Accurately calculating product costs also assists with more in-depth analysis, such as per-unit cost. Per-unit cost is calculated by dividing your costs by the number of units produced. It is an important metric, particularly when determining product pricing.

  • However, the managers also modify the overhead costs for short-term production or price determination.
  • The product costs can be calculated by using different approaches as job costing and process costing.
  • Period costs can be defined as any cost or expense items listed in the firm’s income statement.
  • The period costs are not tied to the manufacturing or purchase of an individual product.
  • This can be particularly important for small business owners, who have less room for error.

In other words, period costs are related to the services consumed over the period in question. Also, fixed and variable costs may be calculated differently at different phases in a business’s life cycle or accounting year. Whether the calculation is for forecasting or reporting affects the appropriate methodology as well.

Part of inventory costs

Period costs are on the income statement as expenses in the period they were incurred. Classification of cost into periods and products is generally for financial accounting purposes. A proper determination of revenues and expenses must be based on a well-defined distinction between Period cost and Product cost.

Period costs can be defined as any cost or expense items listed in the firm’s income statement. Both of these types of expenses are considered period costs because they are related to the services consumed over the period in question. Just like the product costs, the period costs of a business entity are also required to be recognized and recorded in financial statements as per GAAP and IFRS. All the periodic costs of a business entity are recorded in the income statement under the head of operational costs. The gross profit is calculated by subtracting the product costs from total revenues generated in a financial period. A manufacturer’s product costs are the direct materials, direct labor, and manufacturing overhead used in making its products.

  • Thus, it is fair to say that product costs are the inventoriable manufacturing costs, and period costs are the nonmanufacturing costs that should be expensed within the period incurred.
  • As such, these costs are used to value inventory and once those products are sold, the product costs fold into the costs of goods sold.
  • The main difference between product and period costs is that the former is only counted when products are produced or acquired and the latter accrue over time.
  • Regardless of differences, both types are significant in the cost accounting and profit appropriation of a business entity.

As the name suggests, period costs are those costs which are incurred due to the passage of time. They don’t form part of the cost of inventory and thus are expensed to the profit and loss account as and when they are incurred by the entity. Such a treatment of period costs is in accordance with the accrual concept of financial accounting. Administrative expenses are non-manufacturing costs that include the costs of top administrative functions and various staff departments such as accounting, data processing, and personnel.


Only when they are used to produce and sell goods are they moved to cost of goods sold, which is located on the income statement. When the raw materials are brought in they will sit on the balance sheet. When the product is manufactured and then sold a corresponding amount from the inventory account will be moved to the income statement. So if you sell a widget for $20 that had $10 worth of raw materials, you would record the sale as a credit (increasing) to sales and a debit (increasing) either cash or accounts receivable. The  $10 direct materials would be a debit to cost of goods sold (increasing) and a credit to inventory (decreasing). They are identified with measured time intervals and not with goods or services.

According to the Matching Principle, all expenses are matched with the revenue of a particular period. So, if the revenues are recognised for an accounting period, then the expenses are also taken into consideration irrespective of the actual movement of cash. By virtue of this concept, period costs are also recorded and reported as actual expenses for the financial year. On the other hand, process costing uses an approach in which all the costs of material, labor, supplies and overhead during the batch production process are summed up.

Management can identify cost overrun areas by periodically analyzing both product costs and period costs. This can eventually help the entity take corrective action to lower costs and improve profitability. Firms account for some labor costs (for example, wages of materials handlers, custodial workers, and supervisors) as indirect labor because the expense of tracing these costs to products would be too great. cash inflows & outflows of operations Indirect labor consists of the cost of labor that cannot, or will not for practical reasons, be traced to the products being manufactured. These costs are identified as being either direct materials, direct labor, or factory overheads, and they are traceable or assignable to products. Period costs are sometimes broken out into additional subcategories for selling activities and administrative activities.

Accounting treatment

Thus, the product costs are expensed out as cost of goods sold only when the related income from sale of goods is realized and recorded. Product costs are also often termed as inventoriable costs and manufacturing costs. Product cost comprises of direct materials, direct labour and direct overheads. Period costs are based on time and mainly includes selling and administration costs like salary, rent etc. These two type of costs are significant in cost accounting, that most people don’t understand easily. So, take a read of the article, that sheds light on the differences between product cost and period cost.

When inventory is purchased, it constitutes an asset on the balance sheet (i.e., “inventory”). Many employees receive fringe benefits paid for by employers, such as payroll taxes, pension costs, and paid vacations. These fringe benefit costs can significantly increase the direct labor hourly wage rate. Other companies include fringe benefit costs in overhead if they can be traced to the product only with great difficulty and effort. Direct materials are those materials used only in making the product and there is a clear, easily traceable connection between the material and the product. For example, iron ore is a direct material to a steel company because the iron ore is clearly traceable to the finished product, steel.

Module 1: Nature of Managerial Accounting

Product cost is a variable cost incurred by a company or business entity to procure the merchandise or manufacture the finished goods. The retail company will record the cost of acquiring merchandise as the product cost. However, a manufacturing company’s material, labor, and FOH cost will be treated as the product cost. An example of a product cost would be the cost of raw materials used in the manufacturing process.

Direct materials

As shown in the income statement above, salaries and benefits, rent and overhead, depreciation and amortization, and interest are all period costs that are expensed in the period incurred. On the other hand, costs of goods sold related to product costs are expensed on the income statement when the inventory is sold. When the financial statements are prepared, all the product costs will be transferred to inventories held by the company. The cost of 80 units will be transferred to the income statement and will be recorded as the cost of goods sold. The cost of the sold units can also be segregated as separate costs of material, labor, and overhead.

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The administration of the business entity is working throughout the year. The marketing, promotion, and sales budget is also allocated for a specific period. Commercial entities regularly incur different types of costs while carrying out their business activities. These costs can be broadly bifurcated into costs related to the core production/trading activities and other ancillary costs. While preparing their books of accounts, manufacturing entities in particular prepare a separate trading account and a separate profit and loss account.

When preparing financial statements, companies need to classify costs as either product costs or period costs. We need to first revisit the concept of the matching principle from financial accounting. Examples of product costs include the cost of raw materials used, depreciation on plant, expired insurance on plant, production supervisor salaries, manufacturing supplies used, and plant maintenance. All the product costs are transferred to inventories before recording as the cost of goods sold in the income statement. The units that remain in the closing inventory are treated as the asset of the company. These assets are recorded in the current assets of the balance sheet at the end of the year.

Advertising, market research, sales salaries and commissions, and delivery and storage of finished goods are selling costs. The costs of delivery and storage of finished goods are selling costs because they are incurred after production has been completed. Therefore, the costs of storing materials are part of manufacturing overhead, whereas the costs of storing finished goods are a part of selling costs. Remember that retailers, wholesalers, manufacturers, and service organizations all have selling costs. In a manufacturing company, overhead is generally called manufacturing overhead.