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Differences Between Standard Cost And Standard Costing

What is a Standard Cost?

The preceding list shows that there are many situations where standard costing is not useful, and may even result in incorrect management actions. Nonetheless, as long as you are aware of these issues, it is usually possible to profitably adapt standard costing into some aspects of a company’s operations. The business plans on producing 5,000 keyboards in the next quarter. Based on their standard labour and material costs, it will cost £5000 in materials, and £25,000 in labour, for a total production cost of £30,000 in the quarter. If the actual cost is greater than the standard cost, then this is an unfavourable variance. If the standard cost exceeds the actual cost then this means that the business is spending less than expected, and is favourable.

In this case, the sale is made to another entity as part of the production process rather than to the end-user. These prices are generally used when selling goods between divisions of the same company, especially when there are international segments. A transfer price is what one division of a company charges another for materials used in the production of goods and services. Her boss, Craig the CFO, gave her a task to calculate the standard cost of the company for the upcoming year 2010.


This approach represents a simplified alternative to cost layering systems, such as the FIFO and LIFO methods, where large amounts of historical cost information must be maintained for inventory items held in stock. It is very difficult to establish standard costs of materials, labor and overheads.

What is a Standard Cost?

She was given the following past information for Wawadoo Co. to try and calculate the standard cost for Wawadoo’s product . Standard cost is very important for both large and small businesses because it allows them to quickly take stock of their expenditures. This method is rather straightforward; and even someone without formal training, like a small business owner, can do a simple version of standard costing. To be profitable, both large and small companies must find some way to account for their costs.

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For this purpose it is more convenient using standard costing than actual costs because it is done on scientific and rational manner by taking into account all technical aspects. The biggest complaint I hear about using actual costs in a work-order-driven manufacturing environment is from accountants. They don’t like that the same item can go into inventory at different costs. The common phrase is, “It’s messy.” They like the sense of order a standard cost methodology provides.

At the beginning of the year, the company calculated the cost of the production of the watches by considering the past trends and the expected future conditions of the market. In the coming year, the company will likely produce 5,000 units of watches. Overhead includes fixed overhead cost and variable overhead, calculated by multiplying standard quantity with the standard rate of variable overhead.

Management Accounting

If this is cost prohibitive, the company may only use materials and labor standard costing, sidestepping the problem altogether. The standard cost presented in Figure 10.1 “Standard Costs at Jerry’s Ice Cream” shows the variable production costs expected to produce one unit. Later in the chapter, we compare the flexible budget presented in Figure 10.3 “Flexible Budget” to actual results and analyze the difference. Standard cost can be compared to actual cost once the product has been created or manufactured. Actual cost refers to the real cost of manufacturing a product, which can be calculated after it has been produced. While standard cost is an estimate of the expected cost, actual cost is what was actually spent to produce the product. Actual cost includes the total cost of materials, direct labor, and overhead costs that are incurred due to production.

Imagine these types of problems happening all the time, making it very difficult to keep track of the actuals. Cost objects are the reason for performing activities, and activities are the processes or procedures that cause work and create costs. ABC analyses costs from the perception of the how much a particular activity costs, and the amount of resources consumed by the end product of the activity.

Standard Cost Vs Actual Cost In A Work

There are different definitions of standard costing, all of which emphasize the use and determination of standard cost. Importantly, comparison of actual cost with standard cost shows the variance. When correctly analyzed, this shows how to correct adverse tendencies. While standard costs are a useful tool for manufacturers, they have a What is a Standard Cost? few drawbacks you should keep in mind. The company’s management uses these costs to plan the process of future production and ways to increase the company’s efficiencies. If there are production process changes, such as the installation of new, automated equipment, then this impacts the amount of labor required to manufacture a product.

What is a Standard Cost?

Standard costs have their flaws, but they’re still a useful tool for companies to create an accurate business budget without having to do a ton of complicated math. Coming up with an accurate standard cost does require you to know your product and your team’s capabilities, but even if you start with guesses, you’ll get closer and closer to your actual costs over time. You may even identify ways to improve your profit margins as well. Calculating inventory using standard costs is easier than using actual costs. This is because in reality, one batch of a product may cost more to produce than another batch of the exact same product. Maybe there were production delays on the line resulting in staff overtime to finish that second batch.

For example, they may buy raw materials in larger quantities in order to improve the purchase price variance, even though this increases the investment in inventory. Similarly, management may schedule longer production runs in order to improve the labor efficiency variance, even though it is better to produce in smaller quantities and accept less labor efficiency in exchange. Just meeting standards may not be sufficient; continual improvement may be necessary to survive in the current competitive environment. For this reason, some companies focus on the trends in the standard cost variances – aiming for continual improvement rather than just meeting the standards. In other companies, engineered standards are being replaced either by a rolling average of actual costs, which is expected to decline, or by very challenging target costs.

