Types of Expenses

Learn the Different Types of Expenses in Business

Read about the Types of Expenses in Business. Learn How to Minimize your Taxes and Increase Earnings. Read More to Start Keeping Track of your Expenses.

Are you looking to start your own business but worried about the kind of business expenses or business costs involved? Do you have a clear vision and business idea but the questions like the types of business expenses? What is the list of office expenses? Keeping you from manifesting this idea? Don't worry, we are here to help!


To ease your confusion about the business planning process and office expenses, we have this blog building your knowledge and understanding of the types of expenses for a business, its importance, category of expenses for startups, list of monthly expenses for starts, example of expenses, etc., to give wings to your business dreams.


Let's get started then, shall we?


What are Business Expenses?

Business expenses are the various costs that are incurred while running a business. Depending on the types of expenses for a business, the total cost would be determined. Remember, firstly, the income statement of your business will include the expenses related to your business.


Secondly, your company's taxable net income is always calculated by deducting business expenses from the revenue on the income statement.


Difference between Cost and Expenses

So, as much as expenses are essential to track, costs are necessary to be tracked too! But are they not the same thing? The answer is no. Cost and expense take a different meanings in terms of the following factors:


1. Varied Role

Cost is an investment you make toward buying assets to gain long-term profit. In contrast, an expense is a cost you regularly incur for the smooth functioning of the business and revenue generation.


2. Impact

Cost doesn't directly impact the company's profitability, whereas expense does.


3. Balance Sheet

Cost always appears in the assets section of the balance sheet, whereas expense appears in the profit and loss section.


Why are Expenses Important?

Any business is prone to different types of expenses. Your business's overall operation and functioning depend on how you manage and plan your expenses. Business expenses are crucial for business because of the following reasons:


1. Helps keep Track of the Costs of doing business

Keeping track of different types of expenses in business will give you an idea of the total cost of doing business. Regularly tracking the business expense would help develop a business strategy and plan to tackle different business operations. It will also help you find ways to increase your profit quotient.


2. Helps Make Right Decisions

Maintaining a record of all your company's expenses will help you make the right decision. For example, once you begin categorizing your office expenses list, you will be able to identify the loopholes in your spending. Suppose there's a requirement to spend more in the salary and appraisal category, but you've been falling behind. In that case, you can divert the spending from another category that doesn't require the money.


3. Prepares you for Taxes

Filing taxes is not just essential but also a legal requirement. The balance sheet you maintain for your expenses plays a significant role here. You won't have to worry about lost invoices or any purchase receipt of your expenses for business. Your accounting team will also have a great time filing the taxes when everything is in order.

Remember to always categorize your business expenses as tax-deductible expenses and non-deductible business expenses.


4. Help with cost regulation

Business expenses reflect the different business costs you will bear. A detailed balance sheet with projected and anticipatory business expenses would help to control and regulate the cost of business. If you make a list of office expenses according to the category of expenses, it will help assess and control the office expense cost.


5. Helps Determining Profitability

When you start a business, the goal, obviously, is profit. No one wants to experience loss. But how do you determine whether your business is profitable in the present and the near future? You need to deduct the actual company expense you're incurring from the revenue. It will help you determine if you are up for profit. To calculate profit, you have to keep a record of all your business expenses. A little glitch can cause a considerable loss.


What are the Three Types of Expenses?

Broadly the different types of expenses in business could be categorized under the following three categories:

What are the Three Types of Expenses?

1.  Fixed Expense


The fixed expense remains constant or fixed through the business. It does not depend on other factors like sales or lack of effort. For example, equipment like printers, office chairs, CCTV cameras, rent, salaries, wages, lease payment, other benefits, etc.


2. Variable Expense


It is a type of expense constantly changing from one period to another, that is, month to month, based on different factors like utilities, workers' commissions, sales, raw materials, other resources, etc.


3. Periodic Expense


Periodic expenses occur occasionally. They are like fixed expenses, but they occur in predictable intervals. For example, repair, annual bonuses, product leases, contract payments, etc.


