List of Expense Categories for Small Business

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If you run a small business, keeping track of expenses is an important aspect of business management. Expense tracking is essential to keep an eye on the money you spend to keep your business afloat. From salaries and travel expenses to automobile and equipment expenses, small business owners must keep accurate, up-to-date records, which come in handy during tax season and beyond.

Memberships and Subscriptions

Business publication
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In order to keep up with industry trends and business news, business owners often dish out quarterly or yearly payments for subscriptions to a variety of business publications, trade magazines and memberships to professional associations. Fees for local business communities are also calculated as membership expenses.

Marketing and Advertising

Web advertising a small business expense.
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Running a successful small business means working to attract new customers and retain current customers. Marketing and advertising expenses help to cover promotional activities such as product giveaways, coupons, rebates, print and Web advertising, radio placements and commercial placements.

Rent and Utilities

Small business must pay rent and utilities.
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Whether leasing a space or using a home office, rent is a small business owner’s main monthly expense. In addition to rent, business owners account for expenses such as telephone and Internet services, water and electricity.

Equipment and Supplies

Fax machines and office equipment are included in small business expenses.
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Whether your business offers a service or products, there is another set of unique items needed to serve customers efficiently and effectively. Some general items include computers, printers, fax machines, pens, pencils, folders and binders.

Travel and Trade Shows

Trade shows can be important to small businesses.
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Staying abreast of business and industry trends means doing more than simply reading publications, it means traveling to trade shows to get hands-on experience with new products and meeting influential people in the industry. The costs for traveling to these shows includes hotel stay, transportation and event registration fees. Travel expenses may also include mileage on your personal automobile used for business purposes.

Salaries and Insurance

Small business owners must pay for their employees.
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As a small business owner, you have to account for you and your employees' salaries, as well as expenses for insurance and retirement benefits. Salaries can also include special performance and holiday bonuses provided to employees.

Entertainment and Gifts

Business lunch
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Small business owners spend money on client and employee lunches and dinners regularly, as well as, on holiday gifts, cards and client appreciation gifts. Holiday parties and company outings also fall into this category.

Consultant fees

Consultant fees can include accountants and lawyers.
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Accounting fees, lawyer fees and even business coaching fees hit the expense accounts of many business owners. As a business owner, you can’t do it all, so outside sources often provide assistance in areas you may lack, including keeping track of money spent and money coming in, legal affairs and even motivation for how to push your businesses to the next level.

Self-Employment Taxes

Write-offs can reduce self-employment taxes.
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Paying self-employment taxes is a responsibility small business owners must take very seriously. More often than not, many of the expenses small business owners pay, such as rent, travel and even membership fees can be written off during tax time to reduce self-employment taxes.



About the Author

Miranda Brookins is a marketing professional who has over seven years of experience in copywriting, direct-response and Web marketing, publications management and business communications. She has a bachelor's degree in business and marketing from Towson University and is working on a master's degree in publications design at University of Baltimore.

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