Activity-Based Costing- 7 Key Benefits

To better understand how to match effort with impact, consider a hip replacement surgery. Time-driven activity-based costing can be used for high-cost, time-driven activities such as surgical suite utilization, while activity-based costing should be used for high-cost implants, medical supplies, and pharmaceuticals. The assignment of actual vendor cost to the chargeable item, or even directly to the individual patient encounter, can provide valuable insight into the impact of physician preferences on the cost of an episode of care. Paired with data on clinical outcomes, these insights from activity-based costing can help identify which items produce the best outcomes at the lowest cost, ultimately helping to align cost with quality. The main objective of activity-based costing is to determine the actual costs that go into the production of a certain product.

Companies with complex processes or product lines may also find ABC helpful in understanding the actual cost of their products or services. Create cost pools for those costs incurred to provide services to other parts of the company, rather than directly supporting a company’s products or services. The contents of secondary cost pools typically include computer services and administrative salaries, and similar costs.

Requirements for Activity-Based Costing (ABC)

When a company asks its employees to report on the time spent on various activities, they have a strong tendency to make sure that the reported amounts equal 100% of their time. However, there is a large amount of slack time in anyone’s work day that may involve breaks, administrative meetings, playing games on the Internet, and so forth. Employees usually mask these activities by apportioning more time to other activities. These inflated numbers represent misallocations of costs in the ABC system, sometimes by quite substantial amounts.

  • Similarly, you might consider creating cost pools for each distribution channel, or for each facility.
  • Generally, the scope of an ABC project should be kept fairly narrow, to make the project easier to manage and more cost-effective.
  • Once costs are assigned to activities, the costs can be assigned to the cost objects that use those activities.
  • This is the most critical step in the entire process, since we do not want to waste time with an excessively broad project scope.

ABC is used to get a better grasp on costs, allowing companies to form a more appropriate pricing strategy. An ABC system rarely can be constructed to pull all of the information it needs directly from the general ledger. Instead, it requires a separate database that pulls in information from several sources, only one of which is existing general ledger accounts. It can be quite difficult to maintain this extra database, since it calls for significant extra staff time for which there may not be an adequate budget. The best work-around is to design the system to require the minimum amount of additional information other than that which is already available in the general ledger.

Activity-Based Costing vs. Full Costing

This analysis may result in some unprofitable customers being turned away, or more emphasis being placed on those customers who are earning the company its largest profits. A modified approach to activity-based costing can balance an organization’s desire for operational excellence with its need for repeatable, low-maintenance solutions. Costing is an art, and there will always be some level of smoothing or averaging. The goal is to minimize this effect and assign true costs (i.e., vendor cost) where possible. With activity-based costing, the trick is to keep this view of patient cost aligned with the organization’s overall profitability view.

The ABC costing system can help sort this additional cost and help the management identify profitable customers. Identifying resources means finding out the possible expenditure of the organization, which is to be assigned to the cost of the product. So, resources mean expenses that are to be incurred at each activity, which will be allocated first to the activity, and then to the product. The best way to use activity-based costing is by using software designed specifically for this purpose.

Benefits Of Activity-Based Costing

This information can then decide how to reduce costs and improve efficiency. You might use traditional costing to calculate your costs by looking at how many widgets you’ve produced and sold. But if you’re using ABC, you would look at how much it costs to perform the activities required to produce and sell those widgets. ABC helps businesses make better decisions about allocating resources because it allows them to see how much each activity contributes to producing a result. They are essential to identify because they are the first step in understanding how your organization’s costs change as it changes its activities.

the key advantage of activity based costing is

For example, if the cost of a single purchase order is $100, managers can focus on letting the production system automatically place purchase orders, or on using procurement cards as a way to avoid purchase orders. Either solution results in fewer purchase orders and therefore lower purchasing department costs. Use an activity driver to allocate the contents of each primary cost pool to cost objects. To allocate the costs, divide the total cost in each cost pool by the total amount of activity in the activity driver, to establish the cost per unit of activity. Then allocate the cost per unit to the cost objects, based on their use of the activity driver.

Activity drivers are metrics used to track how much time or money was spent on an activity during a given period of time. In today’s increasingly challenging business environment, the benefits of incorporating ABC into cost management practices should not be ignored. An ABC system may require data input from multiple departments, and each of those departments may have greater priorities than the ABC system. Thus, the larger the number of departments involved in the system, the greater the risk that data inputs will fail over time. This problem can be avoided by designing the system to only need information from the most supportive managers.

the key advantage of activity based costing is

Using this method helps provide a more accurate representation of all the costs of making a product. Activity-based costing (ABC) is a costing method that assigns overhead and indirect costs to related products and services. This accounting method of costing recognizes the relationship between costs, overhead activities, and manufactured products, assigning indirect costs to products less arbitrarily than traditional costing methods.

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