List of Business Expense Categories for Startups         


Any startup owner faces moments of doubt and confusion when it comes to types of expenses. We have your cheat sheet ready. Here is a business expenses list that will help you spend right:

List of Business Expense Categories for Startups

1. Office Space Rent

As a business owner, you might be considering investing in infrastructure. Going for an office space or warehouse on rent is a good option. Remember, this is a tax-deductible expense. Make sure to include this expense while creating your business plan.


2. Utilities

When you own a commercial space, some of the types of expenses you are prone to are utility expenses like maintenance charges, internet, electricity, etc. These expenses are fully deductible.


3. Legal Expenses

Paying professional fees to financial planners, public accountants, etc., are some of the types of expenses you may incur.


4. Office Expenses

Office expenses are unavoidable types of expenses in business. Spending on office supplies, stationery products, cleaning supplies, or eatables for the employees is a routine expense that cannot be avoided. It should be a part of your expense category list.


5. Payroll

One of the significant types of expenses for any company is employee salaries. Employee's compensation, bonuses, or salaries are unavoidable and tax-deductible expenses. It should be included in the company expenses list.


6. Advertising and Marketing

Any startup will invest in the growth of the company. One of the major areas for investment today is in the field of advertising and marketing the business. You can invest in marketing your business through social media by hiring digital marketing professionals and creating promotional material like banners, hoardings, etc. You can also invest in creating a PR campaign with the help of professionals.


7. Website and Software Expenses

In today's network society, it is almost impossible for any business to function without a website. Creating a website is one of the most important investments for any business. A website will contribute significantly to the success of your business by creating brand awareness, helping you gain customers, generate leads, increase sales, etc.


Furthermore, depending on the type of business you own, investing in software required for the success of your business is essential.


8. Vehicle Expenses

Another major type of expense to include in your business plan. Owning a car or a fleet of vehicles depending on the type of business you own, calls for careful consideration of investment. If you only require a car for your business, remember that it's an expensive item to hold, and it should be included in your initial business plan, as the expense is large.


9. Business Insurance

Business insurance is another type of expense incurred by companies to protect infrastructure, equipment, and property through insurance contracts. The company pays a premium on its insurance policies crafted to protect the property, employees, and other assets.


10. Employee Benefits

Any company can achieve its goals if its employees are working toward success, making employees one of the most critical assets. Every company can run a successful venture when it pays attention to its employees as much as customers. The employee retention rate could be improved by ensuring employee benefits like insurance, bonuses, appraisal, etc.


11. Home Office Cost

If you are in the earlier phases of your business and running your business from home, then home office cost is another type of business expense to consider. You may be allowed a little deduction on housing expenses like utilities and property taxes in your annual tax return.


12. Entertainment

Entertainment is another type of business expense a company bears to smoothen the relationship with clients, shareholders, and employees. Entertainment expense includes dinner meetings, company dinner with employees, tour, outings, and other entertaining events conducted for clients or employees. For example, if you invite your client for lunch, you will cover all the expenses, including the bill and tips.


13. Training and Insurance

Every company invests in the growth and development of its employees, and training expenses ensure just that. This type of expense is inclined towards spending on employee's training program, including fees, provision of material required for training, etc. If an activity is conducted for a few days, the company bears the cost of accommodation and food along with the fees and the other expenses involved.


Insurance is a type of expense companies use to retain their employees. Provision of group insurance, medical insurance, etc., helps the employee feel secure working with the company.


List of Monthly Expenses For Small Business

Small businesses require working capital and regular cash flow for their growth and development. Some of the type of expenses small businesses are ex are mentioned below:


1. Capital Expense

Any business, micro, macro, or large, cannot do without capital expenses. Business purchasing assets to increase the company's value through purchase or loan, represents a capital expense. These types of expenses are always recorded as assets on the balance sheet. It includes purchasing fixed assets such as machinery, buildings, etc. It also includes upgrading or purchasing intangible assets such as patents, copyrights, etc.


