying solely on either metric.
  • Practical ways to calculate EBITDA and EBIT, using hypothetical examples.

If you’re thinking about becoming an acquisition entrepreneur, understanding metrics like EBITDA and EBIT is crucial. 

These metrics provide valuable insight into a company’s operational efficiency and overall financial health, thus informing decisions on expansions, loans, and even a possible sale of the business. 

This understanding can be especially vital for small businesses, where financial resources are often limited, and strategic planning is crucial for sustainability.

Let’s take a look at EBITDA vs EBIT.

What is EBITDA?

difference between ebit and ebitda

EBITDA stands for Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization. It serves as an indicator of a company’s operational profitability

Let’s break it down:

  • Earnings: Sales minus cost of goods sold; minus sales, general and administrative expenses.
  • Interest: Interest payments are related to loans or other financing activities.
  • Taxes: This includes all taxes that a company needs to pay.
  • Depreciation: Over time, tangible assets like machinery lose value, and that decrease is accounted for here.
  • Amortization: Similar to depreciation but for intangible assets like patents.

The primary benefit of EBITDA is that it gives you a clear picture of operational performance by excluding expenses like interest and taxes, which might vary due to financial structuring or location and not relate directly to the business’s core operations. 

Read more: Discover Your Monthly Earnings as a New Business Owner

EBITDA is commonly used by investors and analysts for valuations and comparing efficiency among different companies in the same industry.

What is EBIT?

EBIT stands for Earnings Before Interest and Taxes. Unlike EBITDA, EBIT does not exclude depreciation and amortization expenses, making it a more conservative metric when assessing profitability. 

It represents the company’s earnings solely from operational performance, not accounting for the cost of capital or tax environments.

Key Differences Between EBIT and EBITDA

While both metrics serve to evaluate a company’s profitability, they are not identical. 

The main difference is that EBIT includes the depreciation and amortization expenses, offering a more conservative perspective on profitability. 

In contrast, EBITDA excludes these two, often providing a more lenient view of profitability. The choice between using EBITDA or EBIT depends on what you’re looking to understand:

  • For Long-term Investments: EBITDA might be more appropriate as it factors in depreciation and amortization, which could be significant over the long term.
  • For Operational Efficiency: EBIT can be more suitable since it focuses solely on the results of business operations.


Let’s look at a hypothetical HVAC business with a $500,000 EBITDA.

EBITDA Example

In our scenario, this HVAC business has a net income of $300,000. It also pays interest of $40,000, has a tax liability of $70,000, and incurs depreciation and amortization costs amounting to $50,000 and $40,000, respectively.

Formula: EBITDA = Net Income + Interest + Taxes + Depreciation + Amortization

To calculate EBITDA, you would add all these together: $300,000 (Net Income) + $40,000 (Interest) + $70,000 (Taxes) + $50,000 (Depreciation) + $40,000 (Amortization) = $500,000.

EBIT Example

EBIT focuses more narrowly on operational profitability by only accounting for interest and taxes.

Formula: EBIT = Net Income + Interest + Taxes

To calculate EBIT for the same HVAC business, you would use the net income of $300,000 and add back the interest and taxes: $300,000 (Net Income) + $40,000 (Interest) + $70,000 (Taxes) = $410,000.

Both these metrics offer valuable perspectives. 

Significance and Use Cases

what does ebit stand for


EBITDA is particularly useful when comparing operational efficiency between companies in sectors where depreciation and amortization constitute significant expenses. 

In the HVAC sector, large capital expenditures like service vehicles and specialized equipment can result in substantial depreciation costs. 

Using EBITDA allows you to focus narrowly on revenue, COGS, and SG&A, without depreciation and amortization clouding the issue.


EBIT, on the other hand, is a robust metric for understanding the operational profitability of a business. 

It’s highly valued by industries where operational efficiency is more indicative of company health, like service industries where depreciation is less of a factor.



It’s essential to know that EBITDA ignores vital financial responsibilities like interest and taxes. It also doesn’t consider variations in capital structure, making it a less comprehensive metric.


Although EBIT provides a snapshot of operational efficiency, it ignores the long-term cost associated with depreciation and amortization. 

Different companies might also have differing tax rates, which both EBIT and EBITDAdo not account for.

Both metrics should be used in conjunction with other financial data from a specific industry and company to get a complete picture. 

Relying solely on either can lead to skewed financial decisions.

Financial Decision-Making

Investors and analysts use EBITDA and EBIT to make various financial judgments. EBITDA is often favored for mergers and acquisitions as it offers an uncomplicated view of a company’s operational performance. 

EBIT, on the other hand, is widely used by analysts and investors who are more interested in the day-to-day operational profitability of a business.

