Recurring Expenses vs. Non-Recurring Expenses
Jan 21, 2024 By Susan Kelly

Selling, general, and administration expenses constitute an extensive category of costs related to the running of a company. In this broad category, there are the recurring and non-recurring costs, all of which are reported in different ways on the business's accounts. The primary distinction between non-recurring and recurring general and administrative costs can be best understood by examining the distinction between regular, fixed expenses that a company is expected to sustain on an ongoing basis and those that are only once or are extremely rare.

Recurring Expenses

Recurring general and administrative operating costs are the typical continuous expenses needed to run a business in the area of business. They are typically reported on a company's income statement as indirect expenses and are also included in the cash flow and balance sheet statements. In general, administrative expenses are things like the salaries of company executives, salary or wages for employees, costs for research and development along with travel and related costs, and computer support services and depreciation that could apply to equipment, property, or other assets of the company in the long run.

Recurring expenses are the most common indirect operating expense incurred above the standard selling price. In an income statement, they generally appear after that net revenue figure and are then incorporated to determine total operating earnings. Every company is responsible for the report of recurring expenses on the particular activities of their business.

Some businesses may consolidate all the recurring costs into one line item, referred to as the SG&A line item or G&A, which can help conceal a significant amount of the recurring expense data in the dark and hidden. Others may expand the line item they employ for recurring expenditures to add greater detail to aid in reporting.

The recurring expenses are also woven into the balance sheet and the cash flow statement. On the balance sheet, these expenses are classified as liabilities and could be further classified as long- or short-term obligations. The recurring charges in the cash flow statement are typically included in operating operations.

Non-Recurring Expenses

Non-recurring expenses are a bit more complicated. These are expenditures designated in the financial statements of a business as unusual or one-time expenses that the company is not expecting to sustain over time, at the very least, not regularly. Businesses may have to document non-recurring expenses like mergers, acquisitions, purchase of real estate, the purchase of equipment, major facilities upgrades, severance payment expenses resulting from a reduction in workforce, or repair expenses following a natural disaster or an accident.

Many companies will adjust their GAAP net income to reflect non-recurring charges. Most of the time, these charges are listed as income under the indirect costs section and categorized as above-the-line expenses. In the balance sheet, the non-recurring expenses can be listed as short-term obligations. In the cash flow statement, the nonrecurring expenses could be included in the operating, investing, or financing.

In general, non-recurring expenses could be vital for investors when reviewing a company's financial statements since management has some discretion when reporting these expenses. They can significantly affect a company's profit margin during the accounting time.

Key Differences


The recurring expenses are usually incurred regularly and regularly. For instance, rent or electricity bills must be paid monthly. Non-recurring expenses aren't repetitive and can occur only once. For instance, inventory loss due to floods, fire, earthquakes, etc.


Recurring expenses occur due to normal business reasons, i.e., to help facilitate daily business activities. The non-recurring costs can be incurred because of business or non-business reasons. For instance, the expenses that are incurred due to the expansion of a manufacturing facility are because of business-related reasons, while losses that are incurred due to natural catastrophes are due to other causes that are not business related.

Capital Nature or Income

Recurring expenses, which are repeated throughout the year usually revenue in the sense that they are revenue, i.e., the value of these expenses occurs in a single business cycle (or accounting timeframe). Non-recurring expenses are not recurring and may be capital or revenue. For instance, costs for equipment due to facility expansion are considered capital, and losses resulting from strikes in the trade may be the nature of revenue.

Provisioning and Estimation

Recurring expenses are typically pre-planned; therefore, they can be easily estimated and usually planned for regularly. These expenses are also the basis of an entity's expenses budgeting. Non-recurring expenses, on the other hand, aren't as predictable and could not be forecasted or calculated ahead of time.

Accounting for Financials and Reporting

Recurring expenses are classified into expense heads and reported in either the profit or trading account and loss account based on the nature of their expenses. Non-recurring expenses can be expensed or capitalized into the profits and losses account based on the nature of their revenues or capital-based. Most of the time, the attention to the occurrence of these costs is provided through a specific accounting note on your financial statement.