Production Cost Techniques: Meeting Information Needs in Accounting


Cost of production techniques are invaluable tools for businesses, allowing them to accurately determine product costs, control expenses, and make informed decisions about pricing and profitability.

Definition and Importance of Production Cost Techniques

Cost of production techniques are a vital aspect of accounting which involves determining the total cost incurred in the production of goods or services. They play a crucial role in evaluating product profitability and help in making informed business decisions.

By assigning costs to different elements of the production process, production costing techniques allow companies to understand the true cost of each unit produced.

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Types of Production Cost Techniques

  1. Costs per Production Order:

Production order costs are used when products are made to order or in small quantities. This involves tracking and allocating direct and indirect costs to specific jobs or projects.

This technique is commonly used in industries such as construction, consulting, and specialty manufacturing.

Example : An interior design company uses cost per work order to calculate the total cost of renovating a client’s home. They attribute direct costs such as labor and materials specific to this project, as well as indirect costs such as administrative expenses and utilities.

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  1. Costs per Manufacturing Process:

Costs per manufacturing process are used when goods are produced continuously in a mass production environment. This involves averaging costs over a large number of identical units.

This technique is widely used in industries such as food processing, chemical manufacturing and the textile industry.

Example : A soft drink manufacturing company uses costs by manufacturing process to determine the cost of producing a series of sodas. They allocate costs evenly across the entire production process, including raw materials, labor, and overhead.

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  1. Costs per Activity (ABC):

Cost per activity is a modern approach that allocates costs based on the activities involved in the production process. It identifies activities and allocates their costs to products based on their consumption of those activities.

ABC provides a more accurate picture of product costs, especially in complex production environments.

Example : An automobile manufacturer adopts the ABC to determine the cost of manufacturing different models of cars. They identify different activities, such as design, assembly, and testing, and allocate costs accordingly, allowing for a more accurate assessment of product costs.

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Information Needs Addressed by Production Cost Techniques

  • Accurate Product Costing : Production costing techniques help companies accurately determine the cost of each product or service they offer. This information is essential for setting competitive prices and evaluating the profitability of products.

Example: A bakery uses cost per work order to determine the exact cost of making a bespoke wedding cake, allowing them to set a fair price for the customer and ensure a profit.

  • Cost Control and Decision Making : By understanding the costs associated with production, cost of production techniques allow managers to identify areas of cost inefficiencies and make data-driven decisions to reduce costs.

Example: A manufacturing company using cost per manufacturing process identifies that one of its production steps is causing excessive waste. They take corrective action to reduce waste, resulting in cost savings.

  • Profitability Analysis : The cost of products facilitates the analysis of profitability, allowing companies to identify the products or services that generate the greatest profits and those that might need adjustments.

Example: A clothing retailer analyzes the profitability of different clothing lines using the ABC. They discover that their high-end designer line generates the greatest profits, prompting them to focus on expanding this segment.

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Examples Illustrating the Use of Cost of Production Techniques in Different Sectors

Manufacturing : A car manufacturer uses ABC to determine the cost of producing different car models, thereby identifying the most profitable models and optimizing production processes.

Services Sector : A consulting firm uses cost per work order to calculate the cost of providing personalized consulting services to individual clients, ensuring that it charges competitive fees.

Food Industry : A chocolate factory implements cost per manufacturing process to assess the cost of producing each type of chocolate, allowing them to adjust prices and promotions accordingly.


By using the appropriate cost method for their specific industry and production processes, companies can optimize their operations and improve their competitive advantage. Ultimately, production cost techniques play a vital role in the financial success of any organization.

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