Cost and Pricing Approach

Unit 3

Cost and Pricing Approach

3.1 introduction

The knowledge of costs and prices of various products and services is very important for purchaser to understand the base purchase cost/price of the product or service. The scope of the term ‘cost’ is extremely broad and general. It is therefore, not easy to define or explain this term in a simple statement. It is true that a cost must be understood in its relationship to the purpose which it is to serve. When the term ‘cost’ is used specifically, it should be qualified with reference to the object costed by such descriptions as fixed cost, direct cost, labor cost, selling cost, marginal cost, prime cost, conversion cost etc. All these terms will be explained in this unit. Cost can also be explained by its ways of classifications. In this unit we shall also discuss the various ways of classifying costs. Moreover, the unit deals with the pricing methods for purchased items, the method of pricing for materials issued from the store and the pricing of finished products.


3.2 Cost Concept

  3.2.1 Definitions

It is difficult to define cost in a simple term. There are different ways of defining costs.

Some of the definitions of costs are the following.

  1. Cost is defined as the amount of resources given up in exchange for some goods or services. The resources given up expressed in monetary terms
  2. It has also be defined as the classifying, recording and allocating of expenditure for the determination of costs and the relationship of these costs to sales volume and profitability
  3. Cost is also defined as the amount of expenditure incurred or attributable to a given thing
  4. Cost is the price paid for some thing. It is obvious that a cost must be understood in its relationship to the purposes, which it is to serve.

Costs are grouped in different ways to help managers to make decisions. To aid decisions managers want the cost of some thing. This something is known as cost object or cost center. Cost object (center) is defined as any activity for which a separate measurement of cost is desired. It refers to the section of the business to which costs can be charged. It may be a location such as department, sales area, or an item of equipment such as a machine, a delivery equipment, a person such as a sales man, a machine operator or a group of these. A cost center (object) is primarily of two types.

  1. Personal cost center which consists of a person or a group persons
  2. Impersonal or an item of equipment or a group of these.

From functional point of view, cost centers may be of the following two types.

  1. Production cost center-those cost centers where actual production work takes place. Examples are drilling shops, machine shop, welding shop, finishing shop etc.
  2. Service cost center – those cost centers, which are ancillary to and render services to production cost center. Examples are powerhouse, tool room, stores department, repair shop etc. costs incurred in service cost centers are of indirect type.


   3.2.2 Cost Classification

Cost classification is the process of grouping costs according to their common characteristics. It is a systematic placement of similar items together according to their common features.

There are various ways of classifying costs. Each classification serves a different purpose. Classification according to identifability with cost unit

Costs are classified into direct and indirect on the basis of their identifability with cost unit or jobs or processes.

      i. Direct costs. These are those costs, which are incurred for and may be conveniently identified with a particular cost unit, processes or department. These costs include direct material costs and direct labor costs. Direct material costs are acquisition costs of all materials that are physically identified as a part of manufactured goods. They are costs which can be identified in the product and can be conveniently measured and directly charged to the product. These materials directly entered the production and form part of the finished product.

Example – Timber in furniture making, cloth in dress making, leathers in shoes making, steel in machines etc

Direct labor costs are the wages of all labor that can be identified specifically with the manufactured goods in an economically feasible way. It is that labor which can be conveniently identified to a particular job, product or process and convert raw materials into finished goods.

Example    - Wags of machine operator, assembler, shoemaker, Carpenter, tailor etc.

       ii. Indirect costs. These costs cannot be conveniently  identified with a particular cost unit, process or department. These are general costs and are incurred for the benefit of a number cost units or cost centers. These indirect costs are known as factory overhead costs. These are the aggregate costs of indirect materials indirect labor and other indirect expenses that are associated with the manufacturing process.

         Indirect materials are those materials, which cannot be conveniently identified with individual cost unit. These are minor, small and relatively inexpensive items, which may become a part of the finished product Eg. pins, screws, nuts and bolts, thread etc. and those items which do not physically become a part of the finished products Eg. coal, lubricating oil and Greece, soap etc.

         Indirect labor is the labor that is not directly engaged in the production operations but only to assist or help in production operation.

Examples are janitors, plant guards, store room clerks, supervisor, etc

        Indirect expenses are all indirect costs other than indirect materials and indirect labor costs. These costs cannot be directly identified with a particular job, process or work order and are common to cost units and cost centers. Examples are: rent, depreciation, lighting and power, advertising, insurance, etc.

