What Are Relevant Costs?

A special order occurs when a customer places an order near the end of the month, and prior sales have already covered the fixed cost of production for the month. Mr. Spoke’s business incurs many different costs as it produces bicycles. In order to understand how these costs impact profitability, businesses must determine the relationship that exists between its costs, its production volume, and its profit. independent contractor invoice template If no excess capacity is present, additional expenses to consider include investment in new fixed assets, overtime labor costs, and the opportunity cost of lost sales. That means that a relevant cost is one that we will incur in the future as a direct result of a management decision. Past costs may help you predict and estimate the future costs, but the past costs are otherwise irrelevant to the decision.

  • They evaluated the cost of producing more and decided against fulfilling the order because the cost of doing so would not cover the costs of the existing order.
  • Types of decision
    We will now look at some typical examples where you have to decide which costs are relevant to decision-making.
  • Classifying costs as either irrelevant or relevant is useful for managers making decisions about the profitability of different alternatives.
  • Irrelevant costs are costs that are not affected by the ultimate decision.
  • The fourth column shows whether Alternative 1 is higher or lower than Alternative 2 for each line item.

Figure 4.5 “Income Statement for Barbeque Company” presents the income statement for the past year, separated by product line (this is often referred to as a segmented income statement). Carefully examine Figure 4.5 “Income Statement for Barbeque Company”. Notice that the charcoal barbecues product line shows a loss of $8,000 for the year. This is the reason management would like to consider dropping this product line. Relevant costs are also only relevant to decisions made in the short term, or one-off decisions. Incremental costs will increase as a direct result to making a specific business decision ie the costs on top of what was happening previously.

Relevant Cost

The analysis shown in Figure 4.3 “Summary of Differential Analysis for Best Boards, Inc.” is particularly useful if all costs are not easily identified, and differential costs can be determined. After all, the goal of differential analysis is to analyze the costs that differ from one alternative to the next. The jewelry brand must now establish whether the relevant costs of pursuing this opportunity will be profitable and beneficial to their business.

  • Hence, an experienced accountant would say that the company’s fixed costs are approximately $200,000 per month within a relevant range of activity.
  • This would increase the variable cost to produce each bicycle above the current level of $100 per bicycle.
  • Opportunity costs are the potential gains that an individual or business may realize if they choose one course of action over another.

The key to relevant costing is the ability to filter what is and isn’t relevant to a business decision. For example, assume you had been talked into buying a discount card of ABC Pizza for $50 which entitles you to a 10% discount on all future purchases. Say a pizza costs $10 ($9 after discount) at ABC Pizza and it subsequently came to your knowledge that a similar pizza is offered by XYZ Pizza for just $8.

Not Incremental

Students can avail of the P1 course as part of our All Access membership. Electricity charges are incremental to this order and therefore relevant. Lease rentals are a committed cost which cannot be avoided by withdrawing from this order which is why they should be ignored for the purpose of this analysis. This represents the apportionment of general and administrative overheads based on the number of machine hours that will be required on the order. This represents the manufacturing equipment’s depreciation for the number of days in which production for the order will take place. Note that the $2m total profit is the same as the profit of $6m from Production Line A and the loss of $4m from Production Line B as shown in the table at the start of this example.

What Is an Irrelevant Cost?

Therefore, the cost to produce the special order is $200 per item ($125 + $50 + $25). Allocated fixed costs (also called common fixed costs) are fixed costs that cannot be traced directly to a product line, and therefore are assigned to product lines using an allocation process. For example, rent paid for Barbeque Company’s retail store is allocated to all three product lines because it is not easily traced to each product line. However, the retail store rent likely will not decrease if the charcoal barbecues product line is eliminated (unless the company chooses to move to a smaller, less costly store).

The use of incremental analysis can help businesses identify the potential financial outcomes of one business action or opportunity compared to another. With that information, management can make better-informed decisions that can affect profitability. A relevant cost is one that we incur as a direct response to a particular decision. And likewise, a relevant revenue is the same, just instead of a cost, we incur a revenue as a result of a particular decision. Relevant costs have three features, and then there are also two other types of relevant costs that we need to be aware of.

What is relevant range?

This represents the share of factory supervisor’s salary for the number of days in which production for the order will take place. The cost of oil that will be used on the order is $1,000.The current market value of the required quantity of oil is $1,200. If oil is not used on the order, it could be used in the production of other tires.

Examples of relevant costs

Further processing Component B to Product B incurs incremental costs of $8,000 and incremental revenues of $11,000 ($15,000 – $4,000). It is worthwhile to do this, as the extra revenue is greater than the extra costs. Further processing Component A to Product A incurs incremental costs of $6,000 and incremental revenues of $5,000 ($12,000 – $7,000). It is not worthwhile to do this, as the extra costs are greater than the extra revenue. Cost of machine – this is a relevant cost as $2.1m has to be paid out. As the relevant cost is a net cash outflow, the machine should be sold rather than retained, updated and used.

Cash Flow

So the next time you would have ordered a pizza, you would have (hopefully) placed an order at XYZ Pizza realizing that the $50 you have already spent is irrelevant (see sunk cost below). The classification of costs between relevant costs and irrelevant costs is important in the context of managerial decision-making. It can be noted that fixed costs are often irrelevant because they cannot be altered in any given situation. Classifying costs as either irrelevant or relevant is useful for managers making decisions about the profitability of different alternatives.