Cost to Income Ratio: Definition, Formula, Calculation, Example

Financial ratios are a relative measure of a financial metric to another. These ratios fall under different categories and are essential to evaluating a company. However, some are more relevant in some cases than others. In those cases, users must calculate specific ratios based on the type of investment they evaluate. For banks, the cost-to-income ratio is more critical than others.

What is the Cost to Income Ratio?

The cost-to-income ratio is a crucial financial metric for banks. However, it can also apply when assessing the financial performance of companies. Essentially, the cost-to-income ratio measures the operating costs relative to a company’s operating income. This ratio helps evaluate the profitability of financial institutions. Similarly, it allows users to assess the efficiency of operations of the underlying investment.

The cost-to-income ratio compares the income and operating expenses of a company. It helps users determine if the underlying investment generates gains or loses money. Usually, investors prefer using other financial metrics when evaluating companies. However, the cost-to-income ratio can also be crucial in evaluating these investments.

How to Calculate the Cost to Income Ratio?

Calculating the cost-to-income ratio is straightforward. The data required to put into the formula is available from the income statements. As stated above, it requires measuring operating costs and income relatively. Once users obtain these figures from the income statement, they can put them into the following cost-to-income ratio.

Cost-to-income ratio = Operating costs / Operating income

Practically, users have to follow several steps to calculate the cost-to-income ratio. The first involves identifying and totaling operating expenses. Usually, the income statement divides these expenses into several headings, for example, administrative and marketing. Once they have this figure, they can move toward calculating operating income.

Calculating operating income requires identifying financial expenses and income. These figures are available in different parts of the income statement. Once users have these figures, they must subtract the financial expenses from the income. The resultant amount will constitute the operating income for the come. Finally, users can put the figure in the above formula for the cost-to-income ratio.


A company, Green Co., has a total operating cost of $75,000. The company also reported its operating income as $100,000. For Green Co., the cost-to-income ratio will be as below.

Cost-to-income ratio = Operating costs / Operating income

Cost-to-income ratio = $75,000 / $100,000

Cost-to-income ratio = 0.75 or 75%

Why is the Cost-to-Income Ratio important?

The cost-to-income shows the operating costs of a company compared to its income. The lower this ratio is, the better for the company. However, users must compare the ratio with relevant metrics to reach meaningful conclusions. It is straightforward to calculate and, therefore, is highly preferred by users. This ratio can also play a significant role in investment decisions.

The cost-to-ratio helps assess the financial health of a company. Users can use it across various sectors to evaluate different companies. On top of that, companies can also use this ratio in their decisions. For example, it can help in setting goals and developing policies. The cost-to-income ratio is a crucial feasibility metric that applies in different areas.


The cost-to-income ratio is a financial metric that compares operating expenses to operating income. Usually, a lower ratio means a company has lower costs than income. However, it is crucial to use this ratio comparatively to reach meaningful conclusions. The cost-to-income ratio is highly critical for investors and companies.

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