This classification is important from the point of view of accurate ascertainment of cost. Direct costs of a product can be conveniently determined while the indirect costs have to be arbitrarily allocated to various cost units. For example in ready made garments, the cost of cloth and wages of tailor are accurately ascertained without any difficulty and are thus direct costs. But the rent of factory, managerial salaries etc; which are indirect costs, have to be apportioned to various cost units on some arbitrary basis and cannot be accurately ascertained. Classification according to functions.

This is a traditional way of classifications. A business has to perform a number of functions like manufacturing, administration, selling, distribution and research. Costs may have to be ascertained for each of these functions. On these bases costs are classified into the following categories.

        i. Prime and conversion costs

Prime cost consists direct material and direct labor costs. Conversion cost is used to denote the sum of direct labor and overhead costs in the production of particular product. It is the total cost of converting a raw material into finished product.

       ii. Manufacturing cost

 Also called production ‘cost or factory cost,’ this is the cost of the sequence of operations which begins with supplying materials, labor and services and ends with completion of production. Manufacturing costs include Materials, Labor, Factory rent, Depreciation, Power and Lighting, Insurance, Store Keeping etc.

       iii. Administration cost. This is general administrative cost and includes all expenditure incurred in formulating the policy; directing the organization and controlling the operations of a company, which is not directly related to production, selling, distribution, research and development function.

Examples of administrative costs are office expenses, audit fees, legal expenses, office rent, director’s salaries, postage and communication etc.

        iv. Selling and distribution costs

Selling cost is the cost of seeking to create and stimulating demand and of securing orders selling costs include;

  • advertising
  • salaries and commissions of salesmen
  • travel expense
  • show room expense.

Distribution cost is the cost of sequence of operations which begins with making the packed product available for dispatch and ends with making the re-conditioned returned empty package for re-use. Distribution cost include:

  • packing costs
  • carriage outward
  • warehousing costs
  • upkeep and running costs of delivery equipment.

        v. Research and development cost

Research cost is the cost of searching new or improved products or methods. It comprises wages and salaries of research staff, payments to outside research organizations, materials used in laboratories and research departments etc.

After completion of research, the management may decide to produce a new improved product to employ a new or improved method. Development cost is the cost of the process which begins with the implementation of the decision to produce a new product or to employ a new or improved method and ends with the commencement of formal production of that product or by that method.
 Classification according to variability or behavior

Costs sometimes have definite relationship to the volume of production rises or falls. As such they are described fixed, variable and semi-variable or semi-fixed costs.

     i. Fixed costs.

These costs remained fixed in total and do not increase or decrease when the volume of production changes. But the fixed cost per unit increases when volume of production decreases or fixed cost per unit decreases when the volume of production increases.

Example- If a shoe factory rents a factory building for birr 100,000 per year, the unit of rent applicable to each pair of shoe will depend on the total number of shoes produced. If 100,000 pair of shoes produced cost per unit will be birr 1 (100,000 ¸ 100,0000); if 50,000 pairs of shoes produced, cost per unit will be birr 2 (100,000 ¸ 50,000). From this, we realize that the per unit cost of fixed cost will vary while the total cost remain the same.

Examples of fixed costs are:

  • Rent and Lease
  • Managerial Salaries
  • Building insurance
  • Salaries of permanent staffs.

Characteristics of fixed costs.

  • they are fixed in total amount within a relevant output range
  • they increase or decrease in per-unit when quantity of production changes
  • they allocated to departments on some arbitrary basis.
  • Such costs can be controlled mostly by top-level management.


     ii. Variable costs

 These costs tend to vary in direct proportion to the volume of output. In other words, when volume of output increases, total variable cost also increases and when volume of output decreases, total variable cost also decreases. But the  variable cost per unit remains fixed.

Example 1, if a company pays 20% commission on the amount of sales for the door-to-door sales personnel, the total cost of the commission would be 20% times the total volume of sales.

2. If a shop owner buys a number of bags at birr 5 each, the total cost of bags would be 5 times the number of bags purchased.

Here we see that per unit costs i.e 20% and 5 birr are constant but the total cost depends upon the amount of sales and the number of bags purchased.

