Selling, General, And Administrative Expenses: Financial Modelling Terms Explained

By: Flaka Ismaili    May 24, 2022

Management often attempts to keep SG&A costs limited to a certain percentage of revenue, but that figure may vary a great deal, depending on sector and industry. Firms with highly variable cost structures are said to have low operating leverage. They might have more competition, but they can more easily survive painful declines in revenue and cash flow. SG&A stands for “selling, general & administrative”, and is a catch-all category of expenses that is inclusive of spending that isn’t a direct cost, otherwise known as cost of goods sold (COGS). SG&A, or “selling, general and administrative” describes the expenses incurred by a company not directly tied to generating revenue.

There are several subtle differences between SG&A expenses and operating expenses. Larger companies often separate these types of costs into smaller, specific SG&A categories as this is often easier for companies to track and monitor costs in these groups. Management often has discretion how many of these costs are reported on the income statement in respects to how to group these types of costs. SG&A expenses are mostly comprised of costs that are considered part of general company overhead, since they cannot be traced to the sale of specific products. For example, sales commissions directly relate to product sales, and yet may be considered part of SG&A. When an SG&A cost is considered a direct cost, it is acceptable to shift the cost into the cost of goods sold classification on the income statement.

What Are Some SG&A Typical Expenses?

She has participated in numerous events dedicated to business management and marketing. Anastasia is inspired by the fact that each successful business is a result of proper structuring so she tries to analyze every step and wants to share her Sg&a Expense Selling observations with others. Getting tax return and payment filing done on time is easier when you know what to expect and when they are due. As a business owner, you have many options for paying yourself, but each comes with tax implications.

Sg&a Expense Selling

SG&A expenses as a percent of revenue are generally high for healthcare and telecommunications businesses but relatively low for real estate and energy. For example, companies are often required to maintain insurance and may find it impossible to operate without incurring a cost of maintain its headquarters. SG&A plays a key role in a company’s profitability and the calculation of its break-even point. SG&A is also one of the first places managers look to when reducing redundancies after mergers or acquisitions. That makes it an easy target for a management team looking to quickly boost profits. You may have noticed that independent contractor payments are now reported on the tax form 1099-NEC rather than the 1099-MISC.

Understanding Selling, General, and Administrative Expenses (SG&A)

General expenses would be things such as rent, utilities, office supplies, and insurance. Administrative costs include salaries for staff and executives, as well as fees or salaries for services such as IT, accounting, or attorneys. SG&A includes all non-production expenses incurred by a company in any given period.

Is selling expense a general expense?

Operating expenses—also known as selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A)—are the costs of doing business. They include rent and utilities, marketing and advertising, sales and accounting, management and administrative salaries.

SG&A also excludes research and development (R&D) costs, as well as depreciation and amortization, which are different categories of operating expenses. In an income statement, gross profit less SG&A (and depreciation expense) equals the operating profit, also known as earnings before interest and tax (EBIT). Once SG&A is deducted from gross profit – assuming there are no other operating expenses – operating income (EBIT) remains. To determine whether an expense is an SG&A cost or a product cost, evaluate the expense’s relationship to the production process. If the expense is directly related to producing a good or service, it is a product cost.

SG&A: Selling, General, Administrative Expenses – Definition and Explanation

Sometimes, operating expenses are listed under an “operating expenses” heading, though this is not always the case, as seen in these examples. Below is an overview of SG&A, including examples, how it is accounted for, and how it differs from other operating expenses. Sometimes, the terms SG&A and operating expenses are used interchangeably. High SG&A costs in relation to revenue can be a problem for almost any business.

  • There are also a few specific categories that are part of operating expenses but are excluded from SG&A.
  • Look for more detail and insight on cost component classification in the company’s financial statement footnotes.
  • Companies with high administrative fees may not operate as efficiently as those with low overhead costs, which can negatively impact their bottom line.
  • Non-operating expenses are costs incurred by a business that are unrelated to core operations.
  • General and administrative (G&A) expenses are the day-to-day operational costs.
  • A variable cost structure is one in which the SG&A costs keep pace with sales.

For example, a young company may have a significantly higher SG&A ratio than a more established one. The bottom line expenses, such as “interest expense” and “provision for income taxes,” come next. COGS, or in this case, “cost of revenue” stands above these items, while “income before income taxes” and “provision for income taxes” are the bottom line items above net income. Below are two real-life income statement examples from Microsoft Inc.’s (MSFT) 10-K form and Netflix, Inc.’s (NFLX) latest 10-Q filing.

To calculate a company’s operating income, you subtract operating expenses from its gross revenue. In business, it’s essential to manage SG&A expenses effectively to ensure the company’s financial health. It can be done by regularly monitoring SG&A expenses, identifying areas where costs can be reduced, and implementing cost-saving measures where appropriate. Companies can also compare their SG&A costs to industry averages to assess their competitiveness and identify areas for improvement. Remember that the classification of certain costs might depend on the specific context and industry.

Sg&a Expense Selling

The following pictures reflect how payment processing fees are changing over time. As part of its Q financial reporting, Apple reported $12.809 billion of operating expenses for the quarter. Of this, $6.797 billion was research and development, while $6.012 billion was selling, general, and administrative. Although the company does state that increases to SG&A from prior periods relates to headcount, advertising, and professional services, there is little more transparency beyond these notes. Selling, general & administrative expenses (SG&A), also known as operating expenses, are the costs involved in daily business operations.

Understanding and controlling SG&A can help companies manage their overhead, reduce costs and sustain profitability. They are incurred in the day-to-day operations of a business and may not be directly tied to any specific function or department within the company. They are usually fixed costs that are incurred disregarding the amount of sales or production incurred during a certain period.

The selling, general and administrative expense (SG&A) is comprised of all operating expenses of a business that are not included in the cost of goods sold. Management should maintain tight control over these costs, since they increase the break even point of a business. It may be broken out into a number of expense line items, or consolidated into a single line item (which is more common when the condensed income statement is presented).

The two main categories of expenses on an income statement are the cost of goods sold (COGS) and selling, general, and administrative (SG&A) expenses. COGS is the expense that most directly drives revenue and refers to the direct costs of manufacturing goods sold. Selling expenses are direct, meaning at the time of the sale, as well as indirect, meaning before and after the sale. General and administrative expenses refer mainly to the day-to-day overhead costs.

Sg&a Expense Selling