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Non-Cash Charge


A non-cash charge is an expense or loss reported in the company’s financial statements that does not involve a cash payment. These charges can include depreciation, amortization, stock-based compensation, and asset impairments, among others. Though they reduce the company’s net income, they do not directly affect its cash flow.


The phonetics for the keyword “Non-Cash Charge” can be represented as: Non-Cash: /nɒn-kæʃ/Charge: /ʧɑ:rdʒ/

Key Takeaways

1. Definition: Non-cash charge, also known as non-cash expense, is a company expense that is presented in financial statements, but doesn’t involve a cash outlay. It is a bookkeeping entry that recognizes the expenses associated with the wear and tear or obsolescence of an asset.

2. Significance: Non-cash charges are significant as they reduce a company’s income but do not affect its cash holdings. As it’s recognized in the reports but doesn’t impact the cash flow, it can lead the company to show higher cash flow than its net income.

3. Types: Common types of non-cash charges include depreciation, amortization, and share-based compensation. These expenses are necessary for maintaining assets or attracting and retaining employees, but are not paid out in cash. Consequently, they are added back to net income in a cash flow statement.


A non-cash charge is significant in business and finance because it represents an expense that is reported in financial statements but does not involve an actual cash outflow, such as depreciation, amortization, or a write-down. Non-cash charges can greatly impact a company’s reported earnings, possibly even showing a net loss, despite the company maintaining a positive cash flow. This occurrence indicates that the company’s operations are profitable but its previous investments or assets have lost value. It’s important to analyze and consider non-cash charges when evaluating a company’s financial health as they provide insights into the company’s management of assets, potential tax benefits, and the true profitability of the company’s operations.


A non-cash charge denotes an expense reported on the operations statement of a company that does not involve the outlay of cash. This implies that it is a business expense recorded and reported but does not lead to any cash payout, hence it poses no impact on the company’s cash flow. The most common examples include depreciation, amortization, and stock-based compensation. It’s a critical concept of a firm’s financial health, as it can affect earnings while not draining their cash resources.The principal purpose of a non-cash charge is to account for the ongoing costs associated with an asset that is not covered under regular operational expenses. For instance, when a company purchases a large piece of machinery, it would record the value of that machinery as an asset. Over time, the machinery will start to depreciate or lose its initial economic value. This depreciation is a non-cash charge, and the company takes it as an expense each period to acknowledge the gradual utilization of the machine. Such charges thus help create a balance in a company’s financial statements and reflect a more accurate picture of the company’s financial state by acknowledging asset usage, cost allocation, and potential future liabilities.


Non-cash charges are expenses reported on an income statement for which there were no actual outflows of cash during the period. Here are three real world examples:1. Depreciation: This is probably the most common non-cash charge. It’s a way of recognizing the decrease in value of an asset over time. For instance, a company purchases a piece of equipment costing $100,000 that has an anticipated life of 10 years. Each year, the company takes a depreciation expense of $10,000 even though no cash is actually spent, resulting in a non-cash charge. 2. Amortization: This refers to the gradual recognition in an income statement of a company’s intangible assets over a specified period. When a company acquires intangible assets like a patent or copyright, they have to amortize or distribute the cost of these assets over their useful life. Even though these costs are recognized as expenses, no cash outflow occurs.3. Stock-Based Compensation: Companies often reward employees using stock options. Even though it’s a cost to the company, it doesn’t involve any cash payment. The company simply forgoes selling part of its ownership at its current market price. These compensation expenses are reported on the income statement but do not involve any cash outflows during the period, hence is a non-cash charge.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a non-cash charge?

A non-cash charge is an expense reported in financial statements such as income statements, that does not involve any cash outlay. It represents a reduction in the net worth or equity of a company due to the depreciation, amortization, or any write-downs on the assets of the company.

Is a non-cash charge considered an expense?

Yes, a non-cash charge is considered an expense but it does not result in any cash outlay. It still reduces a company’s earnings and thus its reported profits.

Can you give an example of a non-cash charge?

Yes, typical examples of non-cash charges include depreciation, amortization, or provisions for future expected losses. These costs are recognized on profit and loss statements although no cash transaction occurs.

How does a non-cash charge impact a company’s cash flow?

Non-cash charges are added back to the net income in the cash flow statement as they reduce net income but do not have an impact on cash flows. So, it actually increases the operating cash flow.

How can non-cash charges impact investors’ perspective of a company?

Non-cash charges can skew a company’s reported profit or loss. Some investors may prefer to focus on a company’s cash flow instead, as it can offer a more accurate view of a company’s financial health.

What are non-cash charges in reference to EBITDA?

When calculating EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization), non-cash charges such as depreciation and amortization are added back to net income because they are considered costs, but they do not reduce the amount of cash a company has on hand.

Why are non-cash charges important?

Non-cash charges are important as they provide insights into the assets and the future expected losses of a company. They also play a vital role in financial analysis, corporate finance, and valuation.

Related Finance Terms

  • Depreciation
  • Intangible Asset Amortization
  • Stock-Based Compensation
  • Provision for Doubtful Accounts
  • Impairment of Goodwill

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