Cost Allocation

What is Cost Allocation?

Cost allocation is the method of identifying as well as assigning the elements of cost to each cost object, such as a product or a department for which cost is to be allocated, based on an appropriate cost driver, which serves as a base for allocation of the elements of the cost.


Purpose of Cost Allocation

#1 – Decision Making

It helps the management to make informed decisions. It gives details as to which product or department is utilizing significant funds, and the same can be utilized to carry out 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 more analysis.

#2 – Minimize Resource Wastage

It will provide results as to the costs that are incurred by each department. Thus, managers of such departments will keep a check on the costs incurred in their respective departments since they are to be held responsible for any unnecessary expenses incurred.


Cost Allocation

Examples of Cost Allocation

This process can be understood by way of the following example. A company produces two products, namely “A” and “B” on the premises of the same factory.

  • Factory Rent = $1,00,000
  • Units Produced of “A” = 30,000
  • Units Produced of “B” = 20,000
  • Total no. of units produced = 50,000

Let us see how can the cost allocation of factory rent be done for the two products.


  • Cost Object = Product “A” and “B”
  • Cost Pool = Factory Rent
  • Cost Driver = No. of Units Produced
Example 1
  • = $1,00,000 * 30,000/50,000
  • = $ 60,000
Example 1-1
  • = $1,00,000 * 20,000/50,000
  • = $40,000

This is done based on the cost driver, being the number of units produced. Thus, the cost is allocated in the ratio of the number of units produced.

Difference Between Cost Allocation & Cost Apportionment

  1. Cost allocation means the direct distribution of the cost heads to various departments based on a reasonable factor. It is a type of cost apportionment which allocates a cost to a cost objectA Cost ObjectA cost object is a method that measures product, segment, and customer cost separately to determine the exact cost and selling price. read more. The distribution is done to a department only when it is connected to a department.
  2. On the other hand, apportionment of cost means attribution of various cost heads to departments in proportion, based on a reasonable factor. Allocation is done in the ratio of benefits expected to be achieved from the cost heads. A cost is apportioned when it is not directly related to a particular department but instead is connected to various departments.


  • When a company follows cost allocation for its various departments, each department tries to maintain efficiency in its operations and keep the cost under control.
  • It helps in determining the actual cost of a product produced or a service rendered.
  • It enables a company to fix accountability on the various departments regarding the cost that is incurred by them.
  • It is helpful in decision making as it can provide information as to what is the actual cost, which can be compared with the revenues and suggest if any changes are required in pricing.


  • This process is based on cost drivers. If cost drivers are not chosen wisely, it may give misleading results.
  • It is a very complex process and may require extra time and effort.


It becomes necessary, especially for large organizations, because of the existence of various departments. It becomes vital to keep track of the cost incurred in each department to fix accountability and maintain control over costs.

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