Definition of Expenses
Costs involved in running the company.
The costs incurred in buying, making or producing goods and services.
For investment companies, the management fee and "other expenses,"
including the expenses for maintaining shareholder records, providing shareholders with financial statements,
and providing custodial and accounting services. For 12b-1 funds, selling and marketing costs are included.
What was spent to run the non-sales and non-manufacturing part of a company, such as office salaries and interest paid on loans.
The total amount that was spent to run a company this year.
What was spent to run the sales part of a company, such as sales salaries, travel, meals, and lodging for salespeople, and advertising.
Those that vary with the amount of goods you produce or sell. These may include utility bills, labor, etc.
expenses that have to be recorded in order for the financial statements to be accurate. Accrued expenses usually do not involve the receipt of an invoice from the company providing the goods or services.
expenses that have been paid for but have not yet been used up; examples are prepaid insurance and prepaid rent.
The account that records the short-term, noninterest-
bearing liabilities of a business that accumulate over time, such
as vacation pay owed to employees. This liability is different than
accounts payable, which is the liability account for bills that have been
received by a business from purchases on credit.
expenses or costs that remain the same in amount,
or fixed, over the short run and do not vary with changes in sales volume
or sales revenue or other measures of business activity. Over the
longer run, however, these costs increase or decrease as the business
grows or declines. Fixed operating costs provide capacity to carry on
operations and make sales. Fixed manufacturing overhead costs provide
production capacity. Fixed expenses are a key pivot point for the analysis
of profit behavior, especially for determining the breakeven point and for
analyzing strategies to improve profit performance.
Operating expenses that vary in proportion to
changes in total sales revenue (total dollars of sales). Examples are sales
commissions based on sales revenue, credit card discount expenses, and
rents and franchise fees based on sales revenue. These expenses are one
of the key variables in a profit model. Segregating these expenses from
other types of expenses that behave differently is essential for management
decision-making analysis. (These expenses are not disclosed separately
in externally reported income statements.)
expenses that vary in close proportion to changes
in total sales volume (total quantities of sales). Examples of these types of
expenses are delivery costs, packaging costs, and other costs that depend
mainly on the number of products sold or the number of customers
served. These expenses are one of the key factors in a profit model for
decision-making analysis. Segregating these expenses from other types
of expenses that behave differently is essential for management decisionmaking
analysis. The cost-of-goods-sold expense depends on sales volume
and is a unit-driven expense. But product cost (i.e., the cost of
goods sold) is such a dominant expense that it is treated separately from
other unit-driven operating expenses.
expenses that change with changes in either sales volume
or sales revenue, in contrast to fixed expenses that remain the same
over the short run and do not fluctuate in response to changes in sales
volume or sales revenue. See also revenue-driven expenses and unitdriven
Cost of doing business which does not change with the volume of business. Examples might be rent for business premises, insurance payments, heat and light.
The amount of money the company must spend on overhead, distribution, taxes, underwriting the risk and servicing the policy. It is a factor in calculating premium rates.
Regarding a futures contract, the difference between the cash price and the futures price observed in the
market. Also, it is the price an investor pays for a security plus any out-of-pocket expenses. It is used to
determine capital gains or losses for tax purposes when the stock is sold.
The risk that the cash flow of an issuer will be impaired because of adverse economic
conditions, making it difficult for the issuer to meet its operating expenses.
Cash flow from operations
A firm's net cash inflow resulting directly from its regular operations
(disregarding extraordinary items such as the sale of fixed assets or transaction costs associated with issuing
securities), calculated as the sum of net income plus non-cash expenses that were deducted in calculating net
Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT)
A financial measure defined as revenues less cost of goods sold
and selling, general, and administrative expenses. In other words, operating and non-operating profit before
the deduction of interest and income taxes.
The percentage of the assets that were spent to run a mutual fund (as of the last annual
statement). This includes expenses such as management and advisory fees, overhead costs and 12b-1
(distribution and advertising ) fees. The expense ratio does not include brokerage costs for trading the
portfolio, although these are reported as a percentage of assets to the SEC by the funds in a Statement of
Additional Information (SAI). the SAI is available to shareholders on request. Neither the expense ratio or the
SAI includes the transaction costs of spreads, normally incurred in unlisted securities and foreign stocks.
These two costs can add significantly to the reported expenses of a fund. The expense ratio is often termed an
Operating Expense Ratio (OER).
The management of a firm's costs and expenses in order to control them in relation to
Income statement (statement of operations)
A statement showing the revenues, expenses, and income (the
difference between revenues and expenses) of a corporation over some period of time.
