Advantages of Cost Accounting

Updated on April 5, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byWallstreetmojo Team
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Are The Advantages of Cost Accounting?

The advantages of cost accounting refer to the list of benefits that the process brings to the parties, whose decision making depends on it. Cost Accounting is a tool used by the company’s management that helps identify, record, and assess an entity’s cost of production to measure the performance of various products and divisions, thus aiding in decision making.

Advantages of Cost Accounting

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As opposed to financial accountingFinancial AccountingFinancial accounting refers to bookkeeping, i.e., identifying, classifying, summarizing and recording all the financial transactions in the Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement. It even includes the analysis of these financial statements.read more, the management uses cost accountingCost AccountingCost accounting is a defined stream of managerial accounting used for ascertaining the overall cost of production. It measures, records and analyzes both fixed and variable costs for this purpose.read more internally for budgeting and decision-making, not external financial reporting. Implemented effectively, a sound cost accounting system would help improve product and divisional profitability, thereby enhancing the overall organizational profitability. Below is a summary of the advantages of cost accounting.

Advantages of Cost Accounting Explained

The advantages of cost accounting must be known to the firms and individuals who use and maintain it. This is because this accounting helps keep track of the costs involved in a business and also lets businesses know where to control costs. When these expenses are well-recorded, the pricing decisions are easier to make.  

Cost accounting supplements financial accounting to provide management with insights on how the various product lines and activities involved in the production process affect the movements of costs, thereby impacting overall company profitabilityProfitabilityProfitability refers to a company's ability to generate revenue and maximize profit above its expenditure and operational costs. It is measured using specific ratios such as gross profit margin, EBITDA, and net profit margin. It aids investors in analyzing the company's performance.read more. A good cost accounting system provides inputs for timely management decisions for cost control and cost reduction by reducing inefficiencies, redundant activities, and avoidable losses.

Cost accounting is done by the internal management team, which works internally to assess the business costs and also identify room for cost control. This process being internally used can see changes in the methods adopted to track figures and assess the same. The only aim of this type of accounting is to work on costs in whatever way it can become profitable.

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Top 8 Advantages

The advantages of the method not only benefit a business but also acts as a guidance for the internal management, helping them decide best way to leverage from the power of cost accounting.

Some of the merits of this process are as follows:

#1 – Various Items of Costs

It includes direct material costDirect Material CostDirect Material Cost is the total cost incurred by the company in purchasing the raw material along with the cost of other components including packaging, freight and storage costs, taxes, etc. that are related directly to the manufacturing and production of various products of the company.read more, labor costLabor CostCost of labor is the remuneration paid in the form of wages and salaries to the employees. The allowances are sub-divided broadly into two categories- direct labor involved in the manufacturing process and indirect labor pertaining to all other processes.read more, and overhead costOverhead CostOverhead cost are those cost that is not related directly on the production activity and are therefore considered as indirect costs that have to be paid even if there is no production. Examples include rent payable, utilities payable, insurance payable, salaries payable to office staff, office supplies, etc.read more.

A) Material Costs
B) Labor Costs
  • An effective labor cost control system helps to:
  • Recognize and eliminate situations of overstaffing or understaffing by determining human resources requirements in different divisions across product lines.
  • Control idle time and overtime by assessing of time consumed in different processes and departments;
  • Institute wage systems, incentive schemes, and a bonus plan commensurate with productivity;
C) Overhead Costs

Cost accounting helps ensure better monitoring of the consumption of resources by various cost centers and ensures better departmental control.

#2 – Aids Cost Control and Cost Reduction

A good cost accounting system helps management decrease the entity’s production cost by employing cost control and cost reduction.

Comparing costs across periods in respect of the same product or with competitors or industry standards helps to determine avenues for cost control and reduction.

#3 – Elimination of Wasteful Activities

Cost accounting systems help identify redundant activities, inefficiencies, and abnormal and avoidable losses. Thus, cost accounting is useful for identifying the cause of fluctuations in the business’s profitability. Additionally, the cost of idle capacity can be estimated in case divisions or plants are not working to their full capacity. It would help identify the unprofitable product or product linesProduct Or Product LinesProduct Line refers to the collection of related products that are marketed under a single brand, which may be the flagship brand for the concerned company. Typically, companies extend their product offerings by adding new variants to the existing products with the expectation that the existing consumers will buy products from the brands that they are already purchasing.read more and wasteful activities so that they may be better managed or eliminated. Cost analysis also helps management decide if it is economically better off making a product in-house or sourcing the same from external vendors.

#4 – Aids in Fixing Appropriate Price to Improve Product Profitability

#5 – Improvement of Division & Organizational Profitability by Fixing Appropriate Prices for Inter-Departmental Transfers

Cost accounting also helps determine a suitable price for the interdepartmental transfer of semi-finished products or materials in a production chain. This system would push department managers to improve individual division profitability by holding them accountable for the same. The divisions would then be encouraged to make optimum utilization of capacity, which would, in turn, boost the overall profitability of the organization as a whole.

#6 – Helps Management by Exception, Leading to Timely and More Informed Decisions

Cost accounting systems help identify deviations from planned amounts. For example, excessive use of materials compared to the standard requirement, extra time taken to complete a particular activity/product than that estimated, additional services consumed by a division of the entity than normal, etc., will be brought to light by a good cost accounting system. Management can then focus their efforts on such material variances that are identified. Cost accounting aids the management in making informed decisions promptly, with some degree of foresight.

#7 – Allows Fixation of Accountability and Responsibility

BudgetingBudgetingBudgeting is a method used by businesses to make precise projections of revenues and expenditure for a future specific period of time while taking into account various internal and external factors prevailing at that time.read more costs and revenues define clear targets for the entity’s various product lines and divisions. It helps create division-level accountability within the company, making it easier to fix responsibility for inefficiencies or the award of performance-based incentives.

#8 – Cost Accounting Benefits Economy as Whole

Various government departments use cost records maintained by the entity that is shared with government agencies as part of statutory requirements in their efforts to regulate the sector utilizingPrice controls refer to the technique of establishing a lower limit or upper limit of the selling price of specified goods and services. read more price controlPrice ControlPrice controls refer to the technique of establishing a lower limit or upper limit of the selling price of specified goods and services. read more, price fixationPrice FixationPrice fixing is an agreement between business competitors to increase (very often), reduce (perhaps for a short time), establish, or stabilize (rarely) prices, disregarding the prices governed by the market's flow of demand and supply.read more, tariff protection, fixation of minimum wage levels, etc., ensuring equitable allocation of resources and compensation.

Cost Accounting Explained in Video

This has been a guide to what are Advantages of Cost Accounting. Here, we explain the concept besides talking about the top 8 advantages of the process. You can learn more about financing from the following articles –

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