2. Business or Operating Expense

Operating expenses comprise the day-to-day transactions and functioning of a business. These types of expenses are referred to as OPEX. It is recorded on the company's income statement. Some of the major business or operating types of expenses include:


  • Commercial Property Rent

When you register your business, it is registered under an address. Regardless of the size and nature of your company, you will have to rent out or lease out a property to run your business operations.


  • HR Expenses

The Human Resource (HR) expense depends on the business plan you have created and the type of business you own. A company with a single location would consolidate its human resources costs into a single budget. However, a company with many sites would decide to allocate HR-related line items for the remuneration, training, and hiring costs specific to each location.


A more accurate prediction of profitability at the end of the year may be made by allocating these costs to the areas that benefit from them.


  • Inventory Expenses

These types of expenses in business include all direct and indirect costs, including storage, taxes, insurance, etc., that come with maintaining inventory. Business inventory can be used to lower gross receipts even when it is not tax deductible.


  • Intangible Assets   

Brand recognition, goodwill, and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) such as patents, copyrights, and trademarks are all intangible assets. As the term suggests, these assets cannot be seen or touched. However, these non-physical assets play an essential role in the company.


A company spends money on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities and similar activities to create goodwill and brand image. This is an example of an expense toward intangible assets.


Moreover, when a company spends on innovation and development, it contributes toward the scope of gaining patent or copyright. This is another example of expenses toward intangible assets.


  • Taxes           

Paying taxes is a legal requirement that impacts your company's overall establishment and reputation. The expense is a liability you owe to the government within a period of time. To calculate the tax payable, you will need to multiply the taxable income by the effective tax rate.


  • Marketing and Advertising

Marketing and advertising your company's brand, product, and services through media channels will increase the company's recognition and reputation. This is a recurring cost for any business.

Constant marketing and advertising of the business requires regular cash flow and professionals working behind the scenes. This expense is known as marketing and advertising expense.


  • Business Website

Having a business website is essential for the growth of your company. This requires that the website be regularly maintained and updated. You may incur costs on website design, maintenance, marketing, etc.


  • Traveling Expenses

If your employee is traveling to meet a business need or demand, any expense incurred will be considered a business travel expense. All costs like accommodation, food, travel tickets, laundry, entertainment, etc., will be covered under this expense.


What are Deductible Expenses?

Tax-deductible are the types of business expenses, deemed ordinary, reasonable, or necessary. The expense should generate income. Always keeping records of all expenditures, whether for personal or professional use, is a crucial reminder.


You can then review your invoices or receipts and ask your accountant whether costs are tax deductible. You can use accounting software packages or applications to help track income and expenses to make the process more practical. Some of the tax-deductible expenses are mentioned below for your reference:

What are Deductible Expenses?

What are Non-Deductible Expenses?

Non-deductibles are the types of expenses in business undertaken for personal use. If you go out to lunch with friends or contribute to a political party you adore, it will be considered a non-deductible expense. Some of the non-deductible expenses in a business are mentioned below:

What are Non-Deductible Expenses?

Direct and Indirect Expenses List


Direct Expenses

Direct expenses are associated with a company or business's core operations. Your firm cannot function without these costs. Regardless of your company's financial state, it would be best if you accounted for these costs. These costs are connected to the company's acquisition of raw materials, goods, and services. Direct costs are incurred during the production of goods or rendered service


Direct expenses are necessary whether a company is in the manufacturing, e-commerce, or service industries. Some of the things included in the direct expenses list are:

  • Factory
  • Land
  • Store rent
  • Direct labor and compensation for your firm
  • Main cost of your products or services
  • Supplies for manufacturing


Indirect Expenses

Like direct expenses, a business cannot operate without indirect costs. While direct expenses go toward the cost of the company's basic supplies, indirect expenses are the overhead costs associated with the company's additional services.


Depending on the business's revenue and the type of operation, indirect expenses vary each month. Unlike fixed direct expenses, indirect costs are not fixed and can fluctuate.


