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Unit 1 Introduction to cost accounting

Cost: - Cost can be defined as the expenditure (actual or notional) incurred on or attributable to a given thing. It can also be described as the resources that have been sacrificed or must be sacrificed to attain a particular objective. In other words, cost is the amount of resources used for something which must be measured in terms of money. For example Cost of preparing one cup of tea is the amount incurred on the elements like material, labor and other expenses. Costing: - Costing may be defined as the technique and process of ascertaining costs. According to Wheldon, Costing is classifying, recording, allocation and appropriation of expenses for the determination of cost of products or services and for the presentation of suitably arranged data for the purpose of control and guidance of management. It includes the ascertainment of every order, job, contract, process, service units as may be appropriate. It deals with the cost of production, selling and distribution. Cost Accountancy:- Cost Accountancy is a broader term and is defined as, the application of costing and cost accounting principles, methods and techniques to the science and art and practice of cost control and the ascertainment of profitability as well as presentation of information for the purpose of managerial decision making.

Scope of Cost Accounting 1. Cost book-keeping: It involves maintaining complete record of all costs incurred from their incurrence to their charge to departments, products and services. Such recording is preferably done on the basis of double entry system. 2. Cost system: Systems and procedures are devised for proper accounting for costs. 3. Cost ascertainment: Ascertaining cost of products, processes, jobs, services, etc., is the important function of cost accounting. Cost ascertainment becomes the basis of managerial decision making such as pricing, planning and control.

4. Cost Analysis: It involves the process of finding out the causal factors of actual costs varying from the budgeted costs and fixation of responsibility for cost increases. 5. Cost comparisons: Cost accounting also includes comparisons between cost from alternative courses of action such as use of technology for production, cost of making different products and activities, and cost of same product/ service over a period of time. 6. Cost Control: Cost accounting is the utilisation of cost information for exercising control. It involves a detailed examination of each cost in the light of benefit derived from the incurrence of the cost. Thus, we can state that cost is analysed to know whether the current level of costs is satisfactory in the light of standards set in advance. 7. Cost Reports: Presentation of cost is the ultimate function of cost accounting. These reports are primarily for use by the management at different levels. Cost Reports form the basis for planning and control, performance appraisal and managerial decision making. Objectives of Cost Accounting:- Objectives of Cost Accounting can be summarized as under 1. To ascertain the cost of production on per unit basis, for example, cost per kg, cost per meter, cost per liter, cost per ton etc. 2. Cost accounting helps in the determination of selling price. Cost accounting enables to determine the cost of production on a scientific basis and it helps to fix the selling price. 3. Cost accounting helps in cost control and cost reduction. 4. Ascertainment of division wise, activity wise and unit wise profitability becomes possible through cost accounting. 5. Cost accounting also helps in locating wastages, inefficiencies and other loopholes in the production processes/services offered. 6. Cost accounting helps in presentation of relevant data to the management which helps indecision making. Decision making is one of the important functions of Management and it

requires presentation of relevant data. Cost accounting enables presentation of relevant data in a systematic manner so that decision making becomes possible.

7. Cost accounting also helps in estimation of costs for the future.

Differences between financial accounting and cost accounting Basis objectives Financial accounting Cost Accounting of costs to It provides information about It provides information of the financial performance and ascertainment financial business Nature position of the control cost and for decision making about the cost.

It classifies, records, presents It classifies, records, presents and interprets transaction in and interprets in a significant terms of money manner the material, labour and overheads cost

Users of information




financial The

cost is

accounting used by at


accounting information

statements are shareholders, internal and government and its


creditors, financial analysts different levels. agencies, Recording of data It records Historical data It also records and presents the makes use of of both and data the preestimated/budgeted data. It historical costs

determined costs. Analysis of costs and profits It shows the profit/ loss of the It provides the details of cost organization and profit of each product, process, job, contracts, etc.

Time period



are Its reports and statements are as and when required

prepared for a definite period, prepared usually a year Presentation of information

A set format is used for There are not any set formats presenting information. financial for presenting cost information.

Essentials of a good Costing system: - For availing of maximum benefits, a good costing system should possess the following characteristics. A. Costing system adopted in any organization should be suitable to its nature and size of the business and its information needs. B. A costing system should be such that it is economical and the benefits derived from the same should be more than the cost of operating of the same. C. Costing system should be simple to operate and understand. Unnecessary complications should be avoided. D. Costing system should ensure proper system of accounting for material, labor and overheads and there should be proper classification made at the time of recording of the transaction itself. E. Before designing a costing system, need and objectives of the system should be identified. F. The costing system should ensure that the final aim of ascertaining of cost as accurately possible should be achieved.