What Is an Interest Expense?

What Is an Interest Expense?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

An interest expense refers to the cost incurred by an entity when they borrow money. This could be in the form of bonds, loans, or other forms of debt. It is essentially the price paid for the privilege of using someone else’s money. It’s calculated by multiplying the rate of interest by the amount of the borrowed money. It represents the charges from the lending institution for the usage of its assets.

Related Questions

1. What is the formula for calculating interest expense?

The formula to calculate the interest expense is simple. It’s the Principal Amount Borrowed multiplied by the Interest Rate multiplied by the Time (in years) that the money is borrowed for. It’s typically mentioned in yearly terms.

2. How is interest expense reflected on a financial statement?

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Interest expense typically appears on a company’s income statement. It’s a line item located right before ‘income before tax’. This means it’s accounted for by reducing the income of the company before tax is levied.

3. Is interest expense an operating cost?

Yes, interest expense can be considered an operating cost if the debt was taken on for operations such as purchase of equipment or other assets. But it is not traditionally seen as one because it’s not directly associated with the production of goods or services.

4. Can interest expense be reduced?

Companies can reduce their interest expense by either reducing the amount of their outstanding debt or by obtaining debt financing at lower interest rates. Additionally, any excess cash can be used to repay loans, thereby decreasing the level of interest expense.

5. What’s the difference between interest expense and interest payable?

Interest expense is the cost of borrowing funds, recorded in the period the interest is incurred, irrespective of when it is paid. On the other hand, interest payable is a liability that represents interest that has accrued but has not yet been paid. It’s typically paid off during the next accounting period.