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Definition of basic terms of business accounting in terms of total assets , the operating assets , the financial assets and the cash register .

In business in general, effort is the material or ideal commitment that an economic subject has to provide in order to create a service or to receive something in return . The counterpart is the yield .


If someone spends time ( time expenditure ), there is an ideal expenditure, material expenditure is the work ( labor expenditure ) or money (expenditure in the narrower sense). The expenditure of resources is accepted in order to achieve a certain goal . The material economic expenditure serves to generate income . In economic terms, it is seen as the use of assets (such as raw materials , machines ), labor or third-party services . Their use leads to a depreciation, which is called expense.

The concept of effort plays a central role in business administration and its sub-areas of cost accounting and accounting . However, the classification of the term “effort” is inconsistent in the specialist literature . Some see expenditure and costs as sub-terms of "expenditure", the majority divides the expenditure into "purpose expenditure" and "neutral expenditure". The word expenditure appeared for the first time in 1726 in the Graeflich-Leiningen-Grünstadtischen Successions- und Teilungsverordnung, the word expenditure only appeared in 1738 in a legal dictionary. The effort can - but need not - at the same time a payment , an issue his or costs.

Business administration

Expenditure is the consumption of value, expressed in monetary units , that occurs in a company in a financial year . The expenditure includes the neutral expenditure for the non-operational business and the specific expenditure , which is called costs . They are only caused by the production process . Expenses are also reductions in assets that do not directly serve the production of goods and services, such as donations to charitable organizations.

Another definition sees expense as a reduction in equity capital that is not attributable to withdrawals , capital reductions or profit distributions . Effort is ultimately reflected in a reduction in the company's net worth .

Günter Wöhe and other authors understand the effort as the factor input valued with the factor price (also called input ).

Even with compound words, the designation is not always uniform: There is an expense allowance or an expense provision , material expense or interest expense , but also acquisition costs , production costs , material costs or personnel costs .


Expense accounts are all accounts that are used to record and offset expenses. Expense accounts, the postings of which cannot be classified as costs either factually or in terms of amount, are not included in the cost accounting (neutral expense).

Purpose effort

When operating expense refers to that part of the burden, directly on the underlying activity is directed and coincides in the considered period. In the case of specific expenditure, the expenditure in financial accounting corresponds exactly to the operating costs that are recorded in the cost and performance accounting . The purpose effort can be further subdivided into:

The purpose effort together with the additional costs form the total costs .

Neutral expenses

As a neutral effort is that portion of the expense that does not cost character has (the no cost face) which is not on the underlying activity is directed, which is so exceptional in nature and level that he will not be charged as a cost or time another period falls.

As a result of the Accounting Directive Implementation Act , since December 2005 the neutral expenditure (item 15) and the neutral result (item 17) as an intermediate figure in the income statement have been omitted ( Section 275 (2 ) HGB ).

Cost accounting

In cost accounting , there is a clear distinction between effort and costs:

term subspecies Explanation
Effort, but no cost neutral expenses
Effort and costs at the same time
Cost, but no effort extra cost Cost-free costs are not recorded in financial accounting
( imputed company wages )

Imputed costs are costs that are not offset by any effort ( additional costs ) or an expense in an insufficient amount ( other costs ).


Business administration speaks predominantly of effort, the grammatical plural of which is effort . However, this is not applied consistently, so that mostly expenditure (the plural of the legal term expenditure ) is used. Effort and expenditure have different conceptual contents . The accounting and commercial law are not consistent here either, because Section 246 of the German Commercial Code speaks of “expenses and income”, while the classification provision in Section 275 (2) of the German Commercial Code speaks of “material costs ” and “personnel costs ” (Section 275 (2) No. 5 and No. 6 HGB), Section 275 (2) No. 8 HGB provides for “other operating expenses”. The tax law says in § 82b para. 1 of the Income Tax from the preservation effort .


The Deutsche Bundesbank breaks down the costs into material costs , personnel costs , depreciation , interest costs, operating taxes and other expenses.


  • Adolf G. Coenenberg , Axel Haller, Gerhard Mattner, Wolfgang Schultze: Introduction to accounting: basics of bookkeeping and accounting. 8th edition. Schäffer-Poeschel Verlag, Stuttgart 2010, ISBN 978-3791028088 .
  • Harald Wedell, Achim A. Dilling: Fundamentals of accounting: bookkeeping and annual accounts. Cost and performance accounting. 13th edition, NWB-Verlag, 2010, ISBN 978-3482547836 .

Web links

Wiktionary: effort  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Sönke Peters (founder), Rolf Brühl, Johannes N. Stelling: Business Administration. Introduction . 12th revised edition. Oldenbourg Wissenschaftsverlag, Munich et al. 2005, ISBN 3-486-57685-2 ( Google Books ).
  2. ^ Robert Baumann, Financial and operational accounting , 2007, p. 24
  3. Klaus Offerhaus, on the tax delimitation between operationally (professionally) induced and lifestyle-induced expenses (Part I), in: BB 1979, p. 617
  4. Gunther Jensen, balance sheets: reading. create, evaluate , 2013, p. 44
  5. Thomas Hayme, General Teutsches Juristisches Lexicon , 1738, p. 23
  6. Ernst Hache / Heinz Sander, Expert-Lexikon Bilanzierung , 1997, p. 269
  7. ^ Ulrich Döring , expenditure , in: Wolfgang Lück (Ed.), Lexikon der Betriebswirtschaft, 1983, p. 99
  8. Carl-Christian Freidank / Laurenz Lachnit (eds.), Vahlens Großes Auditing-Lexikon , 2007, p. 85
  9. ^ Ulrich Döring, expenditure , in: Wolfgang Lück (Ed.), Lexikon der Betriebswirtschaft, 1983, p. 99
  10. Günter Wöhe / Ulrich Döring, Introduction to General Business Administration , 25th edition, 2013, p. 34
  11. Hermann May / Claudia Wiepcke (eds.), Lexicon of Economic Education , 2012, p. 62
  12. Ute Arentzen / Eggert Winter, Gabler Wirtschafts-Lexikon , Volume 1, 1997, p. 293 f.
  13. Carl-Christian Freidank / Laurenz Lachnit (eds.), Vahlens Großes Auditing-Lexikon , 2007, p. 848
  14. Ute Arentzen (Ed.), Gabler Kompakt-Lexikon Wirtschaft , 2006, p. 249
  15. Jörg Wöltje, cost accounting , 2007, p. 14
  16. Deutsche Bundesbank , Monthly Report December 2012 , 2013, p. 37