Purpose of Cost Accounting

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Purpose of Cost Accounting


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Role of Cost Accounting

When properly implemented, the cost accounting function can have a pervasive influence in the modern corporation. Unfortunately, it is not always properly implemented because management often is not completely aware of all the uses to which the cost accounting function can be put. This chapter describes the main categories of activities in which this function can become involved, and can be used as a guide by the controller in creating a well-rounded niche for the cost accountant.

The key task for the cost accountant is contributing information to a company’s external financial reports. In many cases where the main accounting function is perceived to be financial reporting (such as in a publicly held company), the other tasks of the cost accountant may very well be subordinated to providing various types of information for these external reports. A key piece of information provided by the cost accountant is inventory valuation, which in turn impacts the cost of goods sold. Several tasks are involved here, such as deciding on the type of cost layering technique (Chapter 13), ensuring that inventory quantities and costs are accurate, and compiling the resulting data into the formats required for external reporting. Other related work may also be needed, such as compiling profitability levels for various product lines, or profit levels by division. The cost accountant may also become involved in the compilation or updating of a few footnotes to the financial statements, though most of these are handled by the financial accounting staff. 11

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The advantage of having cost accountants create reports strictly for internal consumption...
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