Primer on Costs, Expenses and Cost Objectives

Costs and Expenses
What's the difference? The terms seem to be used interchangeably, but an accountant will explain to you how they are not precisely interchangeable. For an explanation by a real accountant, has a couple of blog posts that should fill the bill: Post 1 and Post 2. Enjoy.

However, for the practical purposes of this website, it's relatively safe to use the terms interchangeably, especially when discussing issues like cost allowability and cost allocation. So, in general, costs = expenses.

Cost Objectives
There are three important definitions using this term in the Uniform Guidance:

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