Indirect Costs

Indirect costs are those incurred during a variety of procedures and are therefore unable to be connected to particular cost objects. Cost items can be anything like products, services, places, routes of distribution, and clients. Contrarily, indirect costs are necessary to maintain the business as a whole. In order to remove indirect costs from immediate pricing decisions when management plans to set prices slightly above the variable costs of goods, it is helpful to identify indirect costs.

Because indirect costs do not considerably change when compared to specific production volumes or other activity indicators, they are viewed as fixed costs. Indirect costs can include executive salaries, office expenses, rent, security fees, telephone bills, and utility costs, to name a few.

Indirect Cost Explained

The money spent by businesses on building resources that serve numerous objectives simultaneously rather than just one is known as an indirect cost. In addition to facilitating manufacturing, it has an effect on the business's entire operations. For instance, if a company rents a production facility, it does not use it to produce a single item. Instead, the company produces, packages, and ships the products out of this rented location. Rent paid for the purpose is now considered an indirect expense.

Formula To Calculate Indirect Costs

The indirect cost definition aids in the development of the following equation or formula to determine the proportion of money that businesses spend on indirect costs:

Indirect Cost Percentage = Total Indirect Costs / Monthly Sales x 100


Let's say Company M rents a factory for $5000 per month in a fixed amount. To identify every unit and assign a part of rent costs, however, would be impossible if the corporation used the plant to manufacture thousands of different products. In addition, the rent is a set expense regardless of how much the plant produces.

Indirect Costs vs Overheads

Although the names appear to be interchangeable, there is a small distinction between them. Let's examine the minor variations:

  • Overhead costs identify these costs on a larger scale, whereas indirect expense is a word that is more specific and only contains a few sorts of such costs.
  • Without overhead expenses, businesses cannot function. The indirect costs, however, may or may not be necessary, but they have an impact on how the firm operates in general.
  • While overhead costs comprise charges related to every area of a firm, indirect expenses are typically connected to costs associated with the manufacture of the goods.


The cost of producing goods and products cannot be directly linked to indirect costs. These expenses are typical or broad and have an impact on how the firm operates as a whole. It is a fixed cost that can’t be easily associated with one particular cost object.

Office expenses, administration salaries, costs associated with sales advertising, security and monitoring, etc. are a few examples of these charges.

Because they remain constant regardless of whether there are more or fewer products to be created, indirect expenses are regarded as fixed costs.

Companies can determine how much they have spent paying for indirect charges by calculating the indirect cost rate.

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