written by khatabook | November 9, 2022

What is the Margin of safety? Importance, Calculations, Benefits

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In accounting, the difference between actual and break-even sales is known as the margin of safety or safety margin. Managers can use the Margin of safety to determine how far a company's or project's sales can drop before losing money. A margin of safety is a number that aids businesses in setting product prices and increasing production and efficiency, and sales forecasting.

Did you know? In their groundbreaking 1934 book Security Analysis, value investing pioneers Benjamin Graham and David Dodd first introduced the concept of a margin of safety. It is also described in Graham's The Intelligent Investor.

What is the Margin of safety?

The phrase "margin of safety" has several different meanings, and the Margin of safety is defined by two distinct applications: budgeting and investment. 

In accordance with the investing theory known as the "margin of safety," a stock is only bought by a buyer when its market price is much less than its intrinsic worth. In other words, the margin of safety is when the market price of a security is considerably lower than the value you estimate it to be intrinsically worth. 

In Budgeting, the distance between current or anticipated future sales and the breakeven point is known as the margin of safety. This is the bare minimum amount of sales required to prevent product sales losses. Companies can decide whether or not to make adjustments based on the information by estimating the margin of safety. 

Calculating the gap between budgeted and breakeven sales is a critical task for organisations today. This calculation is used to forecast sales and ensure they exceed breakeven sales, and this method helps them scale up their performance and incur better revenue. 

Also read: Accounting Period - Definition, Types & How Does an Accounting Period Work?

Why do we Need to Calculate the Margin of Safety?

Today's businesses urgently need to determine the difference between budgeted and break-even sales. They can scale up their performance as a result. The margin of safety is so named because it functions somewhat as a buffer. The company or division can lose up to this many sales before it loses money. The activities are lucrative by definition as long as there is a buffer. The activities break even for the time, and no profit is earned if the margin of safety drops to zero. If the margin falls, the operations are in the red. Using this Margin of safety calculation, they determine whether their budgeted sales exceed the breakeven sales.

  • A built-in cushion called a margin of safety enables some losses to be suffered without having a significant negative impact.
  • This discounted pricing adds a margin of safety if predictions are inaccurate or prejudiced by buying stocks at prices significantly below their goal.
  • Break-even forecasts are designed with a margin of safety to accommodate some cushion in those predictions.

Formula to Calculate the Margin of safety

Margin of safety = Actual sales volume – Break-even sales volume

The margin of safety formula is calculated by subtracting the break-even sales from the budgeted or projected sales. 

The break-even point is the sales level at which the sum of fixed and variable costs equals total revenues. That means a company's breakeven point is the point at which the company does not make any profit or loss. 

This formula shows the total number of sales above the breakeven point.

This formula displays all sales that are above breakeven. In other words, the total amount of sales can be lost before the business loses money. Occasionally, it's also helpful to represent this estimate as a percentage. 

You can calculate the margin of safety in units, revenue, and percentage.  

Also read: Perpetual Inventory System - Methods, Advantages and Disadvantages

The Formula: Variations

There are a few variations you can try that might aid in determining the size of your sales buffer.

Percentage

The % formula, often employed for accounting or reporting purposes, is the first version. It demonstrates how much of a percentage decline in revenue the business can withstand. Use this formula to determine if you wish to:

(Current Sales - Breakeven Point) / Current Sales) x 100 = Margin of safety (percent)

Quantity of Units

As an alternative, you can consider your margin of safety as sold units. You will learn the production level you must maintain to remain profitable from this.

Breakeven Point - Current Sales Units = Margin of safety (in units).

Points to be considered:

The market's state should also be considered when determining estimated sales. A business may continue with the current plan if estimates indicate that the sales total is satisfactory and the margin of safety is within reasonable limits. If not, more changes can be made and applied as before.

The break-even point is the second variable we require. The break-even point is the point at which a product's production costs equal its sales revenue. In essence, a product's sales and production expenses are "even."

The business generates no profit or loss for the company. The fact that businesses do not want this to occur should be obvious.  

How Important is the Margin of Safety?

The margin of safety is a crucial metric when the management is considering an expansion or new product line since it demonstrates how safe the business is and how much lost sales or increased expenditures the company can withstand. A significant margin of safety is preferable because it denotes solid business performance and provides a large buffer to deal with sales volatility. 

