THE MARGINAL COSTING VS ABSORPTION COSTING:

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Marginal costing is also termed as variable costing, a technique of costing which includes only variable manufacturing costs , in the form of direct materials, direct labour, and variable manufacturing overheads while determining the cost per unit of a product. Where as Absorption costing, is a costing technique that includes all manufacturing costs, in the form of direct materials, direct labour, and both variable and fixed manufacturing overheads, while determining the cost per unit of a product. It is also referred to as the full- cost technique.

In the costing of product/service, a marginal costing technique considers the behavioural characteristics of costs (segregations of costs into fixed and variable elements), because per unit variable cost is fixed and total costs are variable in nature, where as total fixed costs are fixed and per unit fixed cost is variable in nature and furthermore variable costs are controllable in nature, while total fixed costs are un-controllable in nature. Marginal costing is useful for short-term planning, control and decision-making, particularly in a business where multi-products are produced. In marginal costing technique, the contribution is calculated after deducting variable costs from sales value with reference to each product or service, in order to calculate the total contribution from all products/services which are made towards the total fixed costs incurred by the business. As the fixed costs are treated as period costs, are deducted from total contribution to arrive at net profit.

In the context of costing of a product/service, an absorption costing considers a share of all costs incurred by a business to each of its products/services. In absorption costing technique; costs are classified according to their functions. The gross profit is calculated after deducting production costs from sales and from gross profit, costs incurred in relation to other business functions are deducted to arrive at the net profit.

Absorption costing gives better information for pricing products as it includes both variable and fixed costs.

Marginal costing may lead to lower prices being offered if the firm is operating below capacity. Customers may still expect these lower prices as demand/capacity increases.

Profit Statements under Marginal and Absorption Costing:

The net profit shown by marginal costing and absorption costing techniques may not be the same due to the different treatment of fixed manufacturing overheads. Marginal costing technique treats fixed manufacturing overheads as period costs, where as in absorption costing technique these are absorbed into the cost of goods produced and are only charged against profit in the period in which those goods are sold. In absorption costing income statement, adjustment pertaining to under or over-absorption of overheads is also made to arrive at the profit.

Terms explained:

Product and Period Costs:

1 Product costs: the costs of manufacturing the products;

2 Period costs: these are the costs other than product costs that are charged to, debited to, or written off to the income statement each period.

A Case Example on Marginal and Absorption Costing:

Data for a Quarter for a manufacturing company:-

Level of Activity

60%

100%

Sales and Production(Units)

36,000

60,000

Rs. ('000)

Rs. ('000)

Sales

432

720

Production costs :

(Variable and fixed)

366

510

Sales, distribution and administration costs

(Variable and fixed)

126

150

The normal level of activity for the current year is 60,000 units, and fixed costs are incurred evenly throughout the year.

There were no stocks of the product at the start of the quarter, in which 16,500 units were made and 13,500 units were sold. Actual fixed costs were the same as budgeted.

Then, various calculations regarding Absorption vs. Marginal costing can be worked out as under:-

Production

Costs (Rs.)

Sales etc

costs (Rs.)

Total costs of 60,000 units

(fixed plus variable)

5,10,000

1,50,000

Total costs of 36,000 units

(fixed plus variable)

3,66,000

1,26,000

Difference = variable costs of 24,000 units

1,44,000

24,000

Variable costs per unit

Rs.6

Re.1

Production

Costs (Rs.)

Sales etc.

Costs (Rs.)

Total costs of 60,000 units

5,10,000

1,50,000

Variable costs of 60,000 units

3,60,000

60,000

Fixed costs

1,50,000

90,000

The rate of absorption of fixed production overheads will therefore be:

Rs.1,50,000 ÷ 60,000 = Rs. 2.50 per unit.

(i) The fixed production overhead absorbed by the products would be 16,500 units produced - Rs. 2.50 = Rs. 41,250

(ii) Budgeted annual fixed production overhead = Rs.1,50,000

Rs.

Actual quarterly fixed production overhead = budgeted quarterly fixed

production overhead (1,50,000 ÷ 4)

37,500

Production overhead absorbed into production [see (i) above]

41,250

Over -absorption of fixed production overhead

3,750

(iii) (a) Profit statement for the quarter, using Absorption Costing

Rs.

Rs.

Rs.

Sales (13,500- Rs.12)

1,62,000

Costs of production (no opening stocks)

Value of stocks produced (16,500 - Rs. 8.50)

1,40,250

Less value of closing stock

(3,000 units - full production cost of Rs. 8.50)

(25,500)

1,14,750

Sales etc costs

Variable (13,500 - Re. 1)

13,500

Fixed (1/4 of Rs. 90,000)

22,500

36,000

Total cost of sales

1,50,750

Less over-absorbed production overhead

3,750

1,47,000

Profit

15,000

(b) Profit statement for the quarter using Marginal Costing

Rs.

Rs.

Sales (13,500-Rs.12)

1,62,000

Variable costs of production (16,500 - Rs. 6)

99,000

Less value of closing stocks (3,000 - Rs. 6)

18,000

Variable production cost of sales

81,000

Variable sales etc. costs (13,500 - Re.1)

13,500

Total variable cost of sales (13,500 - Rs. 7)

94,500

Contribution (13,500 - Rs. 5)

67,500

Fixed Costs: Production

37,500

Sales etc.

22,500

60,000

Profit

7,500

Conclusion: Hence, Profits as shown by Marginal and Absorption Costing techniques are not the same, due to the reasons explained above.

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