Expense Category
Marketing
What expense category are promotional items?
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There is no definitive answer to this question, as the correct expense category for promotional items will depend on the specific item in question and the business's accounting practices. However, some common expense categories for promotional items include advertising, marketing, and merchandising.

Advertising

Many businesses treat promotional items as a form of advertising, and as such, will include them in their advertising budget. This is particularly common for businesses that give away branded items such as pens or notepads, as these can be considered a form of advertising material. If you're not sure whether to classify a promotional item as advertising, ask yourself whether the item is primarily intended to promote your brand or product.

Marketing

Another common expense category for promotional items is marketing. This is because promotional items can be used as part of a marketing campaign, and as such, can be considered a marketing expense. For example, if you're giving away branded T-shirts as part of a marketing campaign, then the cost of the T-shirts would be considered a marketing expense. If you're not sure whether to classify a promotional item as marketing, ask yourself whether the item is primarily intended to support a marketing campaign.

Merchandising

Promotional items can also be classified as merchandising. This is because they can be sold in your store or online, and as such, can be considered a form of merchandise. For example, if you're selling branded T-shirts in your store, then the cost of the T-shirts would be considered a merchandising expense. If you're not sure whether to classify a promotional item as merchandising, ask yourself whether the item is primarily intended to be sold.

Other Expense Categories

There are other potential expense categories for promotional items, depending on the specific item in question and the business's accounting practices. For example, if the promotional item is a ticket to an event, it could be classified as an entertainment expense. If the promotional item is a gift for employees, it could be classified as a payroll expense. And if the promotional item is a charitable donation, it could be classified as a charitable giving expense. Ultimately, the correct expense category for a promotional item will depend on the specific item in question and the business's accounting practices.

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As we scale we need tools that are built to scale with us - we need to see expenses real time, we need to see duplicate spend. These types of insights are important to the health of our business.
Steve Padis, SVP Finance & Strategy, Barry's
The information provided in this article does not constitute legal or financial advice and is for general informational purposes only. Please check with an attorney or financial advisor to obtain advice with respect to the content of this article.

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