Table of Contents

Explicit Cost


Explicit cost refers to the direct, out-of-pocket expenses that a business incurs in its operation. These are tangible, measurable costs that are easily identified and included in a company’s accounting. Examples include salaries, rent, utilities, materials, and any other direct cost of producing goods or services.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Explicit Cost” is: eks-pli-sit kɒst.

Key Takeaways

1. Monetary Outlay: Explicit costs are a direct payment made to others in the course of running a business, such as wage, rent and materials, or other operating expenses. It involves a clear, obvious cash outflow that gets accounted for in the books and records of a company. 2. Accounting for Business Decisions: Explicit costs play a vital role in making business decisions as they are directly impacting the cash flow and profit margin of a business. They are accounted for in the financial statements, and thus, management pays close attention to minimize these costs as far as possible. 3. Difference with Implicit Costs: Unlike implicit costs (also referred to as imputed, notional, or imputed costs), explicit costs are usually easy to identify and measure because they represent clear, specific cash outflows whereas implicit costs represent opportunity costs that are not clearly outlined or disbursed.


Explicit costs are an important concept in business and finance as they allow a company to accurately calculate the direct costs associated with conducting business, such as salaries, rent, raw materials, and utilities. These out-of-pocket costs are easy to identify and record and form the basis for financial accounting. Monitoring explicit costs is crucial for a company’s budgeting and strategic planning processes, helping analyze profitability, cost-efficiency, and financial health. Without recognizing and understanding these costs, businesses may misinterpret their financial condition, leading to poor business decisions and potential losses.


Explicit costs, also referred to as out-of-pocket costs, play a critical role in financial decision-making for businesses. They represent the clear, direct outlays of cash from a company in exchange for goods, services, or assets. Business owners rely on a record of these costs to help them analyze their operational efficiency and devise strategies for cost management. Understanding the level of these tangible costs can also guide firms towards optimizing resources for improving profitability. In the realm of financial analysis and business planning, explicit costs can be used to determine a company’s actual profits and losses. These costs are often documented clearly in the financial statements helping stakeholders to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a business operation. By analyzing explicit costs, a company can understand which parts of their operation are most costly and may be targeted for cost reduction efforts. Beyond this, explicit expenses are critical for tax purposes, as these documented expenses can often be deducted from a company’s taxable income. Overall, explicit costs offer a concrete measure of a company’s operational cost, aiding in strategic planning, performance evaluation, and regulatory compliance.


Explicit costs are the clear, obvious expenses involved in running a business. They are often recorded in a company’s financial ledgers and include typical business costs. Here are three real-world examples of explicit costs: 1. Labor or Wage costs: This is one of the most common explicit costs that businesses incur. It includes salaries of employees, wages for part-time or contract labor, overtime pay, and other benefits like health insurance. For instance, if a restaurant hires a new chef and pays him/her $50,000 a year, this is an explicit cost. 2. Rent or Lease costs: If a business operates out of a rented or leased office, store, warehouse, or factory, the monthly or annual payment for the premises is an explicit cost. For example, if a retail store pays $20,000 per year to rent its location, this constitutes an explicit cost. 3. Raw Material and Supply costs: Businesses that produce goods or offer services that require materials or supplies have these as their explicit costs. From a manufacturing company buying steel to make car parts, to a hair salon purchasing shampoo and hair color for their services – these are all examples of explicit costs.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is an explicit cost?
Explicit cost refers to a clear, obvious, or direct payment made to other businesses, workers, or any other entity as an essential part of running a business or operating an organization. Examples are wages, rent, and utilities.
How does an explicit cost differ from an implicit cost?
While explicit costs involve direct monetary payment for resources used by a business, implicit costs are the opportunity costs associated with a company using its own resources without direct monetary payment.
Is rent considered an explicit cost?
Yes, rent is considered an explicit cost because it involves direct payment made to lease a building or real estate property for the operation of a business.
Are explicit costs recorded in the books of a company?
Yes, explicit costs are recorded in the books of a company. They are also reported in the financial statements since they are tangible and easily quantifiable.
How does explicit cost affect profit calculation?
Explicit costs get subtracted from total revenue while calculating business profits. Since they are actual expenditures, they reduce the overall profit margin.
Can explicit costs vary depending on the scale of operation?
Yes, explicit costs can vary depending on the scale of the operation. For instance, as a business expands, it might need to spend more on wages, rent or raw materials, leading to a higher explicit cost.
How are explicit costs treated in tax calculations?
Explicit costs are typically considered tax-deductible expenses. This means that they can be deducted from a company’s revenue to reduce its taxable income, depending on the applicable tax rules and regulations.
Are explicit costs factored into the cost of goods sold (COGS)?
Yes, explicit costs such as direct labor and direct materials are included in the calculation of the cost of goods sold (COGS). These cost factors are integral to the production process.

Related Finance Terms

  • Direct Cost
  • Out-of-pocket Expense
  • Accounting Costs
  • Operational Expenditure
  • Cash Expenses

Sources for More Information

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