Product Cost

Product Cost Definition

Product cost refers to all those costs which are incurred by the company in order to create the product of the company or deliver the services to the customers and the same is shown in the financial statement of the company for the period in which they become the part of the cost of the goods that are sold by the company.

Examples of Product cost mainly includes the following expenses:-

  • Direct material (DM)
  • Direct labor (DL)
  • Factory overheads (FOH)

The cost to material and labor are the direct costsDirect CostsDirect costs are costs incurred by an organization while performing its core business activity and can be attributed directly in the production cost, such as raw material costs, wages paid to factory staff, power & fuel expenses in a factory, and so on, but do not include indirect costs such as advertisement costs, administrative costs, more while the factory overheads are the indirect costsIndirect CostsIndirect cost is the cost that cannot be directly attributed to the production. These are the necessary expenditures and can be fixed or variable in nature like the office expenses, administration, sales promotion expense, more, all of which are required to create a finished good (or service) ready to sell from raw material.

As per GAAP and IFRS, the product costs are required to get capitalized as inventory in the balance sheet and should not be expensed in the statements of profit and loss because the expenditures to such costs generate benefits and value for future periods also.

Types of Product Costs


#1 – Direct Material

The raw materials that get transformed into a finished good by applying direct labor and factory overheads are referred to as direct material in 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 more. Direct materialsDirect MaterialsDirect materials are raw materials that are directly used in the manufacturing process of a company's goods and/or services and are an essential component of the finished goods more are those raw materials that can be easily identified and measured.

For example, an automobile manufacturing company typically requires plastic and metal to create a car. The amount of these resources can be easily counted or kept a record of. However, manufacturing a car also requires lubricants like oils and grease. Still, it is very difficult or insignificant to trace the low value of grease used in a particular vehicle hence referred to as indirect costs.

#2 – Direct Labor

Direct labors are the employees or the labor force that gets directly involved in producing or manufacturing finished goods from raw material. The direct labor costsDirect Labor CostsDirect labor costs refer to the total cost incurred by the company for paying the wages and other benefits to its employees against the task performed by them, which are straight away related to the manufacturing of the products or provision of the more are the salaries, wages, and benefits (like insurance) that are being paid to these labor forces against their services.

For example, the workers in an assembly line of an automobile factory that weld the metal, fix the screw apply oil and grease, and assembles pieces of metals and plastic into a car are direct labors. A particular employee to be classified as direct labor, it must be directly associated with a specific job. E.g., a secretary at a large automobile manufacturing company has to perform a variety of roles as and when required. Thus it gets difficult to quantify the amount of benefits created to assemble a car. Hence it is not direct labor.

#3 – Factory Overheads

The indirect expense related to manufacturing a finished product that cannot be directly traced is referred to as the factory or manufacturing overheadsManufacturing OverheadsManufacturing Overhead is the total of all the indirect costs involved in manufacturing a product like Property Tax on the production premise, Remunerations of maintenance personnel, Rent of the manufacturing building, etc. read more. In other words, overheads are that costOverheads Are That 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, more that is neither direct material nor direct labor. That is why overheads are referred to as an indirect cost that includes indirect labor and material costs.


Product Cost Formula = Direct Labor + Direct Material + Factory Overheads
Factory OH = Indirect Labor + Indirect Material + Other Factory OH

However, it is always better to calculate this cost per unit as it can help decide the appropriate sales price of the finished product. To determine this cost on a per unit basis, just divide this cost as calculated above by the number of units produced.

Product Cost per Unit Formula = (Total Product Cost ) / Number of Units Produced.

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For eg:
Source: Product Cost (

The sales price must be equal to or greater than the product cost per unit to avoid losses. If the sale price is equal, then it is a break-even situation, i.e., no profit, no loss, and the sales price are just covering the cost per unit. Sales price higher than the cost per unit results in gains.

Examples of Product Cost

Example #1 – Direct Material Purchase Budget

Direct Material Purchase Budget is required to create a product. The budget is required to calculate the amount of raw material that needs to be purchased for the production process and the estimation of the related costs.

Let’s say Raymond’s Pvt. Ltd, a small shirt manufacturing company, requires fabric, thread, and buttons. Consider the direct raw material to be just fabric while the requirements of the other two materials cannot be directly tracked and hence considered as indirect.

