Marginal Costing

Marginal Costing: Meaning, Features and Advantages

Fixed costs are period costs in nature and it should be charged to the concerned period irrespective of the quantum or level of production or sale. In these days of automation and technical advancement, huge investments are made in heavy machinery which results in heavy amount of fixed costs.

  • This is because the absorption costing method includes fixed production costs to the output while the marginal costing method does not.
  • They can only control, to some extent, their costs, so management’s focus is on influencing every component of product, service, or operational costs.
  • Instead, the management, from time to time, must review the old plans to check if there is a change in some factors that could make the projects viable again.
  • So long products are making a contribution towards fixed cost, production should not be stopped to minimise loss.
  • Sales mix indicates the proportion in which different products are produced and sold.

If so, a company can earn some incremental profits from these customers. Variable cost per unit remains constant; any increase or decrease in production changes the total cost of output. Marginal costing calculates the change in the overall production cost owing to variation in the volume of the targeted output. The price varies depending on the number of products. Marginal costs include expenses incurred at each production stage due to changes in resources needed to create the required additional quantity of products or services. Sometimes goods are sold at a profit, i.e., at a price above the total cost and still there remains some spare capacity.

Elements Of Cost Accounting

The amount of availability of one factor affects the utilization of other factor. Under such a condition the best product mix is one which optimise over-all profits but is achievable under the given constraints.

Cost Volume Profit Analysis is one of the integral parts of marginal costing. The elements of cost are broadly classified into material, labor, and expenses. Each of them is further divided into direct and indirect costs. The indirect material, labor and expenses can be categorized as overhead costs.

  • Also, this approach is not suitable for services or for products where labor cost is the primary cost.
  • Your marginal cost of production is $5.01 per unit for every unit over 500.
  • Management is enabled to compare the actual variable expenses with the budgeted variable expenses and take corrective action through analysis of variances.
  • A team is formed to integrate activities such as designing, purchasing, manufacturing, marketing, etc., to find and achieve the target cost.

Marginal costing is a principle whereby variable costs are charged to cost units and the fixed costs attributable to the relevant period is written off in full against the contribution for that period. Fixed costs are ascertained separately and excluded from cost of products. The fixed costs are charged to costing profit and loss account. The need for apportionment and absorption of overheads does not arise at all. Whenever the firm is a multi-product firm, the most ticklish problem is to decide the optimum output for each type of product so as to maximise profits. The optimum product mix can well be decided upon with the help of marginal-costing technique. The profitability of all the products can’t be the same and the degree of profitability of each variety of product is measured through the use of marginal costing.

Principles Of Marginal Costing

Your marginal cost of production is $5.01 per unit for every unit over 500. In this example, it costs $0.01 more per unit to produce over 500 units. Thus, absorption costing allocates a portion of fixed manufacturing overhead cost to each unit of product, along with the variable manufacturing costs. Absorption costing is also referred to as the full cost method. Because absorption costing includes all cost of production as product costs. There will be customers who are extremely sensitive to prices. This group might not otherwise buy from a company unless it were willing to engage in marginal cost pricing.

Marginal Costing: Meaning, Features and Advantages

The statement propounded under marginal costing can be easily followed as it breaks up the cost as variable and fixed. The variable component of the total cost is considered to be the marginal cost of the product. It guides the management about the profitability at various levels of production and sales. Normal costing systems also apply overhead under normal operating volume and this shows that no advantage is gained by marginal costing.

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No distortion in profit – Since period costs are not charged to output, the profit and loss statement is not distorted by changes in inventory levels. Sales-oriented – Successful business has to go in a balanced way in respect of selling production functions. But marginal costing is criticised on account of its attaching over- importance to selling function. Helps in production planning – It shows the amount of profit at every level of output with the help of cost volume profit relationship. Effective cost control – It divides cost into fixed and variable. As such, management can control marginal cost effectively. Everything you need to know about the advantages and disadvantages of marginal costing.

Marginal Costing: Meaning, Features and Advantages

Fixed expenses include fixed factory overheads, administration overheads and fixed selling and distribution overheads. Fixed expenses have no effect on the volume of activity and are written-off to the profit and loss account at the end of the period. Variable cost, on the other hand, relates to the product, and hence, termed as product cost. As it is a tool for a more accurate way of allocating fixed costs into a product, these fixed costs do not vary according to each month’s production volume.

Marginal Costing In Cost Accounting: Definition, Salient Features, Advantages And Limitations

The analysis of contribution per key factor or limiting resource is a useful aid in budgeting and production planning. Marginal cost method is simple in application and is easy for exercise of cost control. Since cost, volume and profit are inter-linked in price determination, which can be changed constantly, development of long-term price policy is not possible. Break up of cost into variable and fixed portions is a difficult problem.

