Definition Of Selling General And Administrative Sg&a Expenses


SG&A plays a key role in a company’s profitability and the calculation of its break-even point. That’s the point at which the company’s revenue generated and its expenses incurred are the same. Selling expenses can be broken down into direct and indirect costs. Interest expense is one of the notable expenses not included in SG&A. SG&A expenses are incurred in day-to-day business operations.


Business accounting software can help accurately and efficiently track your SG&A and other expenses and help you improve your company’s financial health. SG&A expenses comprise all the day-to-day operating costs of running a business that aren’t related to producing a good or service. This includes a wide range of expenses, such as rent, advertising and marketing, and salaries of management and administrative staff. SG&A does not include the direct costs of producing goods or acquiring goods for sale, which are calculated separately as cost of goods sold .


But typically, selling, general, and administrative expenses represent the same costs as operating expenses. Indirect selling expenses include advertising and marketing costs, the company’s telephone bills and travel costs, and the salaries of its sales personnel. Such expenses occur throughout the manufacturing process and even after the product is finished.

SG&A (alternately SGA, SAG, G&A or SGNA) is an initialism used in accounting to refer to Selling, General and Administrative Expenses, which is a major non-production cost presented in an income statement . A company can’t ignore these costs cannot as they are important in understanding how effectively the business is running. And, management should exercise tight control over such costs as they can raise the break-even point for the company. Salaries and commissions paid to the employees not directly involved in the manufacturing process come under SG&A. Further, wages and salaries paid to the sales team, engineers, and accountants also come under salaries and commission. SG&A Benchmarks – Energy Sector provides SG&A spending information for 237 publicly traded companies in two industries within the energy sector with over $10 million in annual sales.

  • On an income statement, SG&A and any other related expenses are listed below the gross margin.
  • Any costs related to manufacturing or sales would not be a part of SG&A.
  • While a variety of distortions are possible, there are, as we shall see, several ways of correcting for them.
  • Some costs can be either the cost of goods sold or the SG&A expenses.
  • Office rent, utilities, and insurance all are costs of doing business.
  • Depreciation of assets is also a selling and administrative expense.
  • Examples include marketing expenses, web and social media expenses, and marketing, advertising and promotion costs.

Direct selling expenses are different than most other SG&A expenses because they are often variable. When a product or unit is sold, it needs to be packed and shipped and if a commissioned salesperson was involved, there will be sales commissions due. Operating costs are expenses companies incur during normal operations. An operating expense is an ongoing cost of running a business. Operating expenses include all of the expenses that aren’t covered under cost of goods sold, such as rent, equipment, and marketing. Direct selling expenses are incurred only when the product is sold and are related to the fulfillment of orders. They include the costs of shipping and shipping supplies, delivery charges, and the payment of sales commissions.

Cut Overhead Costs

Mergers And AcquisitionsMergers and acquisitions (M&A) are collaborations between two or more firms. In a merger, two or more companies functioning at the same level combine to create a new business entity. In an acquisition, a larger organization buys a smaller business entity for expansion. When a company is looking to cut costs, SG&A is often the focus in implementing cost controls. Monitoring and understanding your SG&A expenses is important because it effects your bottom line. This is obviously a very simplified income statement to give you an idea of the order in which it is categorized on the income statement.

Our online training provides access to the premier financial statements training taught by Joe Knight. Learn finance in a fun and clear way that’s easy and painless. Expressed as a percentage, the net profit margin shows how much of each dollar collected by a company as revenue translates into profit. SG&A includes almost every business expense that isn’t included in the cost of goods sold . When these expenses are deducted from the gross margin, the result is net income. Managers typically target SG&A for cost reductions because they do not directly affect the product or service. SG&A expenses are not assigned to a specific product, and therefore are not included in the cost of goods sold .

  • On occasion, it may also include depreciation expense, depending on what it’s related to.
  • Up to that time, the company’s accounting staff had been using the percent-of-sales method for allocating SG&A expenses to each of the manufacturing divisions.
  • However, for growing businesses, it can be helpful to track SG&A expenses, particularly if you’re in the manufacturing sector.
  • For companies implementing cost-cutting initiatives, the first area they look at tends to be SG&A as opposed to COGS.

In simple terms, when you want to buy grocery from a supermarket, the transportation cost to get you to the supermarket and back is the indirect expenses. Other selling expense is indirectly related to the number of units sold.

Why Do You Need To Know Sg&a For Your Business?

The profitability therefore increases as well, ofsetting those higher costs. SG&A costs include any expenses related to the operation of the company but not directly linked to producing and delivering its products. To calculate a total SG&A figure for an annual income statement, you’ll have to go through your company’s books for that year and add up all of the non-COGS, interest or income tax expenses you see there. SG&A expense and its revenue ratio play a key role in explaining company profitability. Companies and investors often use a ratio that compares SG&A expense with sales revenue as one way to measure a company’s financial health. If the ratio is too high or increases with time, this may indicate difficulties sustaining profitability.

Use of our products and services are governed by ourTerms of Use andPrivacy Policy. When SG&A expenses are “ordinary” and “necessary” to your type of business, the IRS typically allows you to deduct them for the tax year in which they were incurred.

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Helstrom attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and has her Bachelor of Science in accounting. Reduction of non-sales personnel salaries, cut in travel costs will help to regularize these costs. ShareholdersA shareholder is an individual or an institution that owns one or more shares of stock in a public or a private corporation and, therefore, are the legal owners of the company. The ownership percentage depends on the number of shares they hold against the company’s total shares.


