Friday, 20 January 2012

Process Costing

Process Costing:
In accounting, process costing is a method of assigning production costs to units of output. In process costing systems, production costs are not traced to individual units of output. Costs are assigned first to production departments and then to units of output as they move through the departments. The process costing method is typically used for processes that produce large quantities of homogeneous products.

The process costing method is in contrast to other costing methods, such as product costing, job costing, or operation costing systems. Using the process costing method is optimal under certain conditions. If the output products are homogeneous, that is, the units of output are relatively indistinguishable from one another, it may be beneficial to use process costing. If the output products are of low value, meaning each individual unit of output is not worth much, it may be beneficial to use process costing. And if it is difficult or infeasible to trace production costs directly to individual units of output, it may be beneficial to use the process costing method.

Examples of operations that are likely to use the process costing method as opposed to another costing method include a cola bottling plant, a breakfast cereal maker, a company that makes computer chips, and company that produces lumber, and a company that produces bricks. For example, for the company that bottles cola, it would not be feasible or worthwhile to separate and record the cost of each bottle of cola in the bottling process. Therefore, the company would assign costs to the bottling process as a whole for a period of time, and then divide that overall process cost by the number of bottles produced during that period of time to assign production costs to each bottle of cola.

Process Costing Method:
There are five steps in the process costing method. First, analyze the cost-flow model of the relevant inventory account to determine how much inventory was there at the beginning of the period, how much was started during the period, how much as completed during the period, and how much is left as work-in-process at the end of the period.

Second, convert the work-in-process ending inventory into a number of equivalent units produced. This means if there are 1,000 units of inventory in work-in-process, and these units are all 50% complete, then you consider this as the equivalent of 500 units produced (500 = .50 x 1,000).

Third, compute the total direct and indirect costs incurred by the production process that need to be assigned to the units completed and the units still in process. This includes the costs associated with the beginning inventory and the costs incurred during the relevant period.

Fourth, calculate the amount of cost to be assigned to the completed units of output and the equivalent of completed units of output still in the ending inventory. For example, if 2,000 units were completed, and 1,000 units were left half-finished, then you would divide the applicable costs by 2,500 units.

Fifth, allocate the relevant costs to the units of product that were completed and to the units of product that remain in the work-in-process account.

5 Steps for Process Costing:
1. Analyze inventory flow
2. Convert in-process inventory to equivalent units
3. Compute all applicable costs
4. Calculate the cost per unit of finished and in-process inventory
5. Allocate costs to units of finished and in-process inventory

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