What Are Operating Expenses? With Examples

Read on to first review what expenses are before diving into the world of expense accounts. If the outcome is positive, the revenue exceeds the costs, resulting in a profit. If the number is negative, the company loses money because its costs exceed total revenue. It is also the sum of all gross cash expenditures plus any pending subsidiary items such as (OPEX), incentive fees, interest, and taxes paid in a given period. The costs someone can deduct are also determined by the type of business you run.

SG&A costs include anything that is not directly related to the costs of producing the products that someone’s company sells. Generally speaking, an expenditure is the total cost of a transaction, while an expense is that transaction’s offset to a company’s revenue. This is because businesses can claim certain things as deductions on their taxes, so the U.S.

Expenses Explained

A rising OER may signal a decline in your business’ operating efficiency from year to year, so you’ll want to take a close look at your business operations to determine the cause. My Accounting Course  is a world-class educational resource developed by experts to simplify accounting, finance, & investment analysis topics, so students and professionals can learn and propel their careers. These are incurred by a company but are unrelated to the core business operations.

A second journal entry must then be prepared in the following period to reverse the entry. Last, the accrual method of accounting blurs cash flow and cash usage as it includes non-cash transactions that have not yet impacted bank accounts. For a large company, the general ledger will be flooded with transactions that report items that have had no bearing on the company’s bank statement nor impact to the current amount of cash on hand.

  • The adjusting entry will be dated Dec. 31 and will have a debit to the salary expenses account on the income statement and a credit to the salaries payable account on the balance sheet.
  • Finance cost is the cost of borrowing money, which includes the interest charged on bank loans, overdraft fees, and dividends on redeemable shares.
  • Semi-variable overheads possess some of the characteristics of both fixed and variable costs.
  • An expense account is also critical for staying organized and helping you budget.

Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets. This also means that non-cash expenses such as depreciation and amortization cannot be recognized under the cash accounting method. When the related expenses are incurred, the prepaid expense account is credited and a corresponding expense account is debited.


Expenses are the cost of various resources that are consumed in running a business. Motor vehicles and machinery need to be maintained on a continuous basis and repaired whenever they break down. If a company incurs relatively higher opex as a percentage of sales compared to its competitors, that may indicate they are less efficient at generating those sales. Our writing and editorial staff are a team of experts holding advanced financial designations and have written for most major financial media publications. Our work has been directly cited by organizations including Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Investopedia, Forbes, CNBC, and many others. We follow strict ethical journalism practices, which includes presenting unbiased information and citing reliable, attributed resources.

List of Expense Accounts

This journal entry records the asset, cash, being used up to generate revenues by making sandwiches. Rent – Businesses that can’t afford to purchase a space to operate usually rent a space from another company. Common expenses are the cost of goods sold, rent expense, wages expense, fixed asset depreciation, and utilities expense.

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In addition, accrued expenses may be a financial reporting requirement depending on the company and its Securities and Exchange Commission filing requirements. Although the accrual method of accounting is labor-intensive because it requires extensive journaling, it is a more accurate measure of a company’s transactions and events for each period. This more complete picture helps users of financial statements to better understand a company’s present financial health and predict its future financial position. No, you cannot claim personal expenses as tax-deductible business expenses. The only exception is if the costs incurred are both personal and business expenses.

Financing Expenses

This is the default category for any expenses that cannot be directly identified with the cost of sales, selling expenses, finance cost, or taxation. Examples of variable overheads include shipping costs, office supplies, advertising and marketing costs, consultancy service charges, legal expenses, as well as maintenance and repair of equipment. For example, a vehicle retail company pays a premium rent for business space in an area with additional space to accommodate a showroom. A business must pay its overhead costs on an ongoing basis, regardless of whether its products are selling or not. Accrual accounting measures a company’s performance and position by recognizing economic events regardless of when cash transactions occur, whereas cash accounting only records transactions when payment occurs. Accrual accounting presents a more accurate measure of a company’s transactions and events for each period.

But if like many businesses, we don’t pay our expenses the same day they occur, there will be a liability (debt), which we will pay later. Under the cash accounting method, transactions are only recognized if cash is involved. By the end of the month, a month’s worth of rent massachusetts state tax information has already been incurred, and so a portion of the Prepaid Rent will be credited, and Rent Expense will be debited as recognition of the rent expense incurred. Financing expenses are costs related to financing activities, particularly borrowings from creditors/lenders.

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