Overhead costs are not in proportion to the production output because of the method they are using. This leads to inaccurate pricing and costing decisions. An Activity Based Costing System would help find the real relationship between the products produced and overhead.
The current method of apportioning production overheads based on direct labour hours can be described as a traditional approach to product costing. In a manufacturing company’s financial statements, each item produced must be allocated some of the production overheads to make the statements compliant. Sometimes the individual costs of these items can be calculated incorrectly based on overall production overhead and the system of allocating in place, however the overall financial statement can still be accurate. This traditional method of allocating the production
Therefore, there is no doubt that it is significant to allocate overhead cost accurately for every production. If the overhead is calculated incorrectly, the selling price of the product will change. The company will not cover the cost and make a loss.
During the 1980s the limitations of traditional product costing systems began to be widely publicised. These systems were designed decades ago when most companies manufactured a narrow range of products, and direct labour and materials were the dominant factory costs. Overhead costs were relatively small, and the distortions arising from inappropriate overhead allocations were not significant. Information processing costs were high, and it was therefore difficult to justify more sophisticated overhead allocation methods.
Overhead costs include rent, office staff, depreciation, and other. Once the flexible budget was complete, variances between the actual and flexible budget could be calculated (Exhibit B). The variance for frame assembly was favorable with actual costs being $82,663 less than in the flexible budget. The variances for wheel and final assembly however were both unfavorable. Wheel assembly had an unfavorable variance of $50,650, while final assembly variance was the highest at an unfavorable variance of $231,200. Taking into account these three aspects of direct cost, direct cost has an unfavorable variance $199,187. Although most overhead costs are fixed, 2/3 of other costs are variable and increase with the increased production. As shown in Exhibit B, overhead variance is unfavorable at $60,000. The direct cost variance and overhead variable together lead to a total unfavorable variance of $259,187.
A direct cost can be traced to a product or service which includes: Direct labor- which is the cost of the labor that’s directly connected to a product or services. Direct labor is sometimes called touch labor, since direct labor workers typically touch the product while it is being made.( Ray H. Garrison, Eric W. Noreen and Peter C. Brewer p 39-40) An example of direct labor is an assembly line worker. Labor cost that cannot be physically traced to the creation of products, or that can be traced only at great cost and inconvenience, are considered to be indirect labot.( Ray H. Garrison, Eric W. Noreen and Peter C. Brewer p 40) Direct material are those materials that become an integral part of the finished product and whose cost can be traced to the finished product.( Ray H. Garrison, Eric W. Noreen and Peter C. Brewer p39-40) Manufacturing overhead is the third element so manufacturing cost, it includes all costs of manufacturing except direct materials and direct labor. Manufacturing overhead includes items such as indirect materials; indirect labor; maintenance and repairs on production equipment; and heat and light, property taxes, depreciation, and insurance on manufacturing facilities. Only cost associated with operating the factory are consider to be manufacturing overhead cost. A company also incurs other costs associated with its selling administive functions, but these costs are not included as part of manufacturing overhead. Only those
Under a traditional system, overhead cost is allocated to an activity based on hours or rates for direct labor or machine usage. However, this approach does not clearly indicate how much overhead cost will be needed in order to complete a job through a particular function. ABC methodology is to be used as an alternative to traditional accounting where a business 's overhead costs (indirect costs such as electrical energy consumption for heating or cooling, or indirect cost associated with marketing) are allocated as a proportion of direct costs, to an activity. This approach is unsatisfactory because there can be cases where two activities could absorb the same direct costs
3. Briefly describe how the current production cost assignment system works. What are the consumption ratios (activity percentages) for assigning manufacturing overhead to each product at present?
The overhead spending is greater than the direct labour costs or the direct material costs for all three product lines- Valves, Pumps and Flow Controllers (Exhibit 2). Overheads are simply charged at 185% constant for three diverse products. The fact that there is huge variance in the number of units produced per production run- it is 375 for valves and 18 for flow controllers per production run. This shows the reason for high overheads cost too. Hence it calls for checking the cost allocation system of the company.
The above graph suggests that volume based computation of overhead costs does not reflect the real overhead costs based on actual production per product line (computed maximum in excess over actual). On the other hand, if we follow the allocation of overhead costs based on prime costs as illustrated in Exhibit 2 of the case, we need to consider other quantitative factors: 1. No data is available to determine the amount of raw materials used in producing each of the products. While we can assume that the production of small, colored glass ornaments uses fewer raw materials (e.g. glass) than large, colored glass ornaments, the amount of glass used to produce specialty ornaments cannot be derived from the facts of the case. 2. There is also no data available to determine the number of direct labor hours consumed for producing each product type, although evidently, specialty ornaments use more direct labor hours. Based on the above considerations, we deem it inaccurate to base overhead on prime costs, a common practice in traditional costing. In addition,
Assigning the overhead costs to the products shows how profitable the products are after deducting all cost. However, it is important to find the appropriate method of overhead cost allocation. In Sippican’s case the traditional accounting method is used, which does not reflect the real resource usage of the different product lines. The correct method in this case would be to apply the time-driven ABC approach for cost allocation. Such method apart from showing the actual profitability after all cost deductions also depicts the differences in resource usage rates between the products and, thus, allows for identification of cost drivers. A contribution margin
Shaving 5% off the estimated direct labor-hours in the predetermined overhead rate will result in an artificially high overhead rate. The artificially high predetermined overhead rate is likely to result in overapplied overhead for the year. The cumulative effect of overapplying the overhead throughout the year is all recognized in December when the balance in the Manufacturing Overhead account is closed out to Cost of Goods Sold. If the balance were closed out every month or every quarter, this effect would be
The predetermined overhead rate is used for estimating the manufacturing overhead cost because companies cannot assign the actual overhead cost to specific job. From the case, Wall Décor uses a traditional job-order costing system. The actual costs of direct materials and direct labor are charged to its specific jobs which are unframed prints, steel-framed with no matting prints, and wood-framed with matting prints.