Normal costing is used to value manufactured products with the actual materials costs, the actual direct labor costs, and manufacturing overhead based on a predetermined manufacturing overhead rate. These three costs are referred to as product costs and are used for the cost of goods sold and for inventory valuation. Standard costing values its manufactured products with a predetermined materials cost, a predetermined direct labor cost, and a predetermined manufacturing overhead cost. These standard costs will be used for valuing the manufacturer’s cost of goods sold and inventories. If the actual costs vary only slightly from the standard costs, the resulting variances will be assigned to the cost of goods sold. If the variances are significant, they should be prorated to the cost of goods sold and to the inventories.
Standard costing and the related variances is a valuable management tool. If a variance arises, management becomes aware that manufacturing costs have differed from the standard (planned, expected) costs. * If actual costs are greater than standard costs the variance is unfavorable. An unfavorable variance tells management that if everything else stays constant the company's actual profit will be less than planned. * If actual costs are less than standard costs the variance is favorable. A favorable variance tells management that if everything else stays constant the actual profit will likely exceed the planned profit.
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