Industries using process costing in their manufacturing area include chemical processing, oil refining, pharmaceuticals, plastics, brick and tile manufacturing, semiconductor chips, beverages, and breakfast cereals.
Process costing systems separate costs into cost categories according to the timing of when costs are introduced into the process. Often, only two cost classifications, direct materials and conversion costs, are necessary. Direct materials are frequently added at one point in time, often the start or the end of the process. All conversion costs are added at about the same time, but in a pattern different from direct materials costs.
Conversion costs are often added throughout the process, which can of any length of time, lasting from seconds to several months.
Equivalent units is a derived amount of output units that takes the quantity of each input (factor of production) in units completed or in incomplete units in work in process, and converts the quantity of input into the amount of completed output units that could be made with that quantity of input. Each equivalent unit is comprised of the physical quantities of direct materials or conversion costs inputs necessary to produce output of one fully completed unit. Equivalent unit measures are necessary since all physical units are not completed to the same extent at the same time.
The accuracy of the estimates of completion depends on the care and skill of the estimator and the nature of the process. Semiconductor chips may differ substantially in the finishing necessary to obtain a final product. The amount of work necessary to finish a product may not always be easy to ascertain in advance.
The five key steps in process costing follow:
Summarize the flow of physical units of output. Step 2:
Compute output in terms of equivalent units. Step 3:
Summarize total costs to account for. Step 4:
Compute cost per equivalent unit.
Assign total costs to units completed and to units in ending work in process.
Three inventory methods associated with process costing are: •
The weighted-average process-costing method calculates the equivalent-unit cost of all the work done to date (regardless of the accounting period in which it was done), assigns this cost to equivalent units completed and transferred out of the process, and to equivalent units in ending work-in-process inventory.
FIFO computations are distinctive because they assign the cost of the previous accounting period’s equivalent units in beginning work-in-process inventory to the first units completed and transferred out of the process and assign the cost of equivalent units worked on during the current period first to complete beginning inventory, next to start and complete new units, and finally to units in ending work-in-process inventory. In contrast, the weighted-average method costs units completed and transferred out and in ending work in process at the same average cost.
FIFO should be called a modified or departmental FIFO method because the goods transferred in during a given period usually bear a single average unit cost (rather than a distinct FIFO cost for each unit transferred in) as a matter of convenience.
17-16 (25 min.) Equivalent units, zero beginning inventory.
Direct materials cost per unit ($750,000 ÷ 10,000)
Conversion cost per unit ($798,000 ÷ 10,000)
Assembly Department cost per unit
Solution Exhibit 17-16A calculates the equivalent units of direct materials and conversion costs in the Assembly Department of Nihon, Inc. in February 2012. Solution Exhibit 17-16B computes equivalent unit costs.
Direct materials cost per unit
Conversion cost per...
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