Operating expenses, what are they?


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Hello, a clueless nonexpert here!

Dear experts,

I am trying to understand what "operating expenses" are but the Internet keeps throwing at me definitions that contradict with each other.

Look:

smallbusiness.chron.com
Operating expenses, also known as manufacturing expenses, are costs associated with making a product or providing a service.
accountingtools.com
Operating expenses are those expenditures that a business incurs to engage in any activities not directly associated with the production of goods or services (see an alternative definition at the bottom). These expenditures are the same as selling, general and administrative expenses.
investopedia.com
Operating expenses include materials, labor and machinery used to make a product or deliver a service.
And when you click on operative expenses on this site you see
An operating expense is an expense a business incurs through its normal business operations. Often abbreviated as OPEX, operating expenses include rent, equipment, inventory costs, marketing, payroll, insurance, and funds allocated for research and development.
I was trying to check if overheads and operating expenses are synonyms and now I just don't know what to think. And to cap it all, there are some operating costs which seem to be the sum of both "operating expenses" definitions that the Internet gives.

investopedia.com
Operating Cost = Cost of Goods Sold + Operating Expenses
Help me, please, I am slowly going crazy here. o_O
 
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It is a lot of what YOU account for as operating expenses within your company. There are always some variables. AKA each company will be a LITTLE bit different in how they account for operating expenses.

Generally speaking.. most operating expenses will be calculated as what it costs to keep the business, in essence, running. This would include your utilities, payroll, rent/mortgage, inventory etc.
 

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