Variable costs include:

  • Direct materials
  • Direct labor
  • Power
  • Royalties
  • Commission of sales people
  • Small tools etc

Characteristics of variable costs

  • Variability of the total amount in direct proportion to the volume of output
  • Fixed amount per unit in the pace of changing volume
  • Easy and reasonably accurate allocation and allocated to departments
  • Such costs can be controlled by functional managers.


    iii. Semi-variable or semi-fixed costs.

These costs are partly fixed and partly variable. A semi-variable cost has often a fixed part below which it will not fall at any level of output.

Examples are: Telephone expenses, light and power, depreciation etc. Classification according to product costs and period costs.

Product costs are those costs which are necessary for production and which will not be incurred if there is no production. These costs consist direct materials, direct labor and some of the factory overhead costs. They are called inventorable costs because they are included in the cost of products as work-in-progress, finished goods or cost of sales.

Period costs are those which are not necessary for production and are written off as expenses in the period in which they are incurred. Such costs are incurred for a time period and are charged to profit and losses of the period. Example of period costs are rent, salary of company executives etc. These costs are not inventoried i.e. they are not included in the volume of finished stocks.
 Classification according to controllability

Costs can also by classified into controllable and uncontrollable:

  1. Controllable costs: - These are the costs which may be directly regulated at a given level of management authority. Variable costs are generally controllable by department heads. For example cost of raw material may be controlled by purchasing department.
  2. Uncontrollable costs: - These are those costs which  cannot be influenced by the action of a specified member of an enterprise. Fixed costs are generally uncontrollable costs.


3.3 marginal costing and cost-volume  profit analysis

     3.3.1 Definition

Marginal cost is the amount at any given volume of output by which aggregate costs are changed if the volume of output is increased or decreased by one unit. In this context a unit may be a single article, a batch of articles an order, a stage of production capacity or department

In simple words marginal cost is the additional cost of producing additional units.

Marginal cost is nothing but variable cost. It is clearly composed of all direct costs and variable overheads.


     3.3.2 Marginal costing techniques

The marginal costing technique advocates that fixed costs are not relevant for the purpose of planning. It considers only marginal costs for efficient planning of expenses and profit. The logic is that fixed costs would remain fixed over a short period of time, hence, should be ignored. Differences between the sales and variable costs is called contribution. A firm which can maximize contribution can automatically maximize net profit, fixed cost remaining constant.


     3.3.3 Characteristics of marginal costing

The essential characteristics of marginal costing can be described as follows:

  1. Segration of costs into fixed and variable elements. In marginal costing all costs are segregated into fixed and variable elements and there is no third category of costs.
  2. Marginal cost as product costs. Only marginal (variable) costs are charged to products.
  3. Fixed costs as period costs. Fixed costs are traced as period costs and are charged to costing profit and loss of the period in which they are incurred.
  4. Contribution. Contribution is the difference between, sales and marginal cost of sales. The relative profitability of department is based on a study of contribution made by each of the products or departments
  5. Marginal costing and profit

In marginal costing, profit is calculated by two stage approach. First of all contribution is determined for each product or department. The contributions of various products or departments are added together and from its total contribution and, second the total fixed cost is deducted to arrive at profit or loss.


     3.3.4 Marginal cost equation

For the sake of convenience, the elements of costs can be written in the form of an equations as follows.

      Sales = Variable cost + Fixed costs ±  Profit/Loss

Or Sales – Variable costs = Fixed costs ±  Profit/Loss

Or S – V = F ± P/L where ‘S’ stands for sales, V for variable costs, F, for fixed expenses, P for profit and L for Loss.

Or S – V = C because F + P, is equal to contribution (C) i.e Fixed cost  + Profit = Contribution.

In order to make profit, contribution must be more than the fixed expenses and to avoid any loss, contribution must be equal to the fixed expenses.

The marginal cost equation of S – V = F ± P is very useful to find any of the four factors i.e., S, V, F or P if three of these factors are known


Example: Determine the amount of fixed cost from the following

Sales ---------------------------------------- $ 240,000

Direct material costs --------------------- 80,000

Direct labor costs ------------------------- 50,000

Variable overheads ----------------------- 20,000

Profit --------------------------------------------50,000



Given S = 240,000

          V = 150,000 (80,000 + 50,000 + 20,000)

          P = 50,000

Marginal equation = S – V = F + P

                                  240,000 – 150,000 = F + 50,000

                                      90,000 = F + 50,000

                                   F = 90,000 – 50,000

                                   F = 40,000


     3.3.5 Break-even (cost volume profit) analysis

Break-even analysis is a logical extension of marginal costing. It is based on the same principles of classifying the operating expenses, into fixed and variable. Now a days it has become a powerful instrument in the hands of policy makers to maximize profits.

