Tuesday, January 8, 2019
A Look at Climate Change Disclosures

Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Quants: Point-in-Time Data for Backtesting

Friday, December 28, 2018
Now Showing: Controls & Procedures

Thursday, December 27, 2018
A Reminder on Non-GAAP Reporting Rules

Monday, December 17, 2018
Researching PG&E’s Wildfire Risk

Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Tracking Brexit Disclosures

Thursday, December 6, 2018
Campbell Soup: Looking Behind the Label

Sunday, December 2, 2018
SEC Comment Letters: The Amazon Example

Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Measuring Big Pharma’s Chemical Dependency

Monday, November 26, 2018
Analysts, Can You Relate? A True Story

Monday, November 19, 2018
Digging Up Historical Trend Data: Quest Example

Sunday, November 11, 2018
Cost of Revenue, SG&A: Q3 Update

Monday, November 5, 2018
Lease Accounting: FedEx vs. UPS

Saturday, November 3, 2018
New Email Alerting Powers

Wednesday, October 31, 2018
PTC and Two Tales of Revenue

Tuesday, October 30, 2018
10-K/Q Section Text Change Detection

Sunday, October 28, 2018
Finding Purchase Price Allocation

Sunday, October 21, 2018
Charting Netflix Growth in Three Ways

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Interesting Data on Interest Income

Thursday, October 11, 2018
The Decline of Sears in Three Charts

Archive  |  Search:
SG&A Costs Over Time
Thursday, November 10, 2016

One of the great immovable forces in Corporate America is, of course, overhead costs. So as we sat around Calcbench headquarters the other day, wondering what interesting facts we might find in our databases, we said: “Hey! Let’s look at trends in SG&A costs (sales, general, and adminsitrative) over time to see how they’re changing!”

That research is easy enough to do. You can do those broad analyses from our Data Query Page; SG&A costs are a choice you can select from the list of items on the income statement. We decided to look at SG&A costs (total for all public filers, and average amount per filer) for 2011 through 2015. Easy enough.

In fact, we thought, that’s too easy. So we also collected total and average revenue for the same period, and then calculated the percentage of total revenue spent on S&GA costs per filer. You can see the results below, in Figure 1.

That’s a remarkably steady range for SG&A costs as a portion of total revenue until we hit 2015, when the figure jumps from 14.8 percent to 15.5. You might recall that earlier this year the Labor Department said wages finally began rising again in 2015, and that’s reflective of these numbers. We’ll be curious to see what 2016 numbers look like when they are reported next spring, given the respectable wage and job growth we’ve seen all year long.

So we then decided to run the same analysis specifically for the S&P 500. Results are below in Figure 2. The percentages are higher, but still fluctuate within a narrow band.

Then just for kicks, we ran the same analysis specifically looking at filers from the banking and securities trading sectors—jobs where sales commissions can be much higher. Lo and behold, SG&A costs were much higher, although again within a narrow range. See below in Figure 3.

FREE Calcbench Premium
Two Week Trial

Research Financial & Accounting Data Like Never Before. More features and try our Excel add-in. Sign up now to try the Premium Suite.