What are Sundry Expenses?

Definition: Sundry expenses are items or expenditures that are rare, amount to very little, or are relatively unimportant and therefore do not fit into a standard asset or expense category. You can think of this as a “miscellaneous” item that is too random or rare to fit into a category you would normally use to define it.

What Does Sundries Mean?

What is the definition of sundry expenses? These are small, random expendituresthat don’t happen very often and are typically unusual in nature. These types of expenses don’t fit into other standardized general ledger accounts like advertising or maintenance. So, the accountant creates a sundry category and posts all of these expenses to it.

Another common use is sundry income, which would be any sources of income a company has that are out of the ordinary and outside of normal income categories like income from performing a standard service or selling a core product.

For an example, let’s look at a shoe store.


T Shoes incurs many expenses that easily fit into categories like employee wages, rent, loss on product defects, and the list goes on. Let’s say they receive a shipment of 100 shoeboxes, but two of those boxes don’t have size stickers on them. The cost incurred to buy individual stickers for those two boxes would be written off as a sundry expense. That’s because this is not a normal occurrence, the amount expensed was very low, and the expense wouldn’t fall into a standard category like wages or rent.

Now let’s assume that a customer purchased shoes in another country and wishes to return them in America, but the exchange rate leaves the company with extra income. This doesn’t fall into a standard income category and is therefore labeled as miscellaneous income.

If the shoe store starts receiving regular international orders and returns. This income should be moved out of the sundries account and into a new account for international returns because the events happen regularly.

Summary Definition

Define Sundry Items: Sundry expense means small expenditures that are infrequent.

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