There may be change in the level of production due to many reasons such as competition, introduction of a new product, increased demand for the products, scarce resources, change in the selling prices of products etc. In such cases management must study the effect on profit on account of the changing levels of production. A number of techniques can be used as an aid to management in this respect. One such techniques is the break even analysis.

The term breakeven analysis is interpreted in the narrower as well as broader sense.

In the narrower sense, it is concerned with finding out the break-even point i.e the level of activity where the total cost equals total sales. In its broader sense, it means that the system of analysis which determines the probable profit at any level of production. The break-even analysis establishes the relationship of costs, volume and profit. The management of profit seeking organization usually studies the relationships of revenue, cost and net income (profit). This study is commonly called cost volume profit analysis.

In order to understand mathematical relationship between cost, volume and profit, it is desirable to understand the following four concepts.

  1. Contribution
  2. Profit-volume ration (P/V ratio)
  3. Breakeven point
  4. Margin of safety


Contribution is the difference between the sales and the marginal cost of sales and it contributes towards fixed cost and profit.

Example Selling price per unit $ 15

               Variable cost per unit 10

               Fixed cost total $ 150,000

               Units of production 30,000 units:

 Contribution per unit = 15 – 10 = $ 5

Total contribution = 30,000 unit x 5 = $ 150,000 which is sufficient to cover fixed cost and no profit.

  • If out put is 20,000 units, contribution will be 20,000 x 5 = $ 100,000 which is not sufficient to cover fixed cost of $ 150,000 and the result is the loss of

    $ 50,000.

  • If output is 40,000 units contribution will be 40,000 x 5 = $ 20,000 sufficient to cover fixed cost and result in a profit of $ 50,000.

Thus contribution will first go to meet fixed cost and then to earn profit.

Contribution can be represented as:

Contribution = Sales – Variable cost

Or Contribution = Fixed cost + Profit

Or Contribution – Fixed cost = Profit

Or Contribution – Profit = Fixed cost.

In marginal costing, contribution is very important as it helps to find out the profitability of a product, department or division to have better product mix, for profit planning and to maximize the profit of the company.

  Profit volume ration (P/V ratio)

This ration is calculated in the following way

P/V ration = Contribution / Sales    i.e C/S

Or  = (Fixed Cost + Profit ) / Sales   i.e  (F+P) /S

Or = (Sales – Variable Cost) / Sales   i.e   (S-V) /S

Or = Change in Profits / Change in Sales

Or = Change in Contribution / Change in Sales

The ratio can be expressed in percentage form if it is multiplied by 100


Example. If the selling price is $ 15 and the marginal cost $ 10, then

P/V ratio = (15-10) /15 = 5/100*100 =  33(1/3)%

The profit/volume ratio is one of the most important ratios for studying the profitability of operations of a business and establishes the relationship between contribution and sales. In the above example for every birr 100 of sales, contribution is 331/3%. A sale of every Birr 100 will bring a profit of 331/3 after fixed costs are covered. Comparison of P/V ratios for different products can be made to find out which product is more profitable. The higher the P/V ratio, the more the profit will be, and the lower the P/V ratio, the lesser the profit will be. Therefore, it should be the goal of every company to increase or improve the P/V ratio.

P/V ratio is important for calculating the following variables.

i. Break-even point  =Fixed Cost / P/V ratio

ii. Value of sales to earn

     a desired amount of profit  = (Fixed Cost + Desired Profit) / P/V ration 

iii. Margin of safety = Profit / P/V ratio

iv. Profit = (Sales x P/V ratio) – Fixed Cost

v. Fixed Cost = (Sales x P/V ratio) - Profit

vi. Variable Cost = Sales (1 – P/V ratio).

