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Martin’s Management Accounting Textbook: Chapter 13

a cost variance can be further separated into the quantity variance and the price variance.

How is the direct labor efficiency variance related to the variable overhead efficiency variance when direct labor hours are used as the overhead allocation basis? Although these traditional interpretations are intuitively appealing, the spending and efficiency variances are not precise measures and can be very misleading. This is because there are two invalid assumptions underlying the traditional analysis.

How do you find the cost variance?

  1. Cost variance = budgeted cost of work performed (BCWP) – actual cost of work performed (ACWP)
  2. Cost variance = earned value – actual cost.
  3. Cost variance % = (earned value – actual cost) / earned value.

For the standard ticket, the actual sales volume is higher than originally estimated, leading to a favorable sales quantity variance. Manufacturing overhead is applied to production based on direct labor hours. The direct labor efficiency variance is recorded when the direct labor is assigned to work‐in‐process inventory. Based on production volume and the amount that is eventually absorbed.

Revenue Variance Analysis

The calculation of the sub-variances also doesn’t provide a meaningful analysis of fixed production overheads. For example, if the workforce utilized fewer manufacturing hours during a period than the standard, it is hard to imagine a significant benefit of calculating a favorable fixed overhead efficiency variance. This variance is like labour efficiency variance and arises when actual hours worked differ from standard hours required for good units produced.

  • The spending variance for fixed overhead is known as the fixed overhead spending variance, and is the actual expense incurred minus the budgeted expense.
  • Many of these measurements were discussed in Chapter 8.
  • Budgeted and actual unit sales are indicated below as well as comparative income statements.
  • Variable Overhead Spending Variance is the difference between what the variable production overheadsactuallycost and what theyshouldhave cost given the level of activity during a period.
  • Once standard costs are used in preparing budgets, analysis of variances can be used to provide management with information about whether a variance is caused by quantity or price so that appropriate action can be taken.
  • In the margin method, it is assumed that cost of production is constant, i.e., no difference is assumed between actual cost of production and standard cost of production.
  • This means that direct materials are charged to materials control at actual, rather than standard prices.

For the Bases, Inc., the total overhead variance is $485 unfavorable. It consists of a $717 unfavorable controllable variance and a $232 favorable volume variance. An unfavorable controllable variance indicates that overhead costs per direct labor hour were higher than expected. The variance is calculated by subtracting the $8,413 budgeted overhead from the $9,130 actual overhead costs. The budgeted overhead is calculated by adding budgeted variable costs for the actual number of units to the budgeted fixed costs .

Process improvement through marketing variance analysis

Instead, just divide your total revenue with your total quantity. You now have everything necessary to calculate the price change, which is simply the a cost variance can be further separated into the quantity variance and the price variance. difference between the two prices , multiplied by the number of units sold in this year. Then there’s this third mysterious category called “the Mix”.

A company may even use both machine and labor hours as a basis for the standard rate if the use both manual and automated processes in their operations. Sometimes cost accounting adjustments are required; for example, when costs are miscoded and posted to an incorrect period of time.

What is a spending variance ?

You have a $7,500 unfavorable price variance and a $10,000 favorable efficiency variance. Because this is a cost variance, a negative number indicates less actual spending than planned, and that’s a good thing. It is the difference between actual variable overhead cost and standard variable overhead allowed for the actual output achieved. The number of actual hours worked is used in place of the number of the standard hours speci­fied because the objective is to know the cost difference due to change in labour hour rates, and not hours worked. Favourable rate variances arise whenever actual rates are less than standard rates; unfavourable variances occur when actual rates exceed standard rates. The final product cost contains not only material cost but also labour cost.

The final step in calculating damages under the discrete damages/cost variance analysis method is to allocate the variances to the responsible party. Categories for allocation usually include contractor bid error, contractor performance error, other noncompensable costs, and contractor compensable claim costs, as shown by Figure 6. Identification and utilization of other categories is commonly performed. The structure of the methodology first requires the establishment of two separate data bases, a control budget data base, and an actual cost data base, which are linked by work activity and cost element definition. A third data base called cost variance/allocation is developed from the first two. For the luxury ticket, the actual sales mix is higher than originally budgeted, leading to a favorable sales mix variance.


Another approach involves using standard cost as a control device without recording the standard costs in the accounts. In this approach variance analysis is performed to provide information for management, but normal historical costing is used in the general ledger. Before moving on to the next section, observe from Exhibit 13-9 that fixed costs can also be included in the analysis. Note, that the fixed costs that appear in column 4 are the same amounts that appear in column 1 since fixed costs are not affected by sales volume. For this reason any variances for fixed costs will appear in column 5 an represent mixed price/quantity variances.

a cost variance can be further separated into the quantity variance and the price variance.