Here's what an indirect expenses list includes:

  • Office equipment such as desks, chairs, and stationery.
  • Electricity and water bills
  • Salary and pay for re-sellers
  • Unexpected costs resulting from circumstances


How to Manage Cash Flow Shortfalls?

Businesses can face a rough phase despite doing everything right. There are times when the cash flow falls short. What do you do in such a situation? Panic? No!


Here are three tips you can implement to avoid such situations:


1. Tighten your Spending

Take a look at your expenses and identify where you're spending most of your money. Try to decrease your costs and conserve for future expenses.


2. Run a Credit Check

When providing credit to customers, make sure you run a thorough credit score check on each of them. Refrain from giving credit to those with a bad credit score.


3. Attract Early Payment

Create plans and offers that attract early payment from your customers. For example, initiate discounts for those who pay early.


What are Expenses Tracking Tools?      

Tracking expenses is a habit that a business owner should develop. Keeping in touch with your expenses will help you be ready for the tax season, keep you away from trouble and help you create better plans for your company.


An expense tracker will help you keep a periodic record of your expenses with receipts and bills.

Here are three applications you can use to track your expenses effectively:


1. Zoho

It is one of the best expense tracking tools available in the market. It has UI/UX interface and is very user-friendly. It will help you store all your bills and receipts in one place and help you track your expenses effectively. You can also use the app to track the costs in different currencies overseas.


2. Freshbooks

It is a great software and expense tracking tool. Accounting expenses have never been more manageable! You can send invoices and track time and costs within seconds.


3. Accounting by Wave

A secure and user-friendly software to use. Accountants approve it as a friendly way to keep track of expenses. You can connect the app to your bank account and sync the expenses, balance your books, etc.


What Are Examples of Business Expenses?    

Business expenses are incurred by any company for the various activities carried out daily. The following are a few examples of business expenses:

  • Accounting Fees             
  • Administration Fees
  • Advertising
  • Communication Expenses
  • Bank Fees
  • Consulting Fees
  • Cost of Goods Sold
  • Sales Commissions
  • Education & Training
  • Employee Benefits
  • Meals & Entertainment
  • Marketing Expenses
  • Property Taxes
  • Salaries



Any expense, if properly managed, can contribute to a business's success. Understanding the various types of expenses in business and shortlisting the ones you require is crucial. Decide your business's philosophy and vision. Once that's done, you will be on your way to investing and spending money the right way. Join Amazon Business to gain a customer base for your newly launched products and purchase the best quality products for your office space.


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Related Articles


  • Yes, business expenses can be carried forward. When a business undergoes severe loss, the loss can be recorded in the current year, carried to the preceding years, or carried ahead for as much as 20 years. A business undergoing loss in the current year can benefit from the carry-forward rule to gain future profits.

  • An expense ratio is that customers are charged for managing investment portfolios, exchange-traded funds, or mutual funds. From the investor's point of view, a good expense ratio is around 0.5% to 0.75% for a portfolio that is actively managed.

  • The best way to separate business expenses from personal expenses is to create a mindset to do so, along with a few practical steps.

    ●        Establish the type of business entity

    ●        Open a separate bank account for your business

    ●        Always separate the receipts

    ●        Classify personal expenses and business expenses

  • An essential step to reducing a business expense is to conserve the resources that you have available. For example, save electricity, save on paper usage, water usage, etc. Some other practical steps you can implement are:

    ●        Implement Internet marketing

    ●        Hire Interns

    ●        Outsource HR, Bookkeeping, and IT operations

    ●        Hire freelancers

    ●        Use free online tools available

    ●        Reduce production costs

    ●        Consider making employees Work from Home once a week

  • You can track your small business expenses by creating a budget first. Furthermore, you can implement the following practical steps:

    ●        Invest in accounting software

    ●        Use a business credit card

    ●        Open a business bank account

    ●        Connect the business bank account with the accounting software for ease in transactions

    ●        Regularly check your expenses

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