Direct Materials Standard Quantity And Standard Price

If the variance is only a small amount, this may not be necessary, depending on the company. Variance reports can be used to improve operations as they provide insight to the additional costs incurred. Variance can help management to recognize any issues that might be affecting increased costs. They may focus more time and resources on certain issues that they find more important, which is a process known as management by exception. Managers can make changes to better accommodate the production process. For example, if the direct materials price is $10 and the standard quantity is 20 pounds per unit, you would multiply $10 by 20 to get $200. Let’s say the direct labor rate is $15 and the direct labor standard hours per unit is 10 hours.

  • Standard costing is an efficient way to predict a company’s costs at different levels of sales.
  • The variable production costs expected to produce these units are shown in the flexible budget in Figure 10.2 “Flexible Budget for Variable Production Costs at Jerry’s Ice Cream”.
  • The remaining 20%-25% is comprised of, in descending order of use, Actual Cost, FIFO – which is a form of Actual Cost and Weighted Average Costing.
  • In regards to standard cost, they could be spending more time rectifying any variances than congratulating employees for a job well done.
  • Standard costs removes the reflection of abnormal price fluctuations in production planning.

It is not always considered practical or even necessary to calculate and report on variances, unless the resulting information can be used by management to improve the operations or lower the costs of a business. Standard Direct cost is any expenditure (other than direct material and direct labor which is directly to be incurred on a specific cost unit. It is charged directly to the particular cost standard concerned. The standard direct material cost is found by multiplying the quantity of materials to be purchased with the rate of a price at which they are available.

Now, let’s say the overhead is $10 and the number of hours is 5. This would mean the standard cost for the overhead is $50 because $10 multiplied by 5 is $50. Even though ABC is used by manager for making strategic decisions, it is not used independently. It is utilized to supplement official costing systems that are used for preparing external financial reports. (Garrison, Noreen, & Brewer, 2010) Traditional Product Costing determines cost of goods sold by combining direct material, direct labor and manufacturing overhead.

Standard costs approximate actual costs, but they probably won’t be exactly the same. The difference between the standard cost and the actual cost is known as a variance. If it costs less to produce a product than the standard cost predicted, that’s a favorable variance. But if it costs more than the standard cost, that’s an unfavorable variance. Taking the time to continuously update actual costs means a lot of number adjustments for a company’s accountant. As a result, the required financial reports for a company’s management can be generated easier and faster. The management uses it to determine the reasonability of the actual costs of the period.

Standard overhead rate is determined on the basis of past records and future trend of prices. To help the management in formulating production policy and helps in fixing the price quotations as well as in submitting tenders of various products. This can be done with accuracy with standard cost than the actual costs. Standard costs removes the reflection of abnormal price fluctuations in production planning.

So, in order to see whether or not they will be profitable, business managers and owners need to know what their costs are. Standard costing is an efficient way to predict a company’s costs at different levels of sales. Standard costing allows people to calculate efficiency, forecast profit, and adjust strategy accordingly.

Key Differences Between Standard Cost Vs Actual Cost

A company that operates at gross profit does a good job of turning labor and supplies into value. So, cost accounting is part of the process of figuring out whether a company is doing well, or not. A standard is a predetermined measure relating to materials, labor, or overheads. It is a reflection of what is expected, under specific conditions, of plant and personnel. Finally, standard costing is a control technique that follows the feedback control cycle. Therefore, the feedback system may help to eliminate unwanted costs in the future, leading to a potential reduction in costs. Fourthly, a standard costing system may be used to assess the performance and efficiency of staff and management.

Standard costing is a common way to set a budget for projects, and there are a number of reasons why. After the quarter, the management team wants to see if they stayed within their budget. After running the numbers, they notice that the total production cost was in fact £35,000 rather than the estimated £30,000. The management team will then review the production processes to figure out why the cost was higher than initially expected. An efficient accounting system is also an essential requisite for successful operation of the standard costing system. The accounting information supplied should not only be accurate but also be complete and up to date. The system of coding may be used for speedy recording and analysing the accounting information.

The Benefits Of Using A Standard Cost System

Establishment of standard costing requires high degree of technical skill. Standards that are more realistic than ideal standards by taking into consideration the likelihood of encountering problems in production such as machine downtime, materials waste, and employee illness. The quantity of materials required to complete one good unit of product. Even in jobbing industries where jobs vary significantly, there is a considerable possibility of implementing this costing system. While the product in many businesses may not be repetitive and standard, the activities required to do the task are, and standards can be established for the processes conducted. Practical standards, or normal standards, are the standards that are attainable considering the conditions of the expected work. They are not the optimum standards but instead they are considered efficient standards, meaning the expectations are reasonable given the working conditions and resources.

Another objective of standard cost is to make the entire organisation cost conscious. It makes the employees to recognise the importance of efficient operations so that costs can be reduced by joint efforts.

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