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Recurring Expenses vs. Non Recurring Expenses: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on December 13, 2023
Recurring expenses are regular and predictable costs incurred routinely, while non-recurring expenses are one-time or irregular costs that are not part of normal operations.

Key Differences

Recurring expenses occur at regular intervals, like monthly or annually, and are predictable. On the other hand, non-recurring expenses are irregular, often unexpected, and do not follow a consistent schedule.
Recurring expenses are routine costs essential for daily operations, such as rent or salaries. Whereas, non-recurring expenses arise from unusual events or one-time transactions, like equipment repair or legal settlements.
Recurring expenses are easier to plan for and are typically included in regular budgets. While, non-recurring expenses can be harder to anticipate and may require contingency funds or adjustments to budgets.
Recurring expenses are crucial for understanding a company's regular financial performance. Meanwhile, non-recurring expenses are analyzed separately to understand their one-time impact on finances.
Common recurring expenses include utility bills, insurance premiums, and subscription fees. Non-recurring expenses could include emergency repairs, acquisition costs, or restructuring charges.

Comparison Chart


Regular and predictable
Irregular and unpredictable

Nature of Cost

Routine and essential for operations
Unusual and not part of normal operations


Included in regular budgets
Require contingency planning

Financial Analysis

Key for regular financial performance
Analyzed for one-time financial impact

Common Examples

Rent, salaries, utilities
Legal settlements, emergency repairs

Recurring Expenses and Non Recurring Expenses Definitions

Recurring Expenses

Routine costs essential for daily operations.
Utility bills are a common recurring expense for households.

Non Recurring Expenses

Expenses that occur irregularly or as one-time costs.
The cost of replacing a damaged machine was a non-recurring expense.

Recurring Expenses

Costs incurred on a regular and ongoing basis.
The monthly rent is a significant recurring expense for the business.

Non Recurring Expenses

Expenses arising from unusual or extraordinary events.
The company's relocation costs were a significant non-recurring expense.

Recurring Expenses

Expenses that are consistent in amount and frequency.
The company's quarterly subscription fees are recurring expenses.

Non Recurring Expenses

Costs that are not expected to repeat in the foreseeable future.
The write-off of obsolete inventory was a non-recurring expense.

Recurring Expenses

Regular financial obligations that are planned for.
Employee salaries are a recurring expense in the company's budget.

Non Recurring Expenses

One-time financial outlays not typical of normal business activity.
The acquisition of a smaller competitor involved substantial non-recurring expenses.

Recurring Expenses

Predictable expenses that occur at fixed intervals.
Annual insurance premiums are a type of recurring expense.

Non Recurring Expenses

Unpredictable costs not part of regular operations.
Settlement of a legal dispute is considered a non-recurring expense.


How do recurring expenses affect budgeting?

They are predictable and regularly factored into budgets.

Do recurring expenses impact cash flow consistently?

Yes, they have a consistent impact on cash flow.

Is depreciation a recurring or non-recurring expense?

It's a recurring expense in accounting.

Are employee bonuses recurring or non-recurring expenses?

Typically non-recurring, unless structured as regular incentives.

Do non-recurring expenses require separate accounting treatment?

Often, as they need to be highlighted in financial reports.

Are loan repayments a recurring expense?

Yes, if they're made in regular installments.

Can non-recurring expenses be planned for?

They are less predictable, but contingency planning can help.

Can a non-recurring expense become recurring?

Rarely, unless the nature of the expense changes fundamentally.

How do non-recurring expenses affect profit and loss statements?

They can cause fluctuations, impacting one-time profit or loss.

Are recurring expenses generally fixed or variable?

They can be either, but are often fixed.

Are utility bills considered recurring expenses?

Yes, as they occur regularly.

Can businesses eliminate non-recurring expenses?

Not entirely, as they often arise from unforeseen circumstances.

Are marketing expenses always recurring?

Not always; some campaigns can be one-time, thus non-recurring.

Do non-recurring expenses impact tax calculations differently?

They can, depending on their nature and accounting rules.

Can legal fees be non-recurring expenses?

Yes, especially if related to one-time legal matters.

How do investors view recurring expenses?

As a regular part of business operations impacting long-term stability.

Can insurance claims result in non-recurring expenses?

Yes, if they relate to one-time events.

Is rent a recurring expense?

Yes, typically paid on a regular monthly basis.

Can a major system upgrade be a non-recurring expense?

Yes, if it's a one-time substantial investment.

Do companies aim to reduce recurring expenses?

Yes, as part of cost management strategies.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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