In this article
You might like
No items found.
Spending made smarter
Easy-to-use cards, spend limits, approval flows, vendor payments —plus an average savings of 5%.1
4.8 Rating 4.8 rating
Error Message
No personal credit checks or founder guarantee.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Get fresh finance insights, monthly
Time and money-saving tips,
straight to your inbox
4.8 Rating 4.8 rating
Thanks for signing up
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Table of contents

Miscellaneous expenses refer to a number of unpredictable and assorted costs that fall outside the standard expense categories for businesses. These expenses are financial wildcards, covering anything from ad-hoc office supplies to unanticipated maintenance work.

Budgeting for miscellaneous expenses provides a cushion for any unexpected costs that don't fit into the standard categories of labor, materials, and overhead expenses. Plus, many miscellaneous expenses are tax-deductible, so it's important to keep track of them in your expense management process.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into how miscellaneous expenses function in the context of accounting, some common examples of miscellaneous expenses, and tips on managing them effectively within your business. 

Miscellaneous expenses in accounting

In accounting, miscellaneous expenses are defined as irregular and non-recurring costs that don't fit into defined categories of business expenditure. The IRS more specifically defines miscellaneous expenses as business costs that fall outside of their standard tax categories. By claiming these expenses, small businesses can lower their taxable income. For that reason and others, miscellaneous expenses should be taken into account in your company’s general ledger.

Miscellaneous expenses don't qualify as assets because they don't bring any future economic advantage, nor are they liabilities, as they don't represent future financial obligations. They're expensed in the period in which they are incurred, directly affecting the net income of the business.

When it comes to financial reporting, you'll find miscellaneous expenses detailed on the income statement. They aren't showcased as a standalone line on the balance sheet since they don't represent an ongoing value or obligation for the company. On the income statement, they typically nestle within the broader category of operating expenses and may be aggregated under labels such as "sundry expenses," "general and administrative expenses," or sometimes simply "other expenses."

For reference, the accounting entry for miscellaneous expenses typically follows this format:

  • Debit: Miscellaneous Expenses (Expense Account)
  • Credit: Cash/Bank or Accounts Payable (depending on whether the payment was made immediately or will be paid later)

Minor and infrequent as they may be, companies collate miscellaneous expenses to avoid complicating the financial narrative of the enterprise. Although they might be minor when viewed individually, collectively, they can significantly impact the company's financial health and are, therefore, diligently recorded and reviewed.

Examples of common miscellaneous expenses

Here are some examples of common miscellaneous expenses:

Work-specific clothing and safety gear: For many professionals, clothing that's specialized for work, and not suitable for everyday wear, can be a deductible expense. These items are essential for the job and are recognized as such by the IRS.

Computers and technology: For small business owners and freelancers, the cost of computers and other technology that's used predominantly for work can often be depreciated over time. This accounts for the wear and tear on the technology as it's used for business purposes.

Equipment depreciation: Beyond computers, other business equipment like photography gear, machinery, or even vehicles can also be depreciated.

Marketing and advertising: While a core activity for many businesses, certain marketing and advertising costs can be classified as miscellaneous, especially if they're one-off campaigns or unexpected marketing opportunities that arise outside of the regular budget.

Bank charges and fees: Miscellaneous expenses can also include various bank fees, such as charges for transactions, wire transfers, or overdraft fees.

Office supplies and subscriptions: Minor office expenses or subscriptions to industry publications, software services, or online tools that aid in business operations can be tracked as miscellaneous expenses. These expenses are often small and irregular, making them hard to predict and categorize. However, they're key to running a business smoothly and can often reduce your tax bill from the IRS. 

A note on travel expenses

Travel expenses for business aren't typically considered miscellaneous expenses. They're usually categorized separately because they can constitute a significant portion of a business's operational costs, especially for companies where travel is a frequent necessity. 

Examples of miscellaneous expense scenarios

To get a sense of how miscellaneous expenses show up, consider the following example scenarios:

Scenario 1: Unexpected repair costs

A tech startup has budgeted meticulously for its operations, including employee salaries, rent, and software subscriptions. However, one morning they discover a leak in the office ceiling after a heavy rainstorm, leading to unexpected repair costs. This expense, not being a regular occurrence nor fitting into their standard budget categories, is classified as a miscellaneous expense. Note that the rent itself isn't considered a miscellaneous expense. 

Scenario 2: Client entertainment

An advertising agency regularly entertains clients to build and maintain strong working relationships. During a particularly busy quarter filled with pitches to prospective clients, the agency exceeds its client entertainment budget due to several last-minute dinner meetings at upscale restaurants. These additional costs are recorded as miscellaneous expenses because they are not a fixed, recurring cost in the agency's financial planning.

Scenario 3: Compliance updates

A manufacturing company is faced with sudden changes in industry compliance standards, requiring immediate updates to their equipment to adhere to new environmental regulations. The unplanned expenses for equipment modification are substantial but necessary and thus are allocated as miscellaneous expenses, as they are extraordinary and not part of the regular manufacturing costs.

