What is SG&A Selling, General & Administrative Expense?

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  • An income statement is one of the four primary financial statements.
  • After a merger, for example, businesses often focus on reducing SG&A by consolidating duplicative functions and reducing headcount.
  • General and administrative expenses (G&A) are incurred in the day-to-day operations of a business and may not be directly tied to a specific function.
  • If unchanged in recent years, the SG&A ratio assumption for projected periods can be extended throughout the entirety of the forecast period.
  • These are the day-to-day operating costs needed to run a business but that are not related to the production of goods and/or services.
  • For example, if you have a website or CDN for marketing and sales, then of course that’s a production cost.

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Some non-operating expenses

Pretty much everyone needs one, plus a screen, keyboard, and mouse. Some – especially travelling staff – will also need a work phone to stay connected during trips. But you also have the small, ongoing expenses that continue to crop up.

SG&A expenses are an important benchmark as to the company’s break-even point. Regardless of sales, a business needs to cover this mostly fixed overhead cost before it can begin to turn a profit, so understanding SG&A is important for management to understand. When companies undergo mergers, SG&A is the first place they look to reduce redundancies.

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 when a unit of a product or service is sold. For example, once a product is sold, it must be packed and shipped.

Financial Glossary

For example, the SG&A ratio for manufacturers can range anywhere around 20% of revenue, while in healthcare it can be up to 50% of revenue. Generally speaking, the lower the SG&A ratio, the better – but the average SG&A ratios varies significantly based on industry. If unchanged in recent years, the SG&A ratio assumption for projected periods can be extended throughout the entirety of the forecast period. The SG&A ratio measures what percent of each dollar earned by a company is impacted by SG&A. Note that SG&A excludes interest expense since interest expense is reported as a “non-operating” expense (i.e. non-core).

For example, an organization has to pay salaries to employees, or the business would close. When you have a good understanding of your SG&A, you can increase your profits over time. One of the ways to do this is by examining the ratio of your SG&A expenses and sales revenue. However, if that ratio increases over time, it may mean that your business needs to cut costs. One of the most common problems with profit and loss statements is that different companies use different categories and terminology to refer to different types of expenses. This can lead to confusion and misunderstandings over what’s actually driving costs in your business.

General Expenses

SG&A includes almost every business expense that isn’t included in the cost of goods sold . SG&A expenses as a percent of revenue are generally high for healthcare and telecommunications businesses but relatively low for real estate and energy. SG&A and any other expenses are listed below the gross margin. 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 . Peggy James is a CPA with over 9 years of experience in accounting and finance, including corporate, nonprofit, and personal finance environments.

Learn financial statement modeling, DCF, M&A, LBO, Comps and Excel shortcuts. SG&A costs are typically reduced after a company merger or acquisition makes it possible to reduce redundancies. If you want to improve profits and cash flow, then click below to learn the 8 steps we take to unlock millions of dollars in untapped profits and cash flow. It explains what you need to prioritize, and how to take proper control of company spending. You should haveone spend management strategy, and every payment should fall under it.

SG&A Example

Choice of the method will depend on if SG&A is a one-line item in the income statement or if it is broken down into individual items. If it is a one-line item, an analyst can use any of the above methods to forecast the SG&A. Differences exist between a company that has a mostly variable cost structure and one that has a mainly fixed cost structure.

Usually, a smaller SGA sales ratio implies that the business is healthy. The company’s accountant prepared the income statement for Q4 FY2019, which included the SGA costs. SMBs Selling, General, And Administrative Expense Sg&a Definition might want to use the SG&A method to identify ways to save money. That’s because it’s an easy way to reduce operational costs without impacting sales and production processes.

The G&A cost can also include the salaries paid to the non-sales personnel. You might encounter a problem when you’re analyzing income statements from two firms in the same industry. Some costs can be either the cost of goods sold or the SG&A expenses. This can make the gross profit margin and the operating profit margin appear to differ, even if the firms are financially identical otherwise. SG&A is the acronym for selling, general and administrative. SG&A are the operating expenses incurred to 1) promote, sell, and deliver a company’s products and services, and 2) manage the overall company.

What is SG&A (Selling, General & Administrative Expense)?

Free Financial Modeling Guide A Complete Guide to Financial Modeling This resource is designed to be the best free guide to financial modeling! The 25% SG&A ratio means that for each dollar of revenue created, $0.25 gets spent on SG&A expenses. The SG&A ratio is simply the relationship between SG&A and revenue – i.e. Financial statements are written records that convey the business activities and the financial performance of a company. Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts.

Selling, General, And Administrative Expense Sg&a Definition

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. 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.

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. SG&A will be reported on the income statement in the period in which the expenses occur. Hence, SG&A expenses are said to be period costs as opposed to being part of a product’s cost. Since SG&A expenses are not a product cost, they are not assigned to the cost of goods sold or to the goods that are in inventory. We will now see some live examples of companies selling General & Administrative expenses.

If you have accurate spend tracking and a consistent way for teams to spend, you can quickly build a strategy to keep a lid on costs without wasting everyone’s time and energy. They get shared around, and it’s never quite clear who made which payment. To achieve all three, you need a robust spending strategy company-wide. The real aim of this article is to show you how smart companies manage G&A expenses.

Selling, General, And Administrative Expense Sg&a Definition

They include shipping supplies, delivery charges, and sales commissions. To accurately project future SG&A costs, some companies attempt to forecast each individual component. Some fixed costs, such as office rent, may be quite predictable. Other SG&A costs, such as shipping costs or sales commissions, will vary.

Why does my business need to pay attention to SG&A?

The most common examples are rent, insurance, utilities, supplies, and expenses related to company management, such as salaries of executives, admin staff, and non-salespeople. Selling, General & Administrative expenses (SG&A) include all everyday operating expenses of running a business that are not included in the production of goods or delivery of services.

Selling, General, And Administrative Expense Sg&a Definition

But average SG&A sales ratios vary wildly based on industry. For example, manufacturers range anywhere from 10% to 25% of sales, while in health care it isn’t unusual for SG&A costs to approach 50% of sales.

They are fixed costs that include rent or mortgage on buildings, utilities, and insurance. G&A costs also include salaries of personnel in certain departments not directly related to sales or production. In fact, this line item includes nearly all business costs not directly attributable to making a product or performing a service. SG&A includes the costs of managing the company and the expenses of delivering its products or services. To correctly track expenses and other important financial data, consider purchasing small business accounting software.

What is a administrative budget?

Key Takeaways. Administrative budgets are financial plans that include all expected selling, general and administrative expenses for a period. Expenses in an administrative budget include any non-production expenses, such as marketing, rent, insurance, and payroll for non-manufacturing departments.

Cutting operating expenses can be less damaging to the core business. https://personal-accounting.org/ Selling expenses include both indirect and direct business costs.


It’s mainly composed of what you can think of as corporate expenses such as sales, marketing, advertising, customer service, human resources, legal fees, accounting and finance, and IT expenses. On the one hand, there are the expenses related to production and delivery of goods/services. When preparing the income statement of the company, accountants bundle together all expenses that directly affect production and delivery of goods into the cost of goods sold line. The second type of costs is those whose influence on product development and delivery is minimal. 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.