Starting a new business? Get 40% off our accountancy services for 3 months! 😎


Overheads are costs which you incur in order to run your business, but they aren’t directly related to the product or service you provide. They’ll appear on your profit and loss statement, and can have a big impact on the financial health of your business, so in this article, we answer some of the most commonly asked questions about overhead expenses.

What are overheads?

Overheads are the costs you incur on order to keep a business running. It’s important to keep track of these costs so you can make sure your business stays as efficient as possible. You might also be able to claim tax relief on them as allowable expenses – helping to reduce your tax bill!

What are examples of overhead costs?

The type of business you run will determine what your overheads are. They’re a bit different to other sorts of expenses, and are more to do with what it costs to run the business. For example, a jeweller may need a physical store to reach their customers, so the cost of renting premises will be one of the overheads which enable them to operate effectively. Other examples could include:

  • Business insurance
  • Utility bills
  • Accounting and legal services
  • Cleaning and maintenance


Comprehensive tax return services

From only £24.50 per month

Learn more

Are there different types of overheads?

Yes! There are three different types of overheads:

  • Fixed costs
  • Variable costs
  • Semi-variable costs

Fixed costs

Fixed costs, as the name suggests, pretty much stay the same every month. Typical examples of fixed costs in a business include things like rent, website hosting services, and business insurance.

These overheads usually remain the same regardless of how busy or successful your business is (unless you grow so much that you need to take on larger premises, and pay more rent!). They are predictable, so you’ll pay the same amount every month.

Variable costs

Variable overheads are regularly recurring costs that fluctuate over time, usually relating to how busy you are as a business. For example, a restaurant’s water usage will change depending on how many customers it serves over time, so its water bill will change depending on the number of diners it has each month. Common variable overheads are utilities, such as gas and water bills.

Semi-variable costs

Semi-variable overheads are somewhere in-between variable costs and fixed costs. You’ll generally pay a predictable set amount on a monthly basis, unless you exceed a limit.

A great example of a semi-variable cost is your phone bill. You pay a fixed contract charge every month, but you’ll be charged extra if you exceed your data or call limit.

Will my overheads affect my tax bill?

Overhead costs are often allowable expenses, which means that you can claim tax relief on them when you submit your tax return, helping you to lower your tax bill.

We know that running a business can be stressful, which is why our professional online accountants try to make it as easy as possible. Call 020 3355 4047 and get an instant online quote.

About The Author

Dean Salmon

I'm an AAT and ACA qualified Chartered Accountant with over 13 years experience working with businesses, contractors and sole traders. I also love watching live music, and quizzes! Learn more about Dean.

More posts by this author
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Read more posts...

Maternity Pay for Self-Employed People

Being self-employed can offer the kind of freedom and flexibility many of us dream about. But if you’re looking to start or…

Read More

What are Payments on Account?

Payments on account are a type of advance payment that you might need to make towards your Self Assessment tax bill. In…

Read More

Staff Spotlight: Aaron Parkinson, Semi-Senior Accountant

This month we spoke to Aaron Parkinson, Semi-Senior Accountant at The Accountancy Partnership! Give an overview of the duties, functions and responsibilities…

Read More
Back to Blog...

Confirm Transactions

The number of monthly transactions you have entered based on your turnover seem high. A transaction is one bookkeeping entry such as a sale, purchase, payment or receipt. Are you sure this is correct?

Yes, submit my quote
No, let me change it

Please contact our sales team if you’re unsure

VAT Returns

It is unlikely you will need this service, unless you are voluntarily registered for VAT.

Are you sure this is correct?

Yes, the business is VAT registered
No, let me change it

Call us on 020 3355 4047 if you’re not sure.


You will receive our bookkeeping software Pandle for free, as part of your package.

You can use this to complete your own bookkeeping, or we can provide a quote to complete your bookkeeping for you.

Please select and option below:

I will do my own bookkeeping
I want you to do my bookkeeping

Call us on 020 3355 4047 if you’re not sure.