Non-Cash Expenses and How They Work (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 25, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you want to improve your knowledge of company accounts and income statements, it is useful to learn about non-cash expenses. These expenses typically don't involve the exchange of cash. By learning more about cashless expenses, you can improve accounting procedures and better understand financial accounts. In this article, we discuss the definition of these types of expenses, describe how they work, provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to record these expenses, and explore answers to some frequently asked questions.

What are non-cash expenses?

Non-cash expenses are transactions that don't involve physical money. They are typically losses for a company, and they also help with daily functioning. Companies collect income statements and receipts that describe their expenses over set financial periods. Cashless expenses on income statements typically appear as either losses or costs. They differ from traditional expenses, which are expenses that companies pay for with actual cash. Cashless expenses occur when companies pay for transactions indirectly or without a monetary transaction. These transactions typically don't impact a company's cash flow, but they can impact net profits.

Related: What is an Income Statement? (With Definition and Template)

How do cashless expenses work?

Cashless expenses involve several intangible and fixed expenses. If an expense experiences a loss in value, a company can record its overall value and the subsequent loss when reporting cashless expenses. A company can also report stock values that it provides to team members or employees as expected losses. This helps a company consider the total value of its assets compared to the net profits and cash income.

Related: What Is a Profit and Loss Template (With Types and Examples)

How to record cashless expenses

Here's a step-by-step guide for how to record cashless expenses:

1. Understand cash flow vs. net income

It's beneficial for bookkeepers to understand the difference between a business's cash flow and its total income. Cash flow is the amount of money that your company generates and spends, while net income measures the total profits of your business after adjusting for taxes, expenses, and interest. Cashless expenses only impact the company's total income because they don't require any financial outlay.

2. Learn the types of expenses

There are many types of cashless expenses, and it can be helpful for business owners and accountants to become familiar with all the types they may encounter in business. Small business owners may only encounter amortization and depreciation. Larger companies often have a larger variety of cashless expenses, including unrealized gains and losses, contingencies, and stock-based compensation.

3. Record these expenses in income statements

After evaluating these types of expenses, it's important that a company records them in the income statement. An income statement is one of the three primary financial performance statements that companies produce. It records the business's revenue, expenses, income, and losses. Recording cashless expenses reduces the total income value that a company reports, which can also reduce their taxable income.

Advantages and disadvantages of cashless expenses

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of cashless expenses:

Advantages of non-cash expenses

Recording cashless expenses can help give business professionals and leaders a better understanding of the money that is actually available to them for company operations. An income statement that includes these expenses can also give executives a more accurate view of a company's financial viability and long-term prospects. Cash flow statements may not provide the same understanding since they only report the cash moving in and out of a business. Furthermore, recording these expenses can also have the benefit of reducing a company's taxable income.

Disadvantages of non-cash expenses

While recording these expenses may have many benefits, there can also be some challenges. Since a company doesn't actually spend any money on these types of expenses, it's often only possible to estimate the value of these costs. This may result in an inaccurate picture of the company's financial situation. Some financial managers also misrepresent their income by over- or undervaluing their expenses, which can mislead investors.

When investors estimate the value of a company, they typically require more concrete numbers. Therefore, they may prefer cash flow statements to income statements. This allows them to discount hypothetical losses from these types of expenses and focus on the concrete assets available to the company.

Examples of non-cash expenses

Here are some examples of cashless expenses:

Depreciation

Many companies have fixed assets, which can include machinery, vehicles, and technology. They typically use these assets in production, and their overall value decreases over time. This decrease in value is the depreciation of assets. Companies can record an asset's loss in value as a non-cash expenditure when creating income statements. When reporting cashless expense depreciation, companies maintain a history of their value without using monetary transactions.

Related: What Are Accounting Transactions? (Definitions and Examples)

Amortization

Amortization refers to cashless expenses that involve a company's long-term, intangible assets. This term refers to the cost of assets over an extended period of time, and it allows businesses to spread expenses related to the maintenance and upgrading of assets. Companies consider amortization as a cashless expense because it's done without the immediate payment of services with cash.

Unrealized gains and losses

Unrealized gains are increases in a company's value and assets. This includes investments that a company is holding and any potential increases that it expects. Businesses can include these increases as cashless expenses in income statements. When companies sell their assets, they can later include those losses and company gains. Unrealized losses occur when company assets and investments decline in value and companies choose not to sell those assets. A company can also include its anticipated losses.

Provisions or contingencies for future losses

Organizations can anticipate future losses in revenue and calculate an estimated loss of value for the company. Contingencies or provisions are funds they can establish to cover these losses. After determining the potential cost, a company can list the amount as a non-cash expense since the expenditure is hypothetical.

Asset write-downs

A company may list an asset at a price that's no longer accurate. When the market value of an asset decreases below its listed value, an accountant can reduce the listed value to coincide with its current market worth. A business can then list the loss of value as a cashless expenditure.

Goodwill impairments

A company may decide to purchase an asset for a price greater than its market value, and the term for the difference between the two prices is goodwill. Goodwill can experience impairment or loss of value, and if it does, the company can record the loss as a cashless expense on their income statement.

Stock-based compensation

In some cases, a company can decide to reward employees or executives with stock options instead of monetary wages. Accountants can determine the value of the stock given to employees and record it on the income statement. Companies usually list this as a cashless expense because they make no actual cash payment.

Frequently asked questions about non-cash expenses

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about these types of expenses:

Who records cashless expenses?

Accounts typically prepare company income statements and record cashless expenses. They provide companies with financial forecasts that help them make financial decisions. These professionals also provide companies with advice on how to reduce expenses and increase profits. Accountants conduct audits on financial performance, prepare tax returns, and monitor The national average salary for accountants is $54,057 per year.

Related: 12 Skills Accountants Need for Workplace Success

What are non-cash operating expenses?

Non-cash operating expenses refer to items included in the cash flow statement. These expenses typically exclude depreciation and amortization. Non-cash operating expenses include property operating costs and real property taxes.

How do companies forecast cashless expenses?

Companies can forecast cashless expenses by reviewing depreciation and amortization. Cashless expenses often increase over time, while asset values can decrease. When companies experience higher rates of depreciation, their expenses can also increase depending on the asset's value.

What is non-cash revenue?

Non-cash revenue refers to revenues accumulated from cashless sources. This can occur through payments from debtors or cash flows from financial instruments. Non-cash revenue, otherwise called unrealized revenue, is a significant source of income for many businesses.

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