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A cost to a business that is not directly related to making a product. For example, market research is an indirect cost because, while it may assist in making decisions about production, it does not affect the production of any one unit. Another common indirect cost is the purchase of office supplies. Indirect costs are necessary to running a business. See also: Direct cost, Overhead.
A cost that is not directly related to the production of a specific good or service but that is indirectly related to a variety of goods or services. For example, the cost of administering a large company is an indirect cost that must be spread over a number of products or services. Also called overhead. Compare direct cost.