The company's total earnings, reflecting revenues adjusted for costs of doing business,
depreciation, interest, taxes and other expenses.
A lease arrangement under which the lessee is responsible for all property taxes, maintenance
expenses, insurance, and other costs associated with keeping the asset in good working condition.
Net profit margin
Net income divided by sales; the amount of each sales dollar left over after all expenses
have been paid.
Other current assets
Value of non-cash assets, including prepaid expenses and accounts receivable, due
within 1 year.
The percent of a mutual fund's assets used to defray marketing and distribution expenses. The
amount of the fee is stated in the fund's prospectus. The SEC has recently proposed that 12B-1 fees in excess
of 0.25% be classed as a load. A true " no load" fund has neither a sales charge nor 12b-1 fee.
A method of accounting in which you record expenses when you incur them and sales as you make them—not when you pay bills or receive checks in the mail.
The profit a company makes before expenses and taxes are taken away.
An accounting statement that summarizes information about a company in the following format:
– Cost of goods sold
– Operating expenses
Earnings before income tax
– Income tax
= Net income or (Net loss)
Formally called a “consolidated earnings statement,” it covers a period of time such as a quarter or a year.
The profit a company makes after cost of goods sold, expenses, and taxes are subtracted from net sales.
What’s left over after you subtract the cost of goods sold and all your expenses from sales.
A method of accounting in which profit is calculated as the difference between income when it is earned and expenses when they are incurred.
A method of accounting in which profit is calculated as the difference between income
when it is received and expenses when they are paid.
The profit made by a division after deducting only those expenses that can be controlled by the
divisional manager and ignoring those expenses that are outside the divisional manager’s control.
A general term referring to period costs, such as selling, administration and financial expenses.
The profit made by the business for an accounting period, equal to gross profit less selling, finance, administration etc. expenses, but before deducting interest or taxation.
The difference between income and expenses.
Profit and Loss account
A financial statement measuring the profit or loss of a business – income less expenses – for an accounting period.
Items owned by the company or expenses that have been paid for but have not been used up.
A method of preparing the operating section of the Statement of Cash Flows that does not use the company’s actual cash inflows and cash outflows, but instead arrives at the net cash flow by taking net income and adjusting it for noncash expenses and the changes from last year in the current assets and current liabilities.
The amount of currency and coin that a company keeps on hand to pay for small purchases and expenses.
Well, frankly, accrual is not a good descriptive
term. Perhaps the best way to begin is to mention that accrual-basis
accounting is much more than cash-basis accounting. Recording only the
cash receipts and cash disbursement of a business would be grossly
inadequate. A business has many assets other than cash, as well as
many liabilities, that must be recorded. Measuring profit for a period as
the difference between cash inflows from sales and cash outflows for
expenses would be wrong, and in fact is not allowed for most businesses
by the income tax law. For management, income tax, and financial
reporting purposes, a business needs a comprehensive record-keeping
system—one that recognizes, records, and reports all the assets and liabilities
of a business. This all-inclusive scope of financial record keeping
is referred to as accrual-basis accounting. Accrual-basis accounting
records sales revenue when sales are made (though cash is received
before or after the sales) and records expenses when costs are incurred
(though cash is paid before or after expenses are recorded). Established
financial reporting standards require that profit for a period
must be recorded using accrual-basis accounting methods. Also, these
authoritative standards require that in reporting its financial condition a
business must use accrual-basis accounting.
A street-smart term that refers to the practice by many businesses
of recording very large lump-sum write-offs of certain assets or
recording large amounts for pending liabilities triggered by business
restructurings, massive employee layoffs, disposals of major segments of
the business, and other major traumas in the life of a business. Businesses
have been known to use these occasions to record every conceivable
asset write-off and/or liability write-up that they can think of in
order to clear the decks for the future. In this way a business avoids
recording expenses in the future, and its profits in the coming years will
be higher. The term is derisive, but investors generally seem very forgiving
regarding the abuses of this accounting device. But you never
know—investors may cast a more wary eye on this practice in the future.
The annual sales volume level at which total contribution
margin equals total annual fixed expenses. The breakeven point is only a
point of reference, not the goal of a business, of course. It is computed by
dividing total fixed expenses by unit margin. The breakeven point is
quite useful in analyzing profit behavior and operating leverage. Also, it
gives manager a good point of reference for setting sales goals and
understanding the consequences of incurring fixed costs for a period.
cash burn rate
A relatively recent term that refers to how fast a business
is using up its available cash, especially when its cash flow from operating
activities is negative instead of positive. This term most often refers
to a business struggling through its start-up or early phases that has not
yet generated enough cash inflow from sales to cover its cash outflow for
expenses (and perhaps never will).
