Operating Expense Examples Top 15 Most Common Examples of OPEX

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Operating costs are the expenses a business incurs in its normal day-to-day operations. Startup costs, on the other hand, are expenses a startup must pay as part of the process of starting its new business. Even before a business opens its doors for the first time or begins production of a new product, it will have to spend money just to get started. Fixed costs can help in achieving economies of scale, as when many of a company’s costs are fixed, the company can make more profit per unit as it produces more units.

However, it is an operational activity for real-estate companies, given that the purchased building is intended for resale. The operating activities primarily cover the commercial activities of the company. Operating expenses reflect the operational activities, not the investing or financing activities of a company. Insurance ExpensesInsurance Expense, also called Insurance Premium, is the amount a Company pays to obtain an insurance contract for covering their risk from any unexpected catastrophe. You can calculate it as a fixed percentage of the sum insured & it is paid at a daily pre-specified period.


The following is the income statement of Microsoft Inc for the year ended June 30, 2020. This is possible only if you know how much your business has spent on staff salaries. Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation.

Most operating costs are considered variable costs because they change with the production level or size of the business. A company’s senior management tries to reduce operating expenses and utility costs by outsourcing areas of the business or allowing some of the existing staff to work from home. This cuts down on the actual physical space needed for staff at the office. Management also implements money-saving techniques such as automating parts of the business or reducing salaries for new hires. A non-operating expense is an expense incurred by a business that is unrelated to the business’s core operations. The most common types of non-operating expenses are interest charges or other costs of borrowing and losses on the disposal of assets.

Are Wages Operating Expenses?

But suffer loss in the long-term if you lay off too many employees. You will always pursue business operations to maximize business earnings. These earnings depend on the amount of business revenue generated and expenses incurred to operate the business. Thus, you need to deduct operating expenses from total business revenue to compute the operating income of your business.



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Take a look at your company’s income statement, and you might see a section devoted to operating expenses. Ever wondered what that means and why operating expenses are separate from other items on your income statement? It is important to distinguish between operating expenses and capital expenditures as the two are treated differently for accounting purposes. OpexOperating expense is the cost incurred in the normal course of business and does not include expenses directly related to product manufacturing or service delivery.

Examples of COGS

As you can see from the formula above, operating expenses are subtracted from a business’s gross profit, and the result is the company’s operating income. In such a way, a manager can better understand the nature of the expense. A fixed cost remains the same no matter what the production level is, while variable cost does vary with the number of products or services that a company produces. Selling ExpensesThe amount of money spent by the sales department on selling a product is referred to as selling expenses.

Capital expenditures are assets that are purchased and have a multiyear life, and are used in the operations of the business.. Purchasing machinery, for example, is considered a capital expenditure, whereas, repair and maintenance of the machinery is considered an operating expense. Operating expenses are the costs that a company incurs for running its day-to-day operations. As such, they don’t apply to any costs related to the production of goods and services. These expenses must be ordinary and customary costs for the industry in which the company operates.

This helps you in analyzing how each of the costs is linked to your business’s revenue-generating activities. Further, it also helps you to know if you can run your business efficiently or not. In this article, we are going to talk about the operating costs definition, operating costs formula, and calculation. This is one of the factors business owners look at when considering staff cuts. If products and services are not profitable enough, business owners may need to look at areas where they can cut expenses.

Examples of operating expenses

It will differ depending on the business model, industry and the business’s maturity. But as a general rule, keeping operating costs under control and selling more of your products or services creates more free cash flow for the business, which is a good thing. Administrative expenses such as full-time staff salaries or hourly wages are considered part of a company’s operating expenses.

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Capital expenses, or CapEx, are one-time expenditures of tangible or nontangible assets that are reflected on a company’s balance sheet. These assets usually have a lifespan of one year or more and bring longer-term value to the business. CapEx includes costs related to acquiring or upgrading capital assets such as property, plant, and equipment. These expenses, unlike operating expenses, can be capitalized for tax purposes. The IRS has guidelines related to how businesses must capitalize assets, and there are different classes for different types of assets. A fixed cost is set for a fixed period of time; it doesn’t change.

