A non-controllable cost is an expense that is not within the sphere of control of a manager. The cost may be controllable at a higher level of the organization, but it is not controllable from the perspective of the person in question. For example, a manager cannot alter his own salary. Or, a department manager has no control over the rent charge that is allocated to his department for office space used. The proportion of non-controllable costs in a manager's budget dictates the extent to which he can influence the expense level of his department.