An obvious but at the same time elusive term that refers to cash
inflows and outflows during a period. But the specific sources and uses
of cash flows are not clear in this general term. The statement of cash
flows, which is one of the three primary financial statements of a business,
classifies cash flows into three types: those from operating activities
(sales and expenses, or profit-making operations), those from
investing activities, and those from financing activities. Sometimes the
term cash flow is used as shorthand for cash flow from profit (i.e., cash
flow from operating activities).
cash flow from operating activities, or cash flow from profit
This equals the cash inflow from sales during the period minus the cash
outflow for expenses during the period. Keep in mind that to measure
net income, generally accepted accounting principles require the use of
accrual-basis accounting. Starting with the amount of accrual-basis net
income, adjustments are made for changes in accounts receivable,
inventories, prepaid expenses, and operating liabilities—and depreciation
expense is added back (as well as any other noncash outlay
expense)—to arrive at cash flow from profit, which is formally labeled
cash flow from operating activities in the externally reported statement
of cash flows.
An intermediate measure of profit equal to sales revenue
minus cost-of-goods-sold expense and minus variable operating
expenses—but before fixed operating expenses are deducted. Profit at
this point contributes toward covering fixed operating expenses and
toward interest and income tax expenses. The breakeven point is the
sales volume at which contribution margin just equals total fixed
Current refers to cash and those assets that will be turned
into cash in the short run. Five types of assets are classified as current:
cash, short-term marketable investments, accounts receivable, inventories,
and prepaid expenses—and they are generally listed in this order in
the balance sheet.
Current means that these liabilities require payment in
the near term. Generally, these include accounts payable, accrued
expenses payable, income tax payable, short-term notes payable, and
the portion of long-term debt that will come due during the coming year.
Keep in mind that a business may roll over its debt; the old, maturing
debt may be replaced in part or in whole by new borrowing.
earnings before interest and income tax (EBIT)
A measure of profit that
equals sales revenue for the period minus cost-of-goods-sold expense
and all operating expenses—but before deducting interest and income
tax expenses. It is a measure of the operating profit of a business before
considering the cost of its debt capital and income tax.
extraordinary gains and losses
No pun intended, but these types of gains
and losses are extraordinarily important to understand. These are nonrecurring,
onetime, unusual, nonoperating gains or losses that are
recorded by a business during the period. The amount of each of these
gains or losses, net of the income tax effect, is reported separately in the
income statement. Net income is reported before and after these gains
and losses. These gains and losses should not be recorded very often, but
in fact many businesses record them every other year or so, causing
much consternation to investors. In addition to evaluating the regular
stream of sales and expenses that produce operating profit, investors
also have to factor into their profit performance analysis the perturbations
of these irregular gains and losses reported by a business.
gross margin, or gross profit
This first-line measure of profit
equals sales revenue less cost of goods sold. This is profit before operating
expenses and interest and income tax expenses are deducted. Financial
reporting standards require that gross margin be reported in
external income statements. Gross margin is a key variable in management
profit reports for decision making and control. Gross margin
doesn’t apply to service businesses that don’t sell products.
Financial statement that summarizes sales revenue
and expenses for a period and reports one or more profit lines for the
period. It’s one of the three primary financial statements of a business.
The bottom-line profit figure is labeled net income or net earnings by
most businesses. Externally reported income statements disclose less
information than do internal management profit reports—but both are
based on the same profit accounting principles and methods. Keep in
mind that profit is not known until accountants complete the recording
of sales revenue and expenses for the period (as well as determining any
extraordinary gains and losses that should be recorded in the period).