On the other side, a small margin of safety suggests a less-than-optimal situation. It needs to be enhanced through an increase in selling price, sales volume increase, contribution margin through a decrease in variable costs, or the adoption of a more profitable product mix. The margin of safety acts as a safeguard for investors against calculation errors. The margin of safety shields investors from bad decisions and market downturns since the fair value is challenging to estimate accurately. 

Also read: What is an Accounting Transaction? Example & Types of Accounting Transaction

Benefits of the Margin of Safety

The margin of Safety is a tool effectively used for Forecasting financial and sales data.

A margin of safety is a tool used by business owners and sales managers to determine how much leeway they have before a decline in sales results in a loss of profits. A business has a solid protective buffer if its sales have a significant margin of safety. Even if sales decline, you'll probably continue to be profitable. When your margin of safety is high, you may devote more funds to expansion without worrying about jeopardising your bottom line.

On the other hand, a low margin of safety indicates that you don't have much leeway in sales and that you should concentrate on decreasing costs if sales decline. At a lower margin of Safety, the organisation will need to make changes by cutting down some of its expenses. 

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FAQs

Q: What are the challenges with the margin of safety?

Ans:

Since certain months will provide dismally low results, the margin of safety approach does not work effectively when seasonal sales are. In these cases, annualise the data to account for all seasonal variations in the outcome.

Q: What Does a Company's margin of safety Tell You?

Ans:

The margin of safety ratio, which highlights the gap between actual and break-even sales, can assess a company's financial health. When the margin of safety is significant, the company is likely in good financial shape, and its cash flows are more stable.

Q: What Impact Does an Increase in Fixed Costs Have on the margin of safety?

Ans:

The margin of safety is decreased as fixed expenses rise, and this is because it would lead to a larger break-even sales volume and a correspondingly lower profit or loss at any given sales level.

Q: How can the margin of safety formula aid in performance scaling?

Ans:

They can scale up their performance as a result. Using this Margin of safety calculation, they determine whether their budgeted sales exceed the breakeven sales. The gap between budgeted and break-even sales is the Margin of safety.

Q: What enters into the Margin of Safety calculator's input field?

Ans:

The following inputs must be provided to utilise the Margin of safety (MOS) calculator: Either the predicted (expected or estimated) cash sales for a future business term or the actual sales for a current or historical time. It is the number of sales required to break even.

Q: What is a reasonable Margin of Safety?

Ans:

A larger ratio is appreciated because there is greater room to manufacture or purchase something; for instance, if you want to buy something for ₹100, you might only be willing to spend up to ₹80 because it would leave you with enough money to pay for any unforeseen expenses.

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The information, product and services provided on this website are provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis without any warranty or representation, express or implied. Khatabook Blogs are meant purely for educational discussion of financial products and services. Khatabook does not make a guarantee that the service will meet your requirements, or that it will be uninterrupted, timely and secure, and that errors, if any, will be corrected. The material and information contained herein is for general information purposes only. Consult a professional before relying on the information to make any legal, financial or business decisions. Use this information strictly at your own risk. Khatabook will not be liable for any false, inaccurate or incomplete information present on the website. Although every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this website is updated, relevant and accurate, Khatabook makes no guarantees about the completeness, reliability, accuracy, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, product, services or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Khatabook will not be liable for the website being temporarily unavailable, due to any technical issues or otherwise, beyond its control and for any loss or damage suffered as a result of the use of or access to, or inability to use or access to this website whatsoever.
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Disclaimer :
The information, product and services provided on this website are provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis without any warranty or representation, express or implied. Khatabook Blogs are meant purely for educational discussion of financial products and services. Khatabook does not make a guarantee that the service will meet your requirements, or that it will be uninterrupted, timely and secure, and that errors, if any, will be corrected. The material and information contained herein is for general information purposes only. Consult a professional before relying on the information to make any legal, financial or business decisions. Use this information strictly at your own risk. Khatabook will not be liable for any false, inaccurate or incomplete information present on the website. Although every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this website is updated, relevant and accurate, Khatabook makes no guarantees about the completeness, reliability, accuracy, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, product, services or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Khatabook will not be liable for the website being temporarily unavailable, due to any technical issues or otherwise, beyond its control and for any loss or damage suffered as a result of the use of or access to, or inability to use or access to this website whatsoever.