3 Questions Business Owners Need to Ask About Employee Expenses

Do you own a business? Do you run a business? Then I recommend you follow me through this simple math and some reasonable conclusions.

Assume you have a person making a $50,000 gross salary. Assume their true cost — including health insurance, overhead, work space, computers, Internet, electric power, payroll taxes, etc. — is $80,000. That person costs your company about $40 per hour.

For that calculation, I divide the $80,000 by 49 to calculate the weekly cost of $1,633 (I take off two of the 52 weeks in a year for vacation and another for national holidays). I divide that weekly cost by 40 to get $40.82 per hour.  And then for convenience I round that to $40 per hour.

So, with that hourly cost in mind, I’d ask myself these questions:

  1. Thinking about computers and Internet connections: Do I really cut costs by having employees working with old technology?
  2. Books and magazines: I’m betting $15-20 per business book, or annual magazine subscription, on saving my people some time, generating good ideas, helping them work better. So the marketing books for the marketing team, programming magazines, business magazines, how expensive are they, really? How much do they have to help to pay for themselves?
  3. Meeting expenses: how much does it cost me to start a meeting 10 or 15 minutes late? Is it worth it to bring lunch into a meeting to save my team members the time of going out to lunch?

My conclusion: spend the money. Keep your technology up to date, encourage employees to get whatever books and magazines or website subscriptions help them, and combine meetings with meals a lot.

What do you think?


  • Jay says:

    Hello, I just had a general question about business expenses.

    As an incorporated business owner, what happens when my employees submit business expenses?

    As a business owner am I liable for paying out the business expenses?

    How does that work?

    Sorry, this is a very simple question.

    • Tim Berry says:

      Jay, thanks for the question. I wish I had a simple answer. I’m not an attorney, though, so I’m really not qualified. What I’ve seen, from a non-attorney business owner point of view, is that these issues depend a lot on the exact circumstances. There’s no way to generalize. Tim

  • aironealvaira says:

    I am not yet very experienced person running a business, but all i can say is thats very a brilliant idea sir Tim, i’d experienced to become employee also and its very favorable for me having a lot of resources to make me become better person..happy and satisfied working in a company. that way, my loyalty is for my boss only.. In my own perception its not an Expenses its an Investments..
    I always believe that employees are the backbone of the company..

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  • Clint Wilson says:

    Great read Tim:) and keeping our team leads’ technologies they use daily current is a huge money saver in our business @cazoomi

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