The hours spent by the sales force in the field were also logged and allocated to the different market segments. The impact of the new method on the profit performance of each of the company’s product lines can be seen in Part B of Exhibit I. Sales reports prepared by corporate staff would be allocated on the basis of the same ratio used to charge sales office overhead to each product line. To get a more accurate measure of each line’s profit-and-loss performance, a specialist from marketing and another from manufacturing services developed a more precise SG&A allocation formula.

General And Administrative Expenses G&a In Sg&a

sg&a expense is listed below gross profit, followed by other expenses that do not fall under SG&A or COGS, such as financial expenses which do not directly relate to central operations. After all these expenses are deducted from revenue, profit or loss is what we call net income, quite literally, “the bottom line” on the income statement. On the income statement, total revenue is shown and reduced by COGS to arrive at gross profit. This shows how much revenue remains to cover operating expenses and hopefully still leave a profit. The two main categories of expenses on an income statement are the cost of goods sold and selling, general, and administrative (SG&A) expenses.

SG&A expense is a line item on the income statement, though sometimes sales and marketing expenses are reported separately from general and administrative expenses. Julius Mansa is a CFO consultant, finance and accounting professor, investor, and U.S. Department of State Fulbright research awardee in the field of financial technology. He educates business students on topics in accounting and corporate finance.

Too much refinement may impose unjustifiable record-keeping costs. As the controller explained to the CEO, the erratic profit performance of the comb line resulted from the magnified impact of the sharp change in sunglasses sales on the comb line’s percentage of revenue. More sales effort was required to sell sunglasses; advertising, promotion, and packaging costs were also much higher for sunglasses. The manufacturing services specialist also suggested that corporate quality control costs be divided according to the number of QC employees assigned to each division. Other corporate services that couldn’t easily be charged to each product line could be allocated by simply dividing those costs by the number of product lines. Each line would absorb an equal amount of the costs on the assumption that these services were equally available to all divisions at any time. When a company’s raw materials costs vary greatly among its product lines, severe distortions in SG&A costs can result if accountants use conventional percent-of-sales or cost-of-sales methods of allocation.

On occasion, it may also include depreciation expense, depending on what it’s related to. Though selling, general, and administrative expenses are not directly attributable to the manufacturing and selling of products, they should increase in proportion to the sales. If these items keep on increasing, but the sale is dropping, the company must bring down these expenses. Excessive increase in the SG&A costs might bring down the profitability of the company. When a company incurs the cost of running a facility, it falls under SG&A.

While appears on every company’s income statement, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes reducing SG&A costs. Indirect selling expenses – these types of expenses are usually generated either before a sale or after a sale.

Company Advertising & Media Spend

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. If you’re trying to get a better handle on your business finances, Bench can help. This means that 26.65% of every dollar XYZ Inc. earns gets spent on SG&A expenses. Self-employment taxes require quarterly payments calculated at a higher rate than employees who have their payments deducted from each of their paychecks. Getting tax return and payment filing done on time is easier when you know what to expect and when they are due.

Hearst Newspapers participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites. The details of how SG&A expenses are calculated vary widely from company to company, so YCharts recommends looking at the annual report (10-k) an investor is interested in dissecting this number further. Firms must often reduce SG&A costs through cost-cutting moves, such as employee layoffs, when they grow too large without a rise in sales. The same might happen when sales drop for a long stretch of time.

Further, any repairs attributable to the buildings, office equipment, plant, and machinery also come under Selling, general and administrative expenses. Depreciation of assets is also a selling and administrative expense. The Hackett Group® is a leading global strategy and operations consulting firm, with particular expertise in performance benchmarking and process transformation. We also offer supply chain consulting that can help you form a forward-looking supply chain strategy and better manage supplier relationships and inventory. 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.

SG&A expense represents a company’s non-production costs in selling goods and running daily operations. Properly managing and understanding SG&A is crucial to control costs and sustain long-term profitability. After mergers or in times of financial hardship, SG&A expense is the first area that management would examine to cut costs without impacting manufacturing or sales. At the same time, companies need to act wisely in making these decisions. Aggressive cuts in spending may yield short-term improvements while resulting in a long-term decline in revenue.

Materials Cost Distortions

Pharmaceutical, biotech and health care companies often report SG&A expenses of 40%–50% or more, sometimes due to high sales and marketing costs. For these reasons, SG&A expenses should be compared with similar companies, if possible. Direct selling expenses are incurred when a unit of a product or service is sold. For example, once a product is sold, it must be packed and shipped. If sold by a commissioned salesperson, representative or partner, a sales commission may be due. Unlike many SG&A expenses, direct selling expenses are often variable. Indirect selling expenses are incurred either before or after the sale is made, and examples include salaries, benefits, and wages for salespeople, travel, and accommodation expenses.

Human Resources

Still others, such as the costs of renting new retail locations or deploying a new website, are linked to business strategy, and accurate SG&A projections depend on researching the potential costs. SG&A is part of a company’s operating expenses, and some companies, especially smaller firms, use the terms SG&A and operating expenses interchangeably. However, U.S. accounting standards treat R&D as a separate operating expense that’s not part of SG&A. Depreciation is typically reported as a separate line item within operating expenses, too. Both operating expenses and SG&A are key components of tracking net income, or what’s left over after subtracting expenses and taxes from revenue. G&A expenses are the overhead costs of a business, many of which are fixed or semi-fixed. These costs don’t relate directly to selling products or services but rather to the general ongoing operation of the business.

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