Selling, General, & Admin. Expense (SGA) includes the direct and indirect costs and all general and administrative expenses of a company. For instance, personnel cost, advertising, rent, communication costs are all part of SGA.
An efficient operation keeps SGA costs low and thus has higher profit margin. The percentage of SGA relative to total revenue is an indication of how efficiently the company operates. Compare this percentage among the companies in the same industry is a good way of finding more efficient operations. A comparison of the SGA cost relative to the revenue with the historical value can also be an indication of how efficient the company has become.
Warren Buffett likes companies with consistent SGA as the percentage of gross profit.
Companies with no durable competitive advantage show wild variation in SG&A as % of Gross Profit.
If SGA is less than 30% of Gross Profit, it is fantastic. If SGA is nearing 100%, it is is in highly competitive industry.
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