Understanding Absorption Costing vs Variable Costing

13 พ.ค. 63

But, remember that “gross profit” is not the same thing as “contribution margin,” and decision logic is often driven by consideration of contribution effects. Further, when inventory levels fluctuate, the periodic income will differ between the two methods. In summary, variable costing is simpler and excludes fixed costs from inventory valuation, while absorption costing is more complex but is required under GAAP as it better matches costs to revenue. The costing method impacts the timing of expense recognition and net income reporting. Absorption costing considers all fixed overhead as part of a product’s cost and assigns it to the product. This strategy does not work with variable costing because all fixed manufacturing overhead costs are expensed as incurred, regardless of the level of sales.

Additionally, it is not helpful for analysis designed to improve operational and financial efficiency or for comparing product lines. The main advantage of absorption costing is that it complies with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), which are required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Furthermore, it takes into account all of the costs of production (including fixed costs), not just the direct costs, and more accurately tracks profit during an accounting period. The absorption cost per unit is $7 ($5 labor and materials + $2 fixed overhead costs). As 8,000 widgets were sold, the total cost of goods sold is $56,000 ($7 total cost per unit × 8,000 widgets sold).

  1. Firms that use absorption costing choose to allocate all costs to production.
  2. Therefore, ending inventory under absorption costing includes $600 of fixed manufacturing overhead costs ($0.60 X 1,000 units) and is valued at $600 more than under variable costing.
  3. That cost will be expensed when the inventory is sold and accounts for the difference in net income under absorption and variable costing, as shown in Figure 6.14.

Under absorption costing, $112,500 of fixed factory overhead cost is included in cost of goods sold. The fixed cost per unit is $7.50, determined by dividing the $150,000 total fixed factory overhead cost by the number of units produced, 20,000. The $7.50 per unit is then multiplied by 15,000, the number of units sold to get $112,500.

An ethical and evenhanded approach to providing clear and informative financial information regarding costing is the goal of the ethical accountant. Ethical business managers understand the benefits of using the appropriate costing systems and methods. The accountant’s entire business organization needs to understand that the costing system is created to provide efficiency in assisting in making business decisions. Determining the appropriate costing system and the type of information to be provided to management goes beyond providing just accounting information. The costing system should provide the organization’s management with factual and true financial information regarding the organization’s operations and the performance of the organization. Unethical business managers can game the costing system by unfairly or unscrupulously influencing the outcome of the costing system’s reports.

Impact of Absorption Costing and Variable Costing on Profit

Consequently, income before income taxes under variable costing is $600 less than under absorption costing because more costs are expensed during the period. For example, assume a new company has fixed overhead of $12,000 and manufactures 10,000 units. Direct materials cost is $3 per unit, direct labor is $15 per unit, and the variable manufacturing overhead is $7 per unit. Under absorption costing, the amount of fixed overhead in each unit is $1.20 ($12,000/10,000 units); variable costing does not include any fixed overhead as part of the cost of the product. Figure 6.11 shows the cost to produce the 10,000 units using absorption and variable costing. If a company has high direct, fixed overhead costs it can make a big impact on the per unit price.

Therefore, the methods can be reconciled with each other, as shown in Figure 6.17. The difference in the methods is that management will prefer one method over the other for internal decision-making purposes. The other main difference is that only the absorption method is in accordance with GAAP.

Defining Absorption Costing

Variable costing, on the other hand, includes all of the variable direct costs in the cost of goods sold (COGS) but excludes direct, fixed overhead costs. Absorption costing is required by generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) for external reporting. To further examine the reason income is higher, remember that $450,000 was attributed to total production under absorption costing. Under variable costing, total product costs were $300,000 and 10% ($30,000) of that amount would be assigned to inventory. Another way to view the impact of the inventory build-up is to examine the following “cups.” The top set of cups initially contains the costs incurred in the manufacturing process.

Absorption Costing

The treatment of fixed manufacturing overhead is the only difference between the two costing methods. All other product costs like direct materials and direct labor are treated the same. Carrying over inventories and overhead costs is reflected in the ending inventory balances at the end of the production https://personal-accounting.org/ period, which become the beginning inventory balances at the start of the next period. It is anticipated that the units that were carried over will be sold in the next period. If the units are not sold, the costs will continue to be included in the costs of producing the units until they are sold.

What Is Absorption Costing?

It is also referred to as the “all-inclusive” method of accounting for costs. Use a different format for each (see above), however, all amounts will be the same on both statements with the exception of fixed manufacturing overhead. Managers can manipulate income by changing the number of units produced
Producing more products gives a higher income. We will define both methods, analyze their effects on net income and inventory valuation, highlight the advantages of each, and provide examples and sample calculations to illustrate the concepts. By the end, you’ll have the knowledge to select the most appropriate costing technique based on your company’s specific needs and reporting objectives. It can be, especially for management decision-making concerning break-even analysis to derive the number of product units needed to be sold to reach profitability.

Furthermore, it means that companies will likely show a lower gross profit margin. Absorption vs. variable costing will only be a factor for companies that expense costs of goods sold (COGS) on their income statement. Although any company can use both methods for different reasons, public companies are required to use absorption costing due to their GAAP accounting obligations. The variable cost per unit is \(\$22\) (the total of direct material, direct labor, and variable overhead). The absorption cost per unit is the variable cost (\(\$22\)) plus the per-unit cost of \(\$7\) (\(\$49,000/7,000\) units) for the fixed overhead, for a total of \(\$29\).

Under absorption costing, normal manufacturing costs are considered product costs and included in inventory. In addition, the use of absorption costing generates a situation in which simply manufacturing more items that go unsold by the end of the period will increase net income. Because fixed costs are spread across all units manufactured, the unit fixed cost will decrease as more items are produced. Therefore, as production increases, net income naturally rises, because the fixed-cost portion of the cost of goods sold will decrease.

In addition to skewing a profit and loss statement, this can potentially mislead both company management and investors. As a general rule, relate the difference in net income under absorption costing and variable costing to the change in inventories. Conversely, if inventories decreased, then sales exceeded production, and income before income taxes is larger under variable costing than under absorption costing.

The difference between absorption costing and variable costing is in the treatment of fixed manufacturing overhead costs. The point of this analysis is to illustrate that under absorption costing, operating income changes based on increases or decreases in inventory due to producing more or fewer units than were sold in a period. Such changes are unrelated to a company’s operating performance, and managers need to be aware of this type of distortion under absorption costing. On a variable costing income statement, changes in inventory have no effect on operating income, making this method more reliable and desirable for analyzing profitability for an accounting period. In addition, the examples assumed that selling, general, and administrative costs were not impacted by specific actions. It is now time to consider aggregated financial data and take into account shifting amounts of SG&A.

Production is estimated to hold steady at \(5,000\) units per year, while sales estimates are projected to be \(5,000\) units in year \(1\); \(4,000\) units in year \(2\); and \(6,000\) in year \(3\). In summary, both methods have merits depending on business context and intended use. Production is estimated to hold steady at 5,000 absorption costing vs variable costing units per year, while sales estimates are projected to be 5,000 units in year 1; 4,000 units in year 2; and 6,000 in year 3. With NetSuite, you go live in a predictable timeframe — smart, stepped implementations begin with sales and span the entire customer lifecycle, so there’s continuity from sales to services to support.