Sales to Administrative Expense SAE Ratio Formula, Example, Analysis

administrative expenses accounting

For example, the organization incurs commission costs on selling its product. Selling expenses are dependent on the number of goods sold, i.e., selling expenses may be directly proportional to the number of goods sold by an organization. In contrast, they are independent, i.e., either not dependent on the quantity of production level or it is dependent on the specific level of production. General and administrative expenses typically refer to expenses that are still incurred by a company, regardless of whether the company produces or sells anything. This type of expense is shown on the income statement, typically belowcost of goods sold and lumped with selling expenses, forming a selling, general and administrative expense line item. Some administrative expenses are fixed in nature, as they are incurred as part of the foundation of business operations.

For example, if you own a small business with only a few employees, your health insurance premiums will likely stay the same each month regardless of how much revenue you generate. However, if your company grows and you have to add more employees to your insurance plan, the premium will increase. This is because the fixed costs remain the same, but the variable costs go up. It is also important to note that, administrative expenses are incurred at the corporate level and generally not attributable to any department or sub-unit. There are several ways to distinguish between different types of administrative expenses such as if they are fixed, variable, or mixed cost.

How Do You Calculate Selling, General, And Administrative Expenses?

It allows for greater trust and compliance and will boost investor and public confidence. For instance, a company may still rely on manual accounting, which clearly demands a huge workforce. It requires a lot more man-hours, resulting in increased fixed costs. Ideally, management should be responsible for minimizing these costs, although the company might require additional cash flow to help make these improvements. According to this method, office and administrative overheads are added separately to the cost of the job, process, or product according to some suitable basis selected for the purpose.

What are included in administrative expenses?

Administrative expenses are costs that relate to regular business operations. Administrative expenses can be fixed or semi-variable. Common examples include rent, utilities, equipment, supplies, insurance policies, salaries, benefits and legal counsel.

The selling, general, and administrative expenses (SG&A) category includes all of the overhead costs of doing business. The sales to the administrative expense ratio is the calculation of how much of a company’s sales is spent on administrative costs. Additionally, these analysts should also consider this ratio from a historical and industry-specific perspective. If the number is going down from one year to another, then it could be a sign of a problem. This means the fixed costs need to be distributed across lower sales.

Sales to Administrative Expense Ratio Analysis

While the results may differ between industries, a company should typically stay between 10% and 25% for their ratio. A low Sales to Administrative Expense Ratio may indicate a less-than-efficient system within their corporate structure. People in higher income brackets use computers and the Internet more frequently than people with lower incomes. This study found that people with incomes higher administrative expenses accounting than $36,000 have about two times the computer usage and three times the Internet usage than people with less income. Another analysis on IT impacts across 36 nations over the years 1985–1993 had similar results. Dewan and Kraemer found that the contribution of IT capital investment to national productivity is much higher in developed nations than developing and less-developed ones.

administrative expenses accounting

Having a standardized set of rules helps in the unidirectional flow of expenses. To help you project profits and profit margins, you will want to know how increased or decreased sales affect the cost of each widget you sell. For example, if you use $10 worth of materials and labor to make each widget, that might not change, no matter how many widgets you sell. However, the amount of overhead you apply to each widget will decrease as you sell more units, and increase as you sell fewer units.


To manage SG&A expenses effectively, businesses need to track and analyze their costs carefully. The sales-related costs included in SG&A expenses can vary widely, depending on the nature of the business. For example, a business that relies heavily on direct sales might have high sales commissions and other sales-related expenses. On the other hand, a business that relies more on marketing and advertising might have higher advertising and promotion costs. Keep in mind that your general and administrative expenses may differ from other companies’ costs. So, yours may be higher or lower depending on your expenses and business’s needs.

To calculate G&A expenses for a certain time period, all you have to do is add them up. And if you want to calculate your total SG&A, you simply include selling expenses in your calculation. To correctly track expenses and other important financial data, consider purchasing small business accounting software. It expedites and accelerates financial processes while ensuring accuracy and compliance. Some of the best business accounting software solutions also offer free accountant training programs to help you stay up to date on the latest functionalities and take advantage of the software. Especially as your company grows, tracking expenses can be a time intensive process and prone to error if done manually.

Income Statement Presentation

The sales to administrative expense ratio is a financial metric that assesses a company’s ability to handle its non-operating expense to help other operations to bring in more sales. Simply put, if you are managing your fixed costs well, you should have smooth day-to-day operations. In order to come up with the administrative expenses of a certain company, we have to rule out the direct delivery or production of the services or products of that company. These expenses include finance and accounting cost, salaries of senior employees, HR expenses, and some other. Administrative expenses are costs that cannot be linked to a specific function in an organization.

administrative expenses accounting

The calculation of selling, general, and administrative expenses (SG&A) is a relatively straightforward process. The total amount of SG&A for a given period is the sum of all the individual expenses that comprise that category. There are a number of different types of SG&A expenses, but some of the most common ones include salaries and wages, advertising and marketing, office supplies, and rent. The Internal Revenue Service allows businesses to deduct most business expenses that are directly related to the operation of the business.

SG&A Examples

General and administrative expense is generally not considered to include research and development expenses, which are usually aggregated into a separate department. Not many general and administrative expenses are variable; therefore, reducing administrative expenses is a difficult proposition. Operating profit is the total earnings from a company’s core business operations, excluding deductions of interest and tax. Overhead refers to the ongoing business expenses not directly attributed to creating a product or service. Of collecting and managing the fee revenue are lower than the fee itself.

  • We follow ethical journalism practices, which includes presenting unbiased information and citing reliable, attributed resources.
  • Companies usually prevent differentiating G&A expenses and operating expenses.
  • Still, all such expenses cannot be classified as administrative expenses.
  • What’s different is the degree of granularity when reporting operating expenses.
  • A low Sales to Administrative Expense Ratio may indicate a less-than-efficient system within their corporate structure.

They remain the same throughout the year irrespective of the sales and profit. Harold Averkamp has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years. Nathan has taught English literature, business, social sciences, writing, and history for over five years. INVESTMENT BANKING RESOURCESLearn the foundation of Investment banking, financial modeling, valuations and more. Andriy Blokhin has 5+ years of professional experience in public accounting, personal investing, and as a senior auditor with Ernst & Young. Michael Logan is an experienced writer, producer, and editorial leader.

What are administrative expenses vs operating expenses?

The primary difference between an operating and administrative expense is that types of operating expenses are related to the departments that produce products and services whereas administrative expenses are more general and not necessarily specific to a department within the company.

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