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Definition of basic terms of business accounting in terms of total assets , the operating assets , the financial assets and the cash register .

Income is in the economy in general, the sum or the result of the services provided economic performance . The equivalent is the effort .


While the two terms revenue and expenditure , the changes in the financial assets portfolio recorded, provide income and expenses on the creation and consumption of goods and services from.

The term originally comes from agriculture , where the agricultural yield still today represents the amount of agricultural products obtained through agricultural production . The physiocrats of the early modern period investigated the agricultural soil , which is constantly regenerating as part of nature and is maintained without any effort. Its most important representative, François Quesnay , assumed in 1757 that wealth did not lie in movement ( trade ) but in rest (of the soil). The principle of all labor is the yield of land , because all labor is based on the price of the agricultural products , the agricultural prices . “The yield is the result of the nature of the soil and people. Without human work, the soil has no value ”. "The surplus from land is what agriculture ... makes available for taxation ..."

While the physiocrats only considered agricultural work to be productive, in 1777 Johann Georg Schlosser added that the class “artists, craftsmen and merchants” was also productive. For Adam Smith in the standard work The Prosperity of Nations , published in March 1776, it was not the agricultural land as the source of prosperity , but human labor.

The soil yield was and is measured in units of measure such as pieces , kilograms or quintals . Yield was therefore defined in 1827 as the "annual product of the soil" or in 1837 as "the value or quantity of the produce of the fields and meadows, the benefits of cattle breeding, but also any profit from any agricultural industry."


Every production factor generates a profit. When work is the income earned income , the capital is the investment income ( interest income , dividend income ) or at the bottom of soil fertility through the use of land . It arises in agriculture through harvesting ( fruit , grape harvest , grain harvest ), in forestry through timber harvest and in mining through the extraction of raw materials . In a broader sense, the land yield also includes the legal fruits , i.e. rental income or rent from renting or leasing the land.

The economics mean by the income the amount of goods that is produced with a given expenditure of factors of production in a given period. The yield per unit of effort is called the average yield, the increase in yield when the effort changes by an infinitesimal unit is called the marginal yield . The marginal yield is at the center of the Income Act , which is also called the Law of Declining Marginal Yield . It was originally formulated by Anne Robert Jacques Turgot for agriculture as a land yield law: If the labor input is continuously increased on the same agricultural area, the land yield initially increases disproportionately, then only disproportionately, then it remains the same, and finally it even decreases again . A three-dimensional representation can be derived from the yield law , which is called yield mountains and illustrates the dependency of the output quantity on different input quantities of two production factors.

If you multiply the quantity of goods by their price , you get the yield in monetary units ( ):


Income is therefore both a physical sum and a concept of value . The concept of value of income occurs in distribution theory as a value product and value marginal product . With full competition , the marginal value product corresponds to the factor price .

Business administration

In business administration , income is the gross increase in value , measured in monetary units, that a company generates in a financial year through the production of goods or services . It is reflected as an increase in net worth , which is allocated to a specific financial year according to the principle of effectiveness.

For the purposes of the income statement, a distinction is made between operating income (operating income) and non-operating income (neutral income):

  • Operating income or operating profit is the success achieved by a company in its core business .
  • In cost and performance accounting , neutral income is generally that part of the income that does not come from the pursuit of the operational purpose , which is so extraordinary in type and amount that it is not offset as operational income or falls into another period:
    • non-operating income is the “purest” case of neutral income, as there is no relationship to the company's performance (e.g. rental income from a property not used for the operation);
    • Out-of-period income : Although this is operational, it is incurred in a different period than the one in which the relevant services are provided (e.g. tax refunds , advance payments received );
    • Extraordinary income : is so extraordinary in its type and amount that it is not offset as ordinary income (e.g. income from insurance payments, exchange rate gains );
    • valuation-related income : this includes e.g. B. the income from write-ups .

As a result of the Accounting Directive Implementation Act , since December 2005, among other things, the neutral income (item 16) and the neutral result (item 17) as an intermediate figure in the income statement have been omitted ( Section 275 (2 ) HGB ).

