Shipping costs When is it COGS, when is it an Expense?

includes the cost

Rent, loan payments, and marketing expenses are costs that are fairly constant, and are necessary to run the business, but are not specifically related to production of goods. Operating costs, on the other hand, indicate the degree of efficiency in running your business, and are indirectly proportional to your profit. Cutting back on your marketing spending, or reducing the headcount, or readjusting your other variable expenses can help to control your operating expenses and improve your ROI.

products or services

You can’t have any other expenses in your cost of goods sold amount. All of it must be related to the manufacturing of the products that sold for the year. Look for ways to tighten both, your COGS and operating expenses.

When to use the cost of sales or COGS

accrual accounting vs cash basis accounting is a particularly important component of COGS, and accounting rules permit several different approaches for how to include it in the calculation. Both operating expenses and cost of goods sold are expenditures that companies incur with running their business; however, the expenses are segregated on the income statement. Unlike COGS, operating expenses are expenditures that are not directly tied to the production of goods or services.

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Its primary service doesn’t require the sale of goods, but the business might still sell merchandise, such as snacks, toiletries, or souvenirs. The simplified dollar-value methoduses a similar pooling system but uses government price indexes to determine the annual change in price. Due to inflation, the cost to make rings increased before production ended.

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In retail, COGS includes payment for merchandise purchased from suppliers and manufacturers. David has helped thousands of clients improve their accounting and financial systems, create budgets, and minimize their taxes. A cost of sales formula used to calculate the cost of goods sold is as follows. When you incur a direct cost, such as inventory, your entry would debit the appropriate asset account and credit accounts payable.

That may the cost of raw materials, cost of time and labor, and the cost of running equipment. Selling the item creates a profit, but a portion of that profit was lost, due to the cost of making the item. You can determine your ending inventory costs by taking a physical inventory, or at least an estimate, of your products and services.


That includes items in your inventory at the start of your year and those acquired during the year. Calculate COGS by adding the cost of inventory at the beginning of the year to purchases made throughout the year. Then, subtract the cost of inventory remaining at the end of the year.

For instance, many businesses resort to halting their hiring for some time if their operating expenses are going through the roof. Other businesses choose to cut down on facilities that aren’t mandatory at their business premises. COGS and OPEX are insightful for every business because they show you the current state of your business. They both let you know if you are spending way too much on expenses and when changes need to be made. Any business needs to sustain itself and ensure that it is able to earn higher than what it is spending.

Difference between COGS and Expense

In simplest terms, the Cost of goods sold includes producing, purchasing, or acquiring the inventory that is sold by a business entity, either manufacturing or merchandising. Expenses must be recognized when the revenues have been generated against those expenses. In other words, the expense is the cost of making money for any business. In accounting, debit and credit accounts should always balance out. Inventory decreases because, as the product sells, it will take away from your inventory account.

Let us say that DogBark spent $1,000 on the packaging, $5,000 on salaries, and $200 on delivery. Operating income is a company’s profit after deducting operating expenses such as wages, depreciation, and cost of goods sold. The special identification method uses the specific cost of each unit of merchandise to calculate the ending inventory and COGS for each period. In this method, a business knows precisely which item was sold and the exact cost. Further, this method is typically used in industries that sell unique items like cars, real estate, and rare and precious jewels. COGS excludes indirect costs such as overhead and sales & marketing.

This means that the inventory remaining at the end of an accounting period would be the units that were most recently produced. COGS includes all direct costs incurred to create the products a company offers. Most of these are the variable costs of making the product—for example, materials and labor—while others can be fixed costs, such as factory overhead. Cost of goods sold may be one of the most important accounting terms for business leaders to know. COGS includes all of the direct costs involved in manufacturing products. Understanding COGS, and managing its components, can mean the difference between running a business profitably and spinning on the proverbial hamster wheel to nowhere.

Sometimes cost of operating and expenses are used interchangeably. Let’s suppose, they purchase $500 worth of various makeup items but could only sell $300 worth of lip gloss. In this case, the COGS is $300, while the expenses amount to $500. To align the cash outflow with the revenue, CapEx is expensed on the income statement through depreciation – a non-cash expense embedded within either COGS or OpEx. In addition, the two are linked – i.e. operating income is the gross profit minus OpEx.

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Move one expense into COGS then run a Profit and loss statement. This helps you see how much it costs you to be in business and how much it costs you for your product itself. So if you had no orders for a month you would still see most those operating expenses are required regardless if no sales.


Calculating and tracking COGS throughout the year can help you determine your net income, expenses, and inventory. And when tax season rolls around, having accurate records of COGS can help you and your accountant file your taxes properly. Determining the cost of goods sold is only one portion of your business’s operations. But understanding COGS can help you better understand your business’s financial health. Using FIFO, your small business will first sell the products or services it has created the earliest.

Instead, they have what is called “cost of services,” which does not count towards a COGS deduction. Cost of Goods Sold is also known as “cost of sales” or its acronym “COGS.” COGS refers to the cost of goods that are either manufactured or purchased and then sold. COGS counts as a business expense and affects how much profit a company makes on its products.

cogs vs expense

These differences should elucidate that, though using the cost of sales and COGS interchangeably is somewhat common practice, doing so can be misleading. If anything, using one value in place of the other may actually deceive you if thinking your processes are working well and they’re actually needing improvement. When you compare the values of each metric to your revenue, you’ll better understand fluctuations in your bottom line. For example, if your cost of goods sold increases as your revenue decreases, you’ll know your input costs are increasing. You might then determine that there is justification in raising your prices to account for this shift.