In business, revenue is the amount of money that a company actually receives from its activities, mostly from sales of products and/or services to customers. To investors, revenue is less important than profit, or income, which is the amount of money the business has earned after deducting all the business's expenses.
Revenue growth is an important indicator of the market reception of a company's products and services. Yet a company cannot focus solely on revenue, but must also manage the costs of raising the revenue, a fact that many high-revenue companies have learned only painfully.
Consistent revenue growth, as well as income growth, is considered essential for a company's publicly traded stock to be attractive to investors.
The term top line is often heard as a synonym for revenue; this term comes from the fact that in a company's financial reports, revenue is generally shown at the top, then all the company's costs and expenses beneath that, and then the income, or the bottom line, is at the bottom.
For government, revenues refers to the gross proceeds received from taxes, fees, and the like.
For non-profit organizations, revenue from products and services can be expanded to include proceeds from donations, grants, trade in lieu of cash, and other liquid assets.