Cost accounting, as a tool of management, provides management with detailed records of the costs relating to products, operations or functions. Cost accounting refers to the process of determining and accumulating the cost of some particular product or activity. It also covers classification, analysis and interpretation of costs. The cost so determined and accumulated may be the estimated future costs for planning purposes, or actual (historical) costs for evaluating performance. The Institute of Cost and Management Accountant (ICMA), London, defined cost accounting as “the process of accounting for cost from the point at which expenditure incurred or committed to the establishment of its ultimate relationship with cost centers and cost units. In its widest usage it embraces the preparation of statistical data, the application of cost control methods and the ascertainment of profitability of activities carried out or planned.” Costing
Cost accounting and costing have distinctly different meanings. The Institute of Cost and Management Accountant (ICMA), London, defined costing as the ascertainment of costs. Costing includes the “techniques” and “processes” of ascertaining costs. The technique refers to the principles or rules which are applied for ascertaining costs of products manufactured and services rendered. There are mainly two methods of costing job costing and process costing. The process includes the day to day routine of determining costs within the methods of costing adopted by the business enterprise. Within such a process, there could be historical costing, marginal costing, absorption costing and standard costing etc. Objectives of Cost Accounting
There is a direct relationship among information needs of management and cost accounting objectives and techniques and tools used for analyses in cost accounting. Cost accounting has the following three important objectives: 1. To determine the product cost.
2. To facilitate planning and control of regular business activities. 3. To supply information for short and long-run decision. Product Costing
The objective of determining the cost of products is the prime importance of cost accounting. The total product costs and cost per unit of product are important in making inventory valuation, deciding price of the product and managerial decision making. Planning and Control
Another important objective of cost accounting is the creation of useful cost data and information for the purposes of planning and control by management. The different alternative plans are evaluated in terms of respective costs and associated benefits. The management control over business operations aims to establish balance between actual and budgeted performance. A properly designed cost accounting system includes the following steps in the control process: 1. Comparing actual performance with budgets and standard 2. Analyzing the variances between budget and standards and actual by causes, and management responsibility so that corrective actions may take place. 3. Providing managers with data and reports about their individual performances and performances of subordinates. Information for decision
Another important objective of cost accounting system is to provide data and special analyses for short and long-run decisions of a non-recurring nature. Appropriate cost information must be accumulated to make a wide variety of short and long run decision. According to Henke and Spoede, the following are the cost information developed in cost accounting: 1. As a basis for valuing manufactured inventories and cost of goods sold in externally presented financial reports. 2. In controlling operations through the evaluation of operating results and the placement of responsibilities for the uses of organizational resources on the shoulders of specifically identifiable persons within the organization. 3. In planning operations...