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Charley's Swipe File #61

The Breakeven Chart is a well-known tool to monitor how well your costs and profits vary in line with your monthly sales. Here's a quick way to start tracking your own breakeven performance today.

by Charley Kyd, MBA
Microsoft Excel MVP, 2005-2014
The Father of Spreadsheet Dashboard Reports
An Excel breakeven chart

When I worked as a CFO, my breakeven chart was one of the most popular reports I produced each month.

But during many years of consulting I've never seen a breakeven chart created by others. I'm sure that other companies use them, but they don't seem to be common. This probably is because they're somewhat difficult to set up in Excel.

The breakeven chart shows three key items:

  1. Your average breakeven point. This is the amount of sales you must generate each month to break even on average.

  2. Your cost-control trend line. When the dots are above the trend line, your costs are higher than they’ve been in the recent past for that level of sales.

  3. Your most-recent monthly performance, as illustrated here by the orange dot.

By the way, as you add new data each month, watch how your breakeven point changes. If you are controlling costs carefully, your breakeven point should stay about the same or fall. But otherwise, it will rise.

(Continued in the documentation.)

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