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What Is Gross Turnover?

By A. Leverkuhn
Updated May 16, 2024
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Gross turnover can apply to people, services, or money, but it always represents the total amount that is “turned over,” utilized, or gained and lost during a given period of time. It’s important to make a distinction about the use of the term gross turnover in accounting. Turnover can also mean how many times an asset, such as cash, is turned over, or how many times its value is returned to a business during a time period. The term “gross turnover” usually does not reflect this statistic, but instead refers to the total income for the business or party throughout the year, before certain factors that are used to calculate “net turnover.”

Although it sounds complicated, the accounting use of the term is fairly simple. The accountant simply calculates the total income for the year. The usual meaning of the term “gross,” which means before certain mitigating factors, applies to this kind of turnover assessment.

In other business uses of the term, someone can be referring to the amount of services or inventory that are “turned over” during a certain period of time. This calculation can be a way to assess whether inventory is being well handled. This can also reflect on whether production matches inventory.

Another business use of the term “turnover” refers to the gain or loss of employees. Here, gross turnover would be the total number of employees lost during a given time frame. Turnover of employees generates significant costs to business, related to training, employee resources like badges and workstation equipment, and other costs. Assessing turnover is a way for a business to look at efficiency and strategies that may affect the bottom line of operations.

It’s important for a professional accountant know what constitutes gross turnover, and what factors may apply to that number in order to turn it into net turnover. Net turnover takes into account different tax situations, discounts, or mitigating value statements for the values that are used to determine gross turnover numbers. It often takes an experienced bookkeeper to guide business leaders through the process of deciphering gross and net turnover to accurately value the assets and operations of a business. With these numbers solidly in hand, the top brass for a company or business can more accurately make the big decisions that will influence future profits.

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Discussion Comments
By Wisedly33 — On Nov 17, 2014

@Scrbblchick -- I think I must have read the same article. It said that it can take a company 18 months to get a new hire up to the same standards as the person who left, and can cost a lot of money in extra training.

I don't know what gets into companies, sometimes. They lay off people, buy a bunch of new equipment, then hire newbies who don't have a clue what they're doing, and wonder why they're not making any money. They fired all the people who knew what they were doing, that's what! It's frightening and confusing, for sure. I wonder why company heads make these decisions and wonder why profits are down.

By Scrbblchick — On Nov 16, 2014

Employee turnover is probably the most nebulous of these numbers because it's nearly impossible to calculate how much the loss of an employee -- especially a long term one -- cost the company.

I've seen some numbers that imply it's much more expensive to terminate a long-term employee in the long run, even if you do get a big salary off the payroll, just because of all the institutional knowledge you lose. I don't think employers think about that, sometimes. They don't ask if the person might be able to drop to part time. They just do a layoff and decide that's the person who needs to go, based on salary. It can come back to bite them.

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