The relationship between yield and performance can be broken down as follows:

term subspecies
Purpose-driven income and basic service at the same time
  • Different performance
  • Additional service
  • imputed performance

For purpose of income include revenue from the core business , the increase in stock in inventory and own work capitalized . It is the business-related, ordinary, period-appropriate yield with the subtypes "Purpose yield as a basic service" and "Purpose yield as a different service". In other services are in the cost accounting detected in the same amounts as in the financial accounting . Neutral income is all non-operating income in the form of additional income or other income . The additional income is neither related to the objective nor timely, nor is it offset by income . A different return arises when stocks are valued at sales prices that deviate from the production costs in the income statement .

The purpose-driven income, which cannot be offset as income, is called a different service ( e.g. a higher valuation than in external accounting). The additional services are not matched by any income (e.g. in-house work that cannot be capitalized, such as software developed in-house or finished products donated to third parties free of charge ).

Günter Wöhe and other authors understand the yield as the factor input valued with the price of goods (also called output ). While the earnings position is understood to mean the past profit situation of a company, the earnings power is a future-related variable that results from the pursuit of business objectives ( operational purpose ) and formal objectives ( company objectives such as profit maximization), especially in core business and cash cows . The gross profit and net profit are also known as business indicators .

The task of income management , especially in the hotel industry and with airlines, is to generate the maximum income for a time-limited capacity ( degree of occupancy , seat occupancy ) of products or services.

Income occurs as a legal term in particular in commercial and accounting law . According to Section 246 (1) of the German Commercial Code ( HGB ) , the annual financial statements must include all expenses and income. The classification rule of Section 275 (2) No. 9 to 11 HGB also recognizes “Income from investments” (more correctly: profits ), “Income from other securities and loans from financial assets ” and “Other interest and similar income” . They are posted to income accounts in accounting , which are included in the income statement .

See also


  • Adolf G. Coenenberg / Axel Haller / Gerhard Mattner / Wolfgang Schultze: Introduction to accounting: basic features of bookkeeping and accounting. 8th edition. Schäffer-Poeschel Verlag, Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 978-3791028088 .
  • Harald Wedell / Achim A. Dilling: Fundamentals of accounting. Bookkeeping and annual accounts. Cost and performance accounting. 13th revised edition. Verlag Neue Wirtschafts-Briefe, Herne 2010, ISBN 978-3-482-54783-6 ( NWB study of business administration ).

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Sönke Peters (founder), Rolf Brühl, Johannes N. Stelling: Business Administration. Introduction . 12th revised edition. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, Munich et al. 2005, ISBN 3-486-57685-2 ( Google Books ).
  2. Ottmar Schneck (Ed.), Lexikon der Betriebswirtschaft , 2011, o. P.
  3. ^ François Quesnay, Getreide ( French "Grains" ), in: Encyclopédie vol. 7, Nov. 1757, p. 44
  4. ^ François Quesnay, Tableau Economique , 1757, p. 188
  5. ^ Johann Georg Schlosser, Political Fragments , 1777, p. 43
  6. ^ Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of Wealth of Nations , 1776, translation Claus Recktenwald, 1995, p. 3
  7. ^ Friedrich Arnold Brockhaus (ed.), General German Real Encyclopedia for the Educated Estates , Volume 3, 1827, p. 659 f.
  8. Alexander von Lengerke, Landwirthschaftliches Conversations-Lexikon for practitioners and laypeople , Volume 1, 1837, p. 842
  9. Verlag Dr. Th. Gabler (ed.), Gablers Wirtschafts-Lexikon , Volume 2, 1984, Sp. 1360
  10. Verlag Dr. Th. Gabler (Ed.), Gablers Wirtschafts-Lexikon , Volume 2, 1984, Sp. 1361
  11. Verlag Dr. Th. Gabler (ed.), Gablers Wirtschafts-Lexikon , Volume 2, 1984, Sp. 1360
  12. Erich Gutenberg, Introduction to Business Administration , 1958, p. 34
  13. ^ Ulrich Döring / Dietrich Jacobs, yield , in: Wolfgang Lück (ed.), Lexikon der Betriebswirtschaft, 2004, p. 185
  14. Eike Clausius, Facts about Economy , Volume 8, 2016, p. 29
  15. Bernhard Schroeter, Operatives Controlling , 2002, p. 75
  16. Günter Wöhe / Ulrich Döring , Introduction to General Business Administration , 25th edition, 2013, p. 34
  17. Guido A. Scheld / Claudia Demming, Fundamentale Aktienanalyse , in: WISU 1993, p. 306
  18. Klaus Bichler / Ralf Krohn / Peter Philippi, Gabler Kompakt-Lexikon Logistik , 2005, p. 199