Overhead

Definition of 'Overhead'


An accounting term that refers to all ongoing business expenses not including or related to direct labor, direct materials or third-party expenses that are billed directly to customers. Overhead must be paid for on an ongoing basis, regardless of whether a company is doing a high or low volume of business. It is important not just for budgeting purposes, but for determining how much a company must charge for its products or services to make a profit.

Investopedia explains 'Overhead'


For example, a service-based business that operates in a traditional white-collar office setting would have overhead expenses such as rent, utilities and insurance.

Overhead expenses can be fixed, meaning they are the same from month to month, or variable, meaning they increase or decrease depending on the business's activity level. They can also be semi-variable, meaning that some portion of the expense will be incurred no matter what, and some portion depends on the level of business activity. Overhead can also be general, meaning that it applies to the company's operations as a whole, or applied, meaning that it can be allocated to a specific project or department. These expenses are typically found on a company's income statement.



comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Leased Bank Guarantee

    A bank guarantee that is leased to a third party for a specific fee. The issuing bank will conduct due diligence on the creditworthiness of the customer looking to secure a bank guarantee, then lease a guarantee to that customer for a set amount of money and over a set period of time, typically less than two years.
  2. Degree Of Financial Leverage - DFL

    A ratio that measures the sensitivity of a company’s earnings per share (EPS) to fluctuations in its operating income, as a result of changes in its capital structure. Degree of Financial Leverage (DFL) measures the percentage change in EPS for a unit change in earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT).
  3. Jeff Bezos

    Self-made billionaire Jeff Bezos is famous for founding online retail giant Amazon.com.
  4. Re-fracking

    Re-fracking is the practice of returning to older wells that had been fracked in the recent past to capitalize on newer, more effective extraction technology. Re-fracking can be effective on especially tight oil deposits – where the shale products low yields – to extend their productivity.
  5. TIMP (acronym)

    'TIMP' is an acronym that stands for 'Turkey, Indonesia, Mexico and Philippines.' Similar to BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China), the acronym was coined by and investor/economist to group fast-growing emerging market economies in similar states of economic development.
  6. Pension Risk Transfer

    When a defined benefit pension provider offloads some or all of the plan’s risk – e.g.: retirement payment liabilities to former employee beneficiaries. The plan sponsor can do this by offering vested plan participants a lump-sum payment to voluntarily leave the plan, or by negotiating with an insurance company to take on the responsibility for paying benefits.
Trading Center