In the HVAC industry, for instance, an acquisition entrepreneur may look at EBITDA when considering an acquisition, focusing on operational cash flows. 

A small business loan provider might focus more on EBIT, interested in how efficiently the business is operating.

It’s crucial to note that some investors might prefer one metric over the other depending on the situation.

A long-term investor might value EBIT more because it includes depreciation, a real expense that will need to be paid for eventually, such as by replacing aging HVAC vans or equipment.

Digging A Little Deeper Into EBITDA vs EBIT

ebit versus ebitda

Let’s look at two hypothetical HVAC companies to illustrate the utility of EBITDA and EBIT in evaluating a business’s financial health. 

We’ll use the example of two HVAC companies: Company A and Company B. Both have an EBITDA of $500,000, but their financial structures and operational efficiencies differ.

Example with Company A:

Company A has an EBITDA of $500,000. Its net income is $300,000, and it has incurred $40,000 in interest, $70,000 in taxes, $50,000 in depreciation, and $40,000 in amortization.

Calculating EBITDA:
$300,000 (Net Income) + $40,000 (Interest) + $70,000 (Taxes) + $50,000 (Depreciation) + $40,000 (Amortization) = $500,000

Calculating EBIT:
$300,000 (Net Income) + $40,000 (Interest) + $70,000 (Taxes) = $410,000

Example with Company B:

Company B also has an EBITDA of $500,000 but with a net income of $320,000. It has incurred $25,000 in interest, $65,000 in taxes, $45,000 in depreciation, and $45,000 in amortization.

Calculating EBITDA:
$320,000 (Net Income) + $25,000 (Interest) + $65,000 (Taxes) + $45,000 (Depreciation) + $45,000 (Amortization) = $500,000

Calculating EBIT:
$320,000 (Net Income) + $30,000 (Interest) + $60,000 (Taxes) = $410,000


At first glance, both companies look equally profitable with an EBITDA of $500,000. However, Company B has a higher net income and lower interest and tax expenses, indicating more effective operational efficiency and possibly a better financial structure.

EBITDA doesn’t capture these nuances—it’s a broader metric useful for understanding general profitability and making industry comparisons. 


Which Is Better, EBIT or EBITDA?

Neither EBIT nor EBITDA is inherently better; their usefulness depends on what you’re trying to analyze. EBITDA is excellent for understanding a company’s operational efficiency without financial and accounting impacts. EBIT provides a more conservative measure, useful for long-term investment decisions.

Why Is EBIT The Best Measure Of Profit?

Saying EBIT is the best measure of profit might be an overstatement. However, EBIT is highly valued for its focus on a company’s core operational efficiency. It includes necessary expenses, making it a realistic snapshot of business performance, excluding the effects of financing and taxation.

Is It Good To Have A High EBIT?

Generally, a high EBIT is considered positive as it indicates strong operational profitability. However, context is crucial. A high EBIT one year followed by a drastic drop the next could indicate underlying issues. Additionally, industry averages should be considered for a full understanding.

Can EBITDA Be Negative?

Yes, EBITDA can be negative, usually indicating a company facing operational challenges. This could be due to high expenses, low revenue, or both. Negative EBITDA can be a red flag for investors and might warrant closer examination of the business operations. EBIT can also be negative – perhaps more likely – because it includes deductions and amortization. 


Understanding the nuances of these metrics is invaluable for any business, particularly for small home services businesses like HVAC companies where effective resource allocation is vital for growth and sustainability.

Both EBITDA and EBIT serve as key indicators for a company’s operational and financial health. EBITDA offers a broader picture of operational efficiency. It’s especially useful in sectors with substantial capital costs like depreciation and amortization. However, its expansiveness comes at the cost of detail.

On the flip side, EBIT provides a more conservative and focused measure of profitability, taking into account operational income but leaving out long-term costs like depreciation. It offers a sharper view of day-to-day operational efficiency, beneficial for evaluating how well the core business activities are performing.

Are you interested in learning more about EBITDA vs EBIT in the context of small business acquisition? Consider enrolling in our Accelerator course. Our MBA-level training and success coaches could help you buy and operate a $1MM/year cash-flowing business within as little as seven months. 

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Key Takeaways

  • EBITDA and EBIT serve different purposes in assessing a company’s profitability.
  • EBITDA is broader, often used in M&As, and excludes interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.
  • EBIT offers a more conservative profitability snapshot, including depreciation and amortization costs.
  • Both metrics have limitations and should be considered alongside other financial data.
  • In sectors like HVAC, understanding these metrics is vital for effective resource allocation and strategic planning.
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