Profit measurement depends on the reliability of a business’s accounting
system and the choices of accounting methods by the business. Caution:
A business may engage in certain manipulations of its accounting methods,
and managers may intervene in the normal course of operations for
the purpose of improving the amount of profit recorded in the period,
which is called earnings management, income smoothing, cooking the
books, and other pejorative terms.
negative cash flow
The cash flow from the operating activities of a business
can be negative, which means that its cash balance decreased from
its sales and expense activities during the period. When a business is
operating at a loss instead of making a profit, its cash outflows for
expenses very likely may be more than its cash inflow from sales. Even
when a business makes a profit for the period, its cash inflow from sales
could be considerably less than the sales revenue recorded for the
period, thus causing a negative cash flow for the period. Caution: This
term also is used for certain types of investments in which the net cash
flow from all sources and uses is negative. For example, investors in
rental real estate properties often use the term to mean that the cash
inflow from rental income is less than all cash outflows during the
period, including payments on the mortgage loan on the property.
net income (also called the bottom line, earnings, net earnings, and net
This key figure equals sales revenue for a period
less all expenses for the period; also, any extraordinary gains and losses
for the period are included in this final profit figure. Everything is taken
into account to arrive at net income, which is popularly called the bottom
line. Net income is clearly the single most important number in business
A relatively small percent increase or decrease in
sales volume that causes a much larger percent increase or decrease in
profit because fixed expenses do not change with small changes in sales
volume. Sales volume changes have a lever effect on profit. This effect
should be called sales volume leverage, but in practice it is called operating
The short-term liabilities generated by the operating
(profit-making) activities of a business. Most businesses have three types
of operating liabilities: accounts payable from inventory purchases and
from incurring expenses, accrued expenses payable for unpaid expenses,
and income tax payable. These short-term liabilities of a business are
non-interest-bearing, although if not paid on time a business may be
assessed a late-payment penalty that is in the nature of an interest
The general term profit is not precisely defined; it may refer to net
gains over a period of time, or cash inflows less cash outflows for an
investment, or earnings before or after certain costs and expenses are
deducted from income or revenue. In the world of business, profit is
measured by the application of generally accepted accounting principles
(GAAP). In the income statement, the final, bottom-line profit is generally
labeled net income and equals revenue (plus any extraordinary gains)
less all expenses (and less any extraordinary losses) for the period. Inter-
nal management profit reports include several profit lines: gross margin,
contribution margin, operating profit (earnings before interest and
income tax), and earnings before income tax. External income statements
report gross margin (also called gross profit) and often report one
or more other profit lines, although practice varies from business to
business in this regard.
The profit per unit sold of a product after deducting product
cost and variable expenses of selling the product from the sales price of
the product. Unit margin equals profit before fixed operating expenses
are considered and before interest and income tax are deducted. Unit
margin is one of the key variables in a profit model for decision-making
The net proceeds (after taxes and expenses) of selling the assets
of a company at fair market prices
Operating Cash Flow
Income available after the payment of taxes, plus the value of the
an intentional underestimation of revenues
and/or overestimation of expenses in a budgeting process
for the purpose of including deviations that are likely to
occur so that results will occur within budget limits
a separation of costs into groups based on the similar reason for their incurrence; it includes
cost of goods sold and detailed selling and administrative
a responsibility center in which the manager
is responsible for generating revenues and planning
and controlling expenses and has the authority to acquire,
dispose of, and use plant assets to earn the highest rate
of return feasible on those assets within the confines and
to the support of the organization’s goals
a responsibility center in which managers are responsible for generating revenues and planning and controlling all expenses
the excess of revenues over direct variable expenses and avoidable fixed expenses for a particular segment
The recording of revenue when earned and expenses when
incurred, irrespective of the dates on which the associated cash flows occur.
Constant dollar accounting
A method for restating financial statements by reducing or
increasing reported revenues and expenses by changes in the consumer price index,
thereby achieving greater comparability between accounting periods.
A factor that has a direct impact on the incurring of a cost. For example, adding
an employee results in new costs to purchase office equipment for that person;
therefore, additions to headcount are cost driver for office expenses.
Net earnings after all expenses for an accounting period are subtracted from all
revenues recognized during that period.
An excess of expenses over revenues, either for a single business transaction or in
reference to the sum of all transactions for an accounting period.
The excess of revenues over expenses, including the impact of income taxes.
Pooling of interests
An method for accounting for a business combination. When used, the expenses of the combination are charged against income at once, and the net
income of the acquired company is added to the full-year reported results of the acquiring company.
Financial statement that shows the revenues, expenses, and net income of a firm over a period of time.
Educational Assistance Plan
A plan that an employer creates on behalf of its
employees covering a variety of educational expenses incurred on behalf of
employees, for which they can avoid recognizing some income.
Flexible Spending Account
A form of cafeteria plan allowing employees to pay
for some medical or dependent care expenses with pretax pay deductions.
A fixed rate paid to employees traveling on behalf of a business,
which substitutes for reimbursement of exact expenses incurred.
A wholesale write-down of assets and accrual of liabilities in an effort to make the
balance sheet particularly conservative so that there will be fewer expenses to serve as a drag on future earnings.
