36 Business Expense Categories for Small Businesses and Startups

type of expenses in accounting

Contra accounts are accounts that are related, yet separate from its particular account. A contra expense account will behave in the opposite way a normal expense account will; instead of debiting to increase, a contra account must credit to increase. Instead of crediting to decrease, it will be credited to increase. An example of a contra expense account is Purchase Returns and Allowances. Depreciation is a tax deduction that allows you to recover the cost of any assets that you purchase and then use for your business. An ordinary business expense is anything that is common and accepted in your business or industry.

  • Common business expenses include rent, staff wages, equipment, vehicles, payments to suppliers, and insurance.
  • This might include monthly rent, the purchase of office supplies, or the payment of employee salaries.
  • In accounting terminology, account classes either have a debit or a credit nature.
  • That way, you can observe which expenses you spend the most on, better track your money, and stay organized.
  • The payment of salaries or other direct expenses and the creation of capital assets is also a form of expenditure only.

Both small and large enterprises hire professionals to accomplish services like accounting, marketing, sales, audits, etc. These charges aren’t a handful but if you hire expert agents or service providers, you will be paying a hefty price. If their services are always in demand in your enterprise, you can hire a full-time team. If you have employees who frequently travel for business, ensure you follow small-business expense management best practices like making it easy for them to upload the receipts required by the IRS. For example, say you’re putting 250 miles per week on your private vehicle to get products out to customers. It may seem time-consuming to keep a log separating business and personal use, but you’re losing out on close to $600 in deductions.

Is Salary Considered an Expense?

For businesses that offer both goods and services, they can use Cost of Sales, or both Cost of Goods Sold and Cost of Services. It can also be viewed as expenses that can be directly attributed to the generation of revenue. type of expenses in accounting In such a case, your net worth will decrease and we can infer that the payment you made for rent is an expense. For example, when you pay for rent, your cash is reduced without a corresponding increase in another asset.

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Expenses are either operating expenses or non-operating expenses. Non-operating expenses, such as interest payments, are not incurred as part of a company’s core operations. Within those buckets, expenses are either fixed — they generally don’t change during the year — or variable, meaning they fluctuate. The bulk of all accounts used in the general ledger are expense accounts. This is a type of temporary account in which are stored all expenses incurred by an entity during an accounting period. Thus, there may be expense accounts for bank fees, the cost of goods sold, utilities, and so forth.

What are Expense Accounts?

Under accounting terms, and accounting rules provide for debiting all costs and losses incurred by the organization. Expenses are related to business expenditures over time, and they are shown on the business net income statement. You need to spend money on rent and utilities if you want to have a retail store for customers to visit. Indirect costs include labor, storage costs, and the pay for factory or warehouse https://accounting-services.net/ supervisors. The term “cost” is often used in business in the context of marketing and pricing strategies. Along with categorizing expenses, you can also add budgets to each category and it highlights and alerts the admin if there is a surpass in the budget. Automatic integrations take this to another level as every expense gets synced to other accounting applications the very moment it happens.

They are termed as fixed as they remain constant throughout and have to be paid regardless of any business activity. If a building is operated on rent, the rent will be considered a fixed cost. It will have to be borne by the operator regardless of activity is taking place or not. Expenses are simply costs that a company incurs in order to generate revenues. So if a company purchased a machine to produce goods, this is an expense that is being used to produce a product to sell, which can be sold to generate revenue. From pen and notebooks to tissue papers, the company account for every stationery employees uses inside the premises. Even if you have digitized everything, there are still a few items that you might have to stock up like computer spare parts, mugs, first aid supplies.

Expenses Explained

Not paying for your rent will result in you incurring a liability. In such cases, it would make sense to compile such expenses under the miscellaneous expenses. An example of a miscellaneous expense is the cost of staff uniforms. The annual depreciation expense will be $1000, which is calculated by dividing the building’s depreciable value ($100,000 – $80,000) with its useful life . This includes the cost of electricity, natural gas, and the running cost of backup generators. When promotion and marketing expenses are significant, it is more appropriate to show them separately from selling and distribution expenses.

Unlike operating expenses, these expenses are not day-to-day transactions and are not expected to be regularly incurred. These expenses that cannot be directly attributed to sales are what we refer to as operating expenses. Any business owner would know that operating a business has other expenses other than the cost of sales. Is slightly more complicated as it involves the accountant to track the period of lease that falls within the accounting period rather than just the cash flow. The following sections describe the common types of costs that are typically included in the operating, general and administrative expenses.

At tax time, you’ll go through your business expense categories and determine which costs you can deduct. You’ll have to show a business expense is “ordinary and necessary” to deduct it on your tax return. Operating ExpensesOperating expense is the cost incurred in the normal course of business and does not include expenses directly related to product manufacturing or service delivery. Therefore, they are readily available in the income statement and help to determine the net profit. Loans from banks orbondsusually require regular interest payments to compensate the lender. These payments don’t generate operating income, so they are recorded as a non-operating expense.

The more tax-deductible expenses you have, the lower your taxable income will be, and the more cash flow you’ll have to reinvest into your small business. In most income statements prepared by companies, financing expenses are a separate line item usually presented after the operating expense or EBIT . This could include the cost of fare, vehicle rentals, airfare, etc. However, travel expense is not exclusive to the cost of transportation. Any necessary expenses incurred during the duration of the travel are also included. Examples are the cost of lodging, meals, rental of computers and other communications devices during the travel, etc.


Expenses appear directly in the income statement and indirectly on the balance sheet. Although Accounts payable is often mistaken for a company’s operational expenses, it is a liability that shows that a company owes money to one or more creditors/vendors. They are often recorded at the bottom of your company’s income statement.

  • Variable costs include travel expenses, meals, employee perks, and benefits are categorized under variable costs.
  • “You have to spend money to make money” is everyday phrase entrepreneurs use.
  • If the amount paid had been higher than the capitalization limit, then it instead would have been recorded as an asset and charged to expense at a later date, when the asset was consumed.
  • When a business pays for its expenses in advance, the amount paid is not recognized as an expense but rather an asset which is referred to as prepaid expenses.
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