Marginal Profitability Analysis provides relevant decision information for setting prices, product design and product profitability. Analysis of whether to open or close locations or divisions can also be done with marginal profitability analysis.

The course starts by defining marginal costs and marginal profits and then explains how to calculate marginal profitability. You will learn how to create cost-volume-profit (CVP) analyses and breakeven analysis. Marginal profitability is compared to traditional full absorption product costing or activity-based costing to identify the pros and cons of each method and when each is appropriate.  

The course provides practical examples of making decisions with marginal profitability analysis. Examples include determining optimal production amounts and which products to promote. The final section explains how to calculate the change in profitability from a price increase and a price decrease. A worksheet template is provided for this analysis.

Course Key Concepts: Marginal profitability analysis, Contribution margin, Marginal cost, Marginal profit, Cost volume profit analysis, CVP analysis, Activity based costing, Profitability, Breakeven analysis, Pricing analysis.

Note: This course is also available in Text-based format.

Learning Objectives
  • Explore the definitions of marginal costs and marginal profitability.
  • Discover how to use a cost-volume-profit analysis and break-even analysis.
  • Identify the pros and cons of using marginal profitability analysis, activity-based costing, and traditional full absorption costing.
  • Explore the following keys factors to profitability: cannibalization, excess capacity, and step-fixed costs.
  • Recognize the best uses for marginal profitability analysis.
Last updated/reviewed: March 24, 2024
9 Reviews (29 ratings)


Member's Profile
Excellent mixture of theory and practical applications of marginal profitability, a somewhat basic introduction to the concept. Waiting for the author to expand the course into more detailed course dealing with probability ranges maybe, and an overview on how to set up a system that contains data for both MPA and ABC-based PA? Overall, absolutely great class.

Anonymous Author
I found this course very valuable. The material was well presented but the pace was a bit too quick (I will need to go back and review a few of the slides!). This course is a great refresher for those that do this every day and an important one for those in finance who don't.

Member's Profile
This is my first course on Marginal Profitability Analysis and I really enjoyed it. Rob Stephens does a fantastic job of explaining key concepts and obviously is very experienced in this field of analysis.

Anonymous Author
Great information to consider as I evolve in my profession. Amazing how you can make the wrong decision by using the wrong costing method. Woof! Also, liked the Excel tips.

Anonymous Author
Great CPE topic for CPAs that support Sales. Excellent instructor. Liked the tips provided and calculation sheets.

Anonymous Author
Good overview of multiple ways to approach margin analysis including pros/cons in different situations.

Anonymous Author
Love Rob's presentations. Very pertinent info and does a great job getting the information across.

Member's Profile
Great recap of key concepts and solid examples. Loved the excel example with the use of goal seek.

Anonymous Author
Another good quality course for the avid professional looking to step up their game.

Course Complexity: Foundational

No advanced preparation or prerequisites are required for this course.

Education Provider Information
Company: Illumeo, Inc., 75 East Santa Clara St., Suite 1215, San Jose, CA 95113
Contact: For more information regarding this course, including complaint and cancellation policies, please contact our offices at (408) 400- 3993 or send an e-mail to .
Course Questions and Answers(2 Questions)
Member's Profile

Prof. Stevens, could you pls recommend a textbook on practical applications of the MPA? Thank you, enjoyed your class greatly

Member's Profile

I don't teach this at Gonzaga so I don't know about textbooks. Here are some links to materials I researched for this class or read over the years:
- The classic book where I was first introduced to marginal analysis and theory of constraints (TOC) was "The Goal" by Eliyahu Goldratt
-Read the article titled "Improve Internal Reporting with ABC and TOC" in this magazine:

Instructor for this course
Course Syllabus
  Introduction to Marginal Profitability Analysis4:17
  Definitions of Marginal Costs and Marginal Profits10:26
  Marginal Costs6:38
  Marginal Profit Calculation7:00
  Data Table2:18
  Marginal Profit and Activity Based Costing6:51
  Practical Application - Part 1: How much to Produce?5:09
  Practical Application - Part 2: Setting Pricing5:15
  Goal Seek3:24
  Pricing Increase Analysis and Conclusion3:03
  Marginal Profitability Analysis 54:21
  Slides: Marginal Profitability Analysis PDF
  Marginal Profitability Analysis Glossary/ IndexPDF
  CVP AnalysisXLSX
  Pricing-Change AnalysisXLSX