Expenditures that are accounted for as assets to be amortized
against income in future periods as opposed to current-period expenses.
Cash Flow Provided by Operating Activities
With some exceptions, the cash effects of transactions
that enter into the determination of net income, such as cash receipts from sales of goods
and services and cash payments to suppliers and employees for acquisitions of inventory and
Cookie Jar Reserves
An overly aggressive accrual of operating expenses and the creation of
liability accounts done in an effort to reduce future-year operating expenses.
A format for the operating section of the cash-flow statement that
presents the derivation of cash flow provided by operating activities. The format starts with net
income and adjusts for all nonoperating items and all noncash expenses and changes in working capital accounts.
An accounting principle that ties expense recognition to revenue recognition,
dictating that efforts, as represented by expenses, are to be matched with accomplishments,
that is, revenue, whenever it is reasonable and practicable to do so.
Revenues or gains and expenses or losses that are not expected to recur
on a regular basis. This term is often used interchangeably with special items.
A contract accounting method that recognizes contract
revenue and contract expenses as progress toward completion is made.
Policy Acquisition Costs
Costs incurred by insurance companies in signing new policies, including expenditures on commissions and other selling expenses, promotion expenses, premium
taxes, and certain underwriting expenses. Refer also to customer, member, or subscriber
Real Actions (Earnings) Management
Involves operational steps and not simply acceleration
or delay in the recognition of revenue or expenses. The delay or acceleration of shipment would
be an example.
A special, nonrecurring charge taken in conjunction with a consolidation
or relocation of operations, or the disposition or abandonment of operations or productive
assets. Such charges may include impairment losses as well as other expenses, such as writedowns
of other assets including accounts receivable and inventory, and accruals of liabilities for
so-called exit costs, including such expenses as lease terminations, closure costs, severance pay,
benefits, and retraining.
Nonrecurring losses or expenses resulting from transactions or events which,
in the view of management, are not representative of normal business activities of the period and
which affect comparability of earnings.
A difference between pretax book income and taxable income that
results from the recognition of revenues or gains and expenses or losses in different periods in the
determination of pretax book and taxable income. Temporary differences give rise to either
deferred tax assets or liabilities.
The cost of holding inventory, which can include insurance,
spoilage, rent, and other expenses.
As the term dividend relates to a corporation's earnings, a dividend is an amount paid per share from a corporation's after tax profits. Depending on the type of share, it may or may not have the right to earn any dividends and corporations may reduce or even suspend dividend payments if they are not doing well. Some dividends are paid in the form of additional shares of the corporation. Dividends paid by Canadian corporations qualify for the dividend tax credit and are taxed at lower rates than other income.
As the term dividend relates to a life insurance policy, it means that if that policy is "participating", the policy owner is entitled to participate in an equitable distribution of the surplus earnings of the insurance company which issued the policy. Surpluses arise primarily from three sources:
1) the difference between anticipated and actual operating expenses,
2) the difference between anticipated and actual claims experience, and
3) interest earned on investments over and above the rate required to maintain policy reserves. Having regard to the source of the surplus, the "dividend" so paid can be considered, in part at least, as a refund of part of the premium paid by the policy owner.
Life insurance policy owners of participating policies usually have four and sometimes five dividend options from which to choose:
1) take the dividend in cash,
2) apply the dividend to reduce current premiums,
3) leave the dividends on deposit with the insurance company to accumulate at interest like a savings plan,
4) use the dividends to purchase paid-up whole life insurance to mature at the same time as the original policy,
5) use the dividends to purchase one year term insurance equal to the guaranteed cash value at the end of the policy year, with any portion of the dividend not required for this purpose being applied under one of the other dividend options.
NOTE: It is suggested here that if you have a participating whole life policy and at the time of purchase received a "dividend projection" of incredible future savings, ask for a current projection. Life insurance company's surpluses are not what they used to be.
Money used to purchase fixed assets for a business, such as land, buildings, or machinery. Also, money invested in a business on the understanding that it will be used to purchase permanent assets rather than to cover day-to-day operating expenses.
In general, refers to a company's total sales less cost of sales and operating expenses, including interest and income tax.
A financial statement that displays a breakdown of total sales and total expenses.
Net Realizable Value
Selling price of an asset less expenses of bringing the asset into a saleable state and expenses of the sale.
management expense ratio (MER)
The total expenses expressed as an annualized percentage of daily average net assets. MER does not include brokerage fees and commissions, which are also payable by the Fund.
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