Ignoring fixed cost in this context for decision making is irrational. The profits are analyzed from the point of view of sales rather than production. The management has to prepare a plan after taking into consideration the constraints, if any, on the various resources. These constraints are also known as limiting factors or principal budget factors as discussed in the topic of ‘Budgets and Budgetary Control’. These key factors may be availability of raw material, availability of skilled labour, machine hours availability, or the market demand of the product. With the development of technology, fixed expenses have increased and their impact on production is much more than that of variable expenses. Therefore, a system of costing which ignores fixed expenses is less effective because a significant portion of the cost representing fixed expenses is not taken care of.

Faulty decisions – If the fixed overheads arc not taken into consideration, the management’s decision regarding price-fixing manufacturing the product, etc., may prove to be faulty and deceptive. Marginal cost of different products may be the same, still the manufacture of a particular product may not be profitable on account of heavy fixed costs. Under marginal costing, total costs are divided into fixed and variable elements according to the nature of the behaviour of costs. The management comes to know about the exact trend of cost behaviour in respect of each and every item.

Effect On Fixed Cost

Profit planning – This technique helps in profit planning in short term cases. Variable and fixed costs are segregated out of the total cost. Better technique available – The systems of budgetary control and standard costing serve the purpose better than marginal costing system. Through variance analysis, the impact on profitability due to changes in volume and efficiency can be studied and hence this technique is not required.

Marginal Costing: Meaning, Features and Advantages

The project team has to work tirelessly to meet the target cost. Use of such information for analysis and decision making. Pretty fine ,but, a little elaboration would be essential to those who lack an accounting depth….

Disadvantages And Limitations Of Marginal Costing

Further, the engineering teams ensure that the product meets the requirements and the standards set, as well as the target cost. Sometimes the team may decide to go forward with an inferior product to meet the target costing.

  • Thus, marginal costing, if applied alone, will not be much in use, unless it is combined with other techniques like standard costing and budgetary control.
  • It is reported annually, quarterly or monthly as the case may be in the business entity’s income statement/profit & loss account.
  • Marginal costing, being a technique, can be used in conjunction with any method of cost ascertainment.
  • Basis for pricing – Marginal costing furnishes a better and more logical basis for fixation of selling prices and tendering for contract particularly when business is dull.
  • All variable manufacturing costs and fixed production overheads are treated as product costs.
  • The cash fixed cost and the total cash cost lines i.e. excluding depreciation etc. are drawn along with the sales line.

Constant in nature – Variable costs fluctuates from time to time, but in the long run, marginal costs are stable. Marginal costs remain the same, irrespective of the volume of production. It is the sum total of prime cost plus variable overheads plus variable portion of semi-variable overheads. Marginal cost is also termed variable cost, direct cost, activity cost, volume cost or out-of-pocket cost. In spite of its advantages, due to its inherent weakness of not ensuring the coverage of fixed costs, marginal pricing has not been adopted extensively. There is no meaning in the exclusion of fixed costs from the valuation of finished goods since the fixed costs are incurred for the purpose of manufacture of products.

Most advantageous volume and cost to maximise profits within the existing limitations can be planned. The fixed costs are treated as period costs and are charged to P & L A/c directly. Thus they have practically no effect on decision making. Contribution is ascertained Marginal Costing: Meaning, Features and Advantages by reducing the marginal cost or variable cost from the selling price. Thus, wrong decisions may be taken on the basis of marginal costing, particularly in times of early recession when marginal costing projects the bleak picture in a magnified way.

Deriving of cost-volume-profit relationship by differentiating between fixed costs and variable costs. There is always a problem before the management to pick up that alternative which is the best in regard to investing money. The investment should be made in such activities which yield highest marginal contribution. Alternate use of production facilities or methods of manufacture etc., may be possible. The marginal costing techniques come to the rescue of management in arriving at a correct decision in this respect. The effects of change in selling prices, variable costs can be more readily available and quick decisions can be taken in time.

Therefore, it is not possible to carry forward illogical fixed overheads from one accounting period to the next period. In most cases, variable costs influence marginal costs. It can, however, consider fixed expenses in circumstances of increased output. Since fixed costs are not controllable but only variable or marginal cost is controllable, variable costing, by dividing costs into controllable and non-controllable, helps in cost control. This margin depends on acuteness of competition, demand and supply, nature of product, degree of depression, marketing strategy, management policy, etc.


Such assumptions may not be true in the real life scenario. Marginal costing tends to make unrealistic assumptions while making analysis. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. While this global health crisis continues to evolve, it can be useful to look to past pandemics to better understand how to respond today. Students can also find moreAdvantages and Disadvantagesarticles on events, persons, sports, technology, and many more.

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