Simplify your
expenses with Ramp

How to manage your miscellaneous expenses

Effectively managing miscellaneous expenses is a crucial aspect of business finance. These unpredictable costs can impact your bottom line, but with the right approach, you can maintain better control over your spending. Here's how to manage miscellaneous business expenses effectively:

Plan ahead

  • Establish a miscellaneous category: Create a flexible 'miscellaneous' section within your business budget. This category acts as a financial cushion to absorb irregular expenses without impacting your core budget.
  • Regular review and adjustment: Consistently review this category to make sure it aligns with your business's evolving financial situation and spending patterns.

Stay organized

  • Track every expense: Document every expense, no matter how small, in your regular bookkeeping. This practice brings clarity to your business's spending habits and helps identify areas for potential savings. Plus, it’s crucial for tax returns and future reimbursements. 
  • Use digital tools: Utilize digital apps or all-in-one platforms like Ramp for efficient and accessible record-keeping. Well-organized records are essential for effective financial management.

Leverage technology

  • Automated expense tracking: Use expense management software for automatic logging and categorization of business expenses. This minimizes errors and saves time, especially when it comes time to do an audit.
  • Real-time monitoring: Choose software that offers real-time tracking. This feature allows you to see where your money goes as it happens, providing immediate insights into your financial flow.

Analyze and adapt

  • Regular analysis: Periodically review your miscellaneous expenses. Identify trends, unexpected spikes, and areas where costs can be reduced.
  • Adapt your budget: Based on your analysis, adjust your budget to better reflect your actual spending, ensuring that your financial plan remains realistic and effective.

Educate your team​

  • Continuous learning: Encourage your team to stay informed about business finance management. Provide resources, such as books, financial blogs, or training courses, to enhance their understanding and skills.

Control your miscellaneous expenses with Ramp

Overwhelmed by the prospect of documenting all of the miscellaneous expenses incurred by your business, especially when it comes to filing your tax returns? Ramp’s expense management software is here to help.  

Our sophisticated software streamlines tracking and reporting, eliminating the tedium—and disorganization—of manual expense management. Some of the key features of Ramp’s platform include:

  • Receipt automation: Easily submit expenses using the Ramp mobile app, with AI-powered reconciliation for precise transaction recording.
  • Smart categorization: Automated categorization of transactions and duplicate flagging for error-free submissions.
  • Seamless integrations: Direct connections with Gmail, Uber, and Lyft for automatic receipt capture and matching.
  • Proactive spending control: Company cards embedded with spending limits and approval steps to ensure policy compliance.
  • Real-time alerts: Instant notifications for out-of-policy charges with options for immediate rectification.
  • Customizable approvals: Clear, adjustable approval trails for each transaction, enhancing accountability.
  • Efficient c​losure: Close books up to 22% faster, transforming expense management into a hassle-free task.
Try Ramp for free
Error Message
No personal credit checks or founder guarantee.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Finance Writer and Editor, Ramp
Ali Mercieca is a Finance Writer and Content Editor at Ramp. Prior to Ramp, she worked with Robinhood on the editorial strategy for their financial literacy articles and with Nearside, an online banking platform, overseeing their banking and finance blog. Ali holds a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy from York University and can be found writing about editorial content strategy and SEO on her Substack.
Ramp is dedicated to helping businesses of all sizes make informed decisions. We adhere to strict editorial guidelines to ensure that our content meets and maintains our high standards.








How Mindbody & Classpass saved time, enhanced visibility, and improved usability with Ramp

“We were going to hold office hours, but it was so quiet that we never needed to. All the feedback was positive -- it was very easy to roll out.”
Heather Bruzus, Principal Accountant, Mindbody & Classpass

How Rarebreed Veterinary Partners Prepared for Scale with Ramp

“I can look in Ramp and see my spend for the month immediately. I don’t have to go on 14 different platforms. It’s all right there.”
Eric Chabot, VP of Accounting & Controller, Rarebreed Veterinary Partners

How Tomo drove efficiency and slashed time to close with Ramp

"Bringing our close timeline down by half has given us so much more time for projects and analysis.”
Eric Ho, SVP, Head of Finance, Tomo

How Crowdbotics streamlined, centralized, and saved with Ramp

“We switched from our legacy provider to Ramp in under a week and heard zero complaints."
Miles Lavin, VP of Strategic Finance, Crowdbotics

How Ramp Helped REVA Air Ambulance Save Time, Improve Visibility, and Gain Peace of Mind

“We were able to mold Ramp to our company to set it up as needed within departments. But the biggest selling feature to us was the automatic, real-time integration with Sage.”
Seth Miller, Controller, REVA

How Heyday Skincare gained control over 23+ entities with Ramp

“Ramp has been a saving grace by organizing and consolidating systems and giving us real time visibility across 23 entities.”
Shawn Gordon, Sr. Accounting Manager, Heyday Wellness

How Ramp helped Rustic Canyon Restaurant Group promote a culture of financial awareness and responsibility

"Ramp has helped promote a culture of awareness and accountability, there's no swipe your card and forget about it, people are more attuned to why and how they are spending."
Derek Arnette, Controller, Rustic Canyon Restaurant Group