What Are Operating Expenses For A Business

By | February 7, 2024

What Are Operating Expenses For A Business:

Operating expenses is one of the most common and important financial tasks for any business. It’s also one of the most misunderstood and underestimated areas of running a business. Operating expenses are all the costs that you incur in running your company, from buying office supplies to paying your employees.

This can be anything from paying your mortgage, utilities, car loan or rent payments—to servicing an account with your accountant or signing contracts with suppliers, contractors, and other service providers.


Operating expenses are an essential component to understanding how much money you’ll need to run your business each month. The reason they are so important is because they show you exactly where your money is going—and what type of return you’re getting on that money.‍

You’ll know that running a business requires capital. You need money to buy things that will help you run your new business as well as pay taxes, hire employees, and for other essential business expenses. Operating expenses are the costs associated with running your company.

These include things like advertising, marketing, office rent, salaries for employees, equipment leasing and depreciation on fixed assets like computers and furniture. Keeping track of operating expenses is an important part of running a business.


They can be difficult to manage because they vary from month to month and from year to year depending on the type of business you run and the products you sell or services that you provide. Let’s take a look at some practical examples of operating expenses for a business in South Africa so you can understand how these costs can add up quickly if you don’t keep track of them carefully.


Advertising is the most expensive operating expense for a business, but it also has the potential to generate the most revenue. It is important to note, however, that a high amount of investment in advertising can lead to a low return on investment.

Many factors, including competition, product features, target market and the timing and frequency of your ad campaigns, can affect your total return on investment from advertising. However, for many businesses, the initial cost of advertising is worth it to generate sales.

Advertising is a key way for you to communicate with your target customers. You can use various media, such as television and radio ads, billboards, and online ads, to reach your customers.

The type of advertising you choose depends on your product and your market. For example, if you sell food products, you might choose television ads that feature mouth-watering images of your products and ease the customer into the idea of eating healthy by pairing the food with a healthy snack or drink.


Borrowing is another major operating expense for a business that is often overlooked. If you don’t have the funds to cover a big expense, you are likely to close your business. So, it makes sense to borrow money to fund a business expense.

There are different types of loans to choose from based on your business needs and your personal financial situation. You can borrow money from family and friends, or you can apply for a business loan with a bank or other financial institution.

You can also borrow money from a peer-to-peer lending platform, like Prosper, which connects you with other people who are looking for business financing. When you borrow money, you reduce your cash in the business bank account. Therefore, if you don’t pay the money back quickly, you will have less money in the business bank account.

Office Rent

When you open a business, you need to consider the amount of rent you will pay for your office. The type of office you choose will affect your total rent expense. The best way to save on rent is to find a cheap office space.

You can do this by either renovating an existing office or by simply turning your home into an office. If you choose the latter, you need to make sure that you don’t create a distraction for customers by having a broadcast screen showing your business on a continuous loop. You can also put some signs up outside your window so customers know you are open for business.

Staff salaries and benefits (excluding pensions)

If you have employees, you will have to pay their salaries and benefits, including pensions for some people. If you have only one employee, you have to pay at least 90% of the employee’s salary.

That’s because you don’t meet the threshold for paying employer tax on the salary you pay your employee. Salaries are one of the biggest operating expenses for a business. You will have to calculate their cost and make sure they are fair.

You also have to make sure that they are enough to pay for the employee’s salary, benefits and taxes. For example, if you want to hire someone to work as an accountant in your business, you need to pay them at least the same salary as an accountant who works for a company.

Depreciation on equipment

You will have to account for depreciation on your equipment. This includes things like computers, laptops, software, printers, cameras and other hardware. The amount you will account for depreciation on your equipment will depend on how often you use it.

If you use it for 30 days or less, you will have to depreciate it for the first year. If you use it for more than 30 days, you will have to depreciate it for the year in which you use it. You will have to calculate the depreciation expense from time to time as part of your business taxes.

Taxes and Fees

Another operating expense for a business is taxes and fees. These include things like the value added tax (VAT), property taxes and electricity costs.

Many of these expenses are made mandatory by government laws and regulations. You should make sure that you keep track of your expenses related to taxes and fees so that you don’t end up paying too much or falling foul of any regulations.


Operating expenses are the costs associated with running your business. They include things like advertising, borrowing, office rent, staff salaries and benefits (excluding pensions), depreciation on equipment, taxes and fees and more. If you don’t keep track of these costs, they can quickly add up.


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