The company targets to produce the following number of shirts in each quarter of the year. Data collected from the production budget:-

Product Cost Example 1

Raymond management collects the following details to create its direct raw material budget:

Use the following two accounting equationsAccounting EquationsAccounting Equation is the primary accounting principle stating that a business's total assets are equivalent to the sum of its liabilities & owner’s capital. This is also known as the Balance Sheet Equation & it forms the basis of the double-entry accounting system. read more will help to create the budget:-

Total Raw Material = Raw Material Required for Production + Ending Raw Material Inventory.
Raw Material to be Purchased = Total Raw Material Required – Beginning Raw Material Inventory
Product Cost Example 1

Ending Note: The product cost related to direct materials can be determined through a budget that estimates the desired quantity of direct material required for a period and its related costs.

Example #2 – Direct Labor Budget

Direct Labor Budget is required to estimate the labor force requirements to produce the required units of goods as per the production budgetThe Production BudgetProduction Budget is a type of financial planning that relates to the units of product that management believes the company should produce in the coming period to match the estimated sales quantity, which is based on the management's assessment of market competition, economic conditions, production capacity, consumer prevailing market demands, and historical more. It calculates the cost based on labor hours and units produced per labor.

Assume that in Raymond’s Pvt. Ltd:

  • The time required by a sewing machine operator to stitch a single piece of shirt is 0.5 hours—also, other laborers need 0.2 hrs per shirt for buttoning and finishing work.
  • The company costs $50 per hour for a machine operator and a $15 per hour for other labors.
Product Cost Example 2


Ending Note: The Direct labor budget calculates the cost related to the labor force engaged in the production process and estimates the required labor force in numbers. Thus management can anticipate hiring needs and budget its costs.

Example #3 – Factory Overhead Budget

The budget that includes every cost related to the production process other than costs relates to direct materialDirect MaterialDirect materials are raw materials that are directly used in the manufacturing process of a company's goods and/or services and are an essential component of the finished goods more and direct labor. The final costs determined as per the overhead budget are not capitalized under the balance sheetBalance SheetA balance sheet is one of the financial statements of a company that presents the shareholders' equity, liabilities, and assets of the company at a specific point in time. It is based on the accounting equation that states that the sum of the total liabilities and the owner's capital equals the total assets of the more but get expensed in the income statement as cost of goods soldCost Of Goods SoldThe cost of goods sold (COGS) is the cumulative total of direct costs incurred for the goods or services sold, including direct expenses like raw material, direct labour cost and other direct costs. However, it excludes all the indirect expenses incurred by the more.

Also, the overall cost determined under the overhead budget is converted into per unit terms to determine the cost of ending inventory. The ending inventory becomes a part of the balance sheet.

The budget to factory overheadFactory OverheadFactory Overhead, also called Factory Burden, is the total of all the indirect expenses related to the production of goods such as Quality Assurance Salaries, Factory Rent, & Factory Building Insurance etc. read more cost of “Raymond’s Pvt Ltd” is presented in the following table:-

Example 3

Ending Note: The factory overhead budget not only helped the management of the company to estimate the variable and fixed factory overheads separately but also helps in the determination of the required amount of cash to be disbursed to meet overhead expenses.

Example #4 – Budget

The management of Raymond’s has estimated its costs to direct material, direct labor, and factory overhead costs.

Now the most crucial step of the whole budgeting process is the determination of the overall and expected product cost per unit (shirt).

The management of the company adds all the components of cost together to reach the total product cost as presented below:-

Example 4

Ending Note: The Product cost budget determines the overall expenses incurred by an entity to create a product on a periodical basis. The management can further calculate the cost per unit by dividing the estimated units to be produced as per the production budget.

By estimating the per unit cost, the entity can set an appropriate sales price and avoid the situations of under-pricing or over-pricing its products. Both product under-pricing and overpricing bring losses to the entity.

  • Under-pricing means the entity is charging less than the product cost -> Losses.
  • Overpricing leads customers to look for substitutes -> less demand -> Losses.

In our example, Raymond’s management determines all the components of product cost viz. direct material costs, direct labor costs, and factory overhead costs quarterly. With the help of this data, an overall cost is determined on both quarterly as well as annual basis.

An average product cost per shirt of $103 is then determined by dividing the total annual product cost of $2.23 million by annual production of 21720 shirts. The company should charge an amount higher than $103 per piece of its shirts.

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