Resources for YourGrowing Business

For example, if a company cuts its advertising costs, its short-term profits will likely improve since it is spending less money on operating costs. However, by reducing its advertising, the company might also reduce its capacity to generate new business such that earnings in the future could suffer. Trimming operating costs too much can reduce a company’s productivity and, as a result, its profit as well. While reducing any particular operating cost will usually increase short-term profits, it can also hurt the company’s earnings in the long term.

It is the comparison of the cost of operating a property vs the income that it brings in. Cost of goods sold (COGS, also referred to as “Cost of sales”) is a financial metric that represents the direct costs of producing and selling a product or service. The statement of cash flows is where the actual timing of cash payments for all expenditures will be reflected. To learn more, check out CFI’s free tutorial on how to link the three financial statements in Excel. Now, the per-unit variable cost of production remains constant for a given level of output.

Operating Expenses

No, income tax expense is considered a non-operating expense and should not be included when calculating operating expenses for a business. Understanding operating expenses is vital for you to keep accurate accounting records and stay focused on keeping your business profitable and strong. More overhead costs and operating expenses mean less profit for your business. By tracking operating expenses accurately and quickly, you can make informed, forward-thinking decisions that help you scale and succeed long-term.

Unfortunately, in many cases, the first cuts are usually made in staffing cash disbursement journals, particularly since fixed costs such as rent are non-negotiable in most cases. This refers to fixed assets bought by a company that depreciate in value over time. Assets that depreciate include warehouse equipment and machinery, furniture, computer equipment, delivery vehicles, buildings and store displays.

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It is unreasonable to issue a check for such small expenses and for managing the same custodians are appointed by the company. Since this expense is incurred for the benefit of the employees, it’s an operating expense for the company to keep them motivated by providing safety and security. The Repair and maintenance operating expense on the asset used for a production like repairing requirements of machines or the vehicles in the company.


Non-operating expenses appear below the operating expenses in your income statement. The very reason is to allow you to assess the core operations of your business. Thus, your company’s revenue is the first item that appears on the income statement. Then, you deduct COGS from revenue to determine your company’s gross income.

  • Companies sometimes can cut costs for a particular quarter, which inflates their earnings temporarily.
  • For instance, if your business undergoes reorganization due to bankruptcy.
  • An operating expense is an expense that a business incurs through its normal business operations.
  • Cost of goods sold (COGS, also referred to as “Cost of sales”) is a financial metric that represents the direct costs of producing and selling a product or service.
  • Automation reduces errors borne of manual data entry and makes a time-consuming process much more efficient.

Both capital expenditures and operating expenses represent outlays by the company. Both are usually acquired in exchange for cash and may go through a similar purchasing process. This includes solicitation of a bid, contracting, legal review, orchestration of financial payment, and receipt of the purchase.

While that formula is pretty straightforward, it’s not always immediately obvious whether, for instance, a transportation-related cost should be placed under COGS or OpEx. Brainyard delivers data-driven insights and expert advice to help businesses discover, interpret and act on emerging opportunities and trends. This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice. Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

Operating expenses differ by industry and how a company decides to operate based on its business model. As a general rule, an increase in any type of operating costs lowers profit. Operating expenses are represented on a balance sheet as a liability. Because they are a financial expense that does not directly contribute to selling services or products, they aren’t considered assets. Operating expenses are necessary and unavoidable for most businesses. Some firms successfully reduce operating expenses to gain a competitive advantage and increase earnings.

Operating expenses are any costs incurred through daily business activities that don’t fall under cost of goods sold. Variable operating expenses, such as packaging or shipping costs, fluctuate depending on the volume of an activity or the occupancy rate of a property. Conversely, fixed operating expenses, such as salaries or mortgage payments, remain consistent, as they are not influenced by volume or occupancy. Having a clear picture of OpEx, COGS and non-OpEx is crucial to figuring out whether your business is profitable. There is no hard-and-fast rule on the ideal percentage of operating costs relative to revenue.

Rental Cost is paid for the properties used for providing the support related to the production. The Salaries, wages, and other benefits are given to the staff related to the production of goods. Sales CommissionSales commission is a monetary reward awarded by companies to the sales reps who have managed to achieve their sales target. It is an incentive geared towards producing more sales and rewarding the performers while simultaneously recognizing their efforts.

That’s because higher costs eat away at a business’s profits or bottom line. Knowing your operating expenses allows you to calculate your company’s operating expense ratio . The OER gives you a direct comparison of your expenses to your income so that you can compare your business to others in your industry.

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