Using Activity-Based Costing to Allocate Overhead Costs

Using Activity-Based Costing to Allocate Overhead Costs

Using Activity-Based Costing to Allocate Overhead Costs

By a2support

An activity cost driver can affect the costs of labor, maintenance, and other variable costs in ABC. ABC is a subfield of managerial accounting concerned with allocating an activity’s indirect costs, also known as overheads. This step allows companies to use that information to decide what to do next. Activity-based costing is a method for pricing products and services using activity data or information about the product or service usage. Activity-based costing aims to charge customers more accurately for the resources used in producing those products or services. Activity-based costing, or ABC, allocates overhead and indirect costs to the products and services directly related to them.

  1. Machine setups, requests for maintenance, amount of power consumed, purchase orders, quality inspections, and production orders are all examples of cost drivers.
  2. In a city, accountants can benefit from diverse job opportunities, higher salaries, and networking events.
  3. There were more requisitions than estimated, and there was also more overhead.
  4. As a result, the activity-based approach leverages activities rather than functional divisions (also known as Cost Centers) to absorb overhead costs.
  5. Suppose you can incorporate the collection of ABC data into an accounting system.

Low-level participation activities, such as accounting and marketing, have less impact on product creation and often require fewer resources. In addition to assigning costs, identifying activities and activity pools can help businesses measure performance. On the other hand, allocating certain indirect costs to a specific product can be challenging, such as the salaries of management and office staff.

A significant number of cost pools is necessary to operate an ABC system, which increases the system’s ongoing maintenance cost. To keep these costs under control, you should routinely assess the value of the information you receive concerning maintaining each cost pool. You need to estimate costs using the resources required for various activities. It helps to ensure that all resources are being utilized most efficiently.

Cost Allocation- Activity-Based Costing (ABC)

At this point, we have identified the most important and costlyactivities required to make products, and we have assigned overheadcosts to each of these activities. The next step is to find anallocation base that drives the cost of each activity. The next step is to allocate each cost pool to the product by using cost drivers.

No one-size-fits-all answer exists to how activity-based costing can be adapted to different business models and industries. The approach must be tailored to the specific characteristics of the business in question. However, some general principles can be followed to ensure that activity-based costing is used how is overhead allocated in an abc system effectively across different businesses. For example, if ABC data shows that a particular activity costs more than anticipated, steps can be taken to reduce the cost of that activity. This could involve changing how the activity is performed, eliminating it altogether, or finding a less expensive way.

For example, you can track your inventory to understand the cost of inventory. If you are making sales, you can track your expenses too to know if you are spending too much. When implementing activity-based costing, a few challenges need to be considered. Activity-based costing is typically performed on a project-by-project basis, which means that professionals only need to collect data once.

Terms Similar to Activity-Based Costing

Activity-based costing has multiple cost drivers and focuses on the overhead-related activities performed during manufacturing. Traditional allocation has a single unit-level base for allocating overhead and focuses on the units of production. In fact, research might show us even more cost pools; however, there will be a limit to the effectiveness of any allocation system. At some point, the cost of collecting data and computing product cost will exceed the added value of the information received. The second step is assigning overhead costs to the identified activities.

Organizations that do not comply with the AAM risk inaccurate cost estimates and wasted resources. By adhering to this vital control system, businesses can ensure accurate financial reporting and improved decision-making. Installations of the activity-based costing system across large portions of an organization can take several years and require a significant amount of labor.

Using the plantwideapproach, the plaintiff‘s expert allocated all costs based ongallons of gas sold. Using the activity-based costing approach, thedefendant‘s expert formed three activity cost pools—labor, kiosk,and gas dispensing. The first two cost pools allocated costs usinggallons of gas sold and therefore were allocated as they would bewith the plantwide approach (63 percent for regular grade, 20percent for plus, and 17 percent for premium). The third cost pool(gas dispensing) allocated costs equally to each grade of fuel(i.e., one-third of costs to each grade of fuel). The gasdispensing pool included costs for storage tanks, all of which werethe same size, as well as gas pumps and signs. Both costing experts had to allocate costs to each of the three grades of gasoline (regular, plus, and premium) to determine a total cost per grade of fuel and a cost per gallon for each grade.

Product pricing is really based on the price that the market will bear, but the marketing manager should know what the cost of the product is, in order to avoid selling a product that will lose a company money on every sale. ABC is very good for determining which overhead costs should be included in this minimum cost, depending upon the circumstances under which products are being sold. Under the ABC system, an activity can also be considered as any transaction or event that is a cost driver. A cost driver, also known as an activity driver, is used to refer to an allocation base. Examples of cost drivers include machine setups, maintenance requests, consumed power, purchase orders, quality inspections, or production orders.

Comparing Estimates to Actual Costs

When considering an accounting career, the choice between a city and a small town is crucial. In a city, accountants can benefit from diverse job opportunities, higher salaries, and networking events. On the other hand, small towns offer a tight-knit community, lower living costs, and a better work-life balance.

Too Many Cost Pools

After that, the total cost can be divided up among the various departments as activity cost pools according to what makes the most logical sense. For instance, the rent for the factory would not be included in the collection of costs for research and development because the research and development department would not be using space in the factory. The ultimate benefit of conducting a driver analysis is that it enables management to evaluate alternative activity drivers that may be less expensive regarding machine hours, labor, materials, etc. Short-term costs will be incurred within the next year or two, while long-term costs will extend beyond one year. Allocating costs to activity pools based on their total cost helps managers make informed decisions about allocating resources to the project most effectively.


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