Example calculate P/V ratio from the following information

  1. Selling price $ 10 per unit

      Variable costs 6 / unit

  1. Given the profit and sales of two periods

        Period            Sales in birr                 Profit in birr

        1994              200,000                       70,000

        1995              220,000                       75,000


  1. P/V ratio =Contribution / Sales = ((10 – 6) / 10 )*100 = 40% 
  2. P/V ration = (25,000 – 20,000) / (220,000 – 200,000) = 25%

 Break-even point

Break-even point is a point of sales expressed in units or money value at which a firm makes no profit or loss. A business is said to break-even when its total sales are equal to its total costs. At this point contribution is equal to fixed cost. The break-even point can be calculated by the following formula.


Break-even point (in units) =Total Fixed Cost / (Selling Price per unit – Marginal Cost per unit)

                   Or                   =Total fixed cost /  Contribution per unit

Break-even point (in sales) = Fixed cost / PV ratio

                            Or            = (Fixed costs / Contribution per unit) x Selling price per unit

                            Or            =(Fixed costs / Total Contribution) x Total Sales


Example. From the following data calculate

  1. BEP expressed in amount of sales
  2. Number of units that must be sold to earn a profit of Birr 120,000/year
  3. The amount of sales to earn a profit of birr 60,000.

Selling price per unit $ 40

Variable cost per unit 25

Fixed cost total $180,000


  1. P/V ratio = (40-25 ) / 40= (15/40) x100 = 37.5%

BEP (in sales) =FC / (P/V ratio) = 180,000 / 0.375 = $480,000

Or BEP (in units) =

                           = 12,000 units 

BEP = (in sales) = 12,000 x 40 = $ 480,000

       ii. Output to earn a profit of 120,000

               (Fixed cost + profit) / (Selling price per unit – Marginal cost per unit)

                     =  20,000 units

       iii. Sales =9Fixed cost + desired profit ) /PV ratio 

                             = $ 640,000

  Margin of safety

Margin of safety may be defined as the different between actual sales and sales at break-even point. It is the amount by which actual volume of sales exceed the break-even point. Sales or out put beyond break-even point is known as margin of safety because it gives some profit, at break-even point only fixed costs are recovered.

Margin of safety may be expressed in absolute money terms or as percentage of sales. Example If actual sales are Birr 500,000 and break-even sales are Birr 300,000, then margin of safety is Birr 200,000. (500,000 – 300,000).


In terms of  percentage 40% i.e (200,000 / 500,000) x 100 

Margin of safety (M/S) = Actual sales – Break-even point

          Or = Profit / PV ratio

The size of the margin of safety indicates the soundness of a business. When margin of safety is large, it means the business can still make profits after a serious fall in sales. On the other hand, if the margin is small, small reduction in sales or production will be a serious matter and lead to loss. The margin of safety at break-even point is zero because actual sales volume is equal to the break-even sales.

The management of the company should make great effort to increase the margin of safety so that more profit may be earned. This margin can be increased by taking the following steps.

  1. Increase the volume of sale
  2. Increase the selling price
  3. Reduce fixed cost
  4. Reduce variable cost
  5. Substitute the existing product by more profitable products.


3.4 Pricing Approach

Pricing is the amount of money which is needed to acquire a product or service.


3.4.1 Purchase price

The invoice received from the supplier provides a base figure of a purchase price, but certain adjustments have to be made in this figure to arrive at the real materials cost. This adjustment is made through discount and allowance or addition.

Discount and allowances result in a deduction from a base or list price. The deduction may be in the form of reduced price or some other concession. Discounts can be used as a technique for reducing prices in order to encourage purchases to buy materials. However, purchasers should be careful that discounts are not always useful. They have to weight the advantages and disadvantages of taking discount. Discounts take several forms as explained below.

a) Quantity discount. This is an allowance made by the supplier to the purchaser to encourage large orders. The discount often varies according to the size of the order i.e the larger the quantity order, the higher is the discount.

      For example.

  • For purchase up to 200 units no discount
  • For purchase between 200 unit – 400 units 2% discount
  • For purchase between 401 unit - 800 units 4% discount
  • For purchase more than 800 unit 10% discount

Quantity discount is allowed by a supplier as a measure of the savings in his cost which arises from the production and distribution on a large scale. Part of these savings enjoyed by the supplier is passed on the purchaser in the form of quantity discount. The amount of the quantity discount is deducted from the purchase price to arrive at the material cost/price.

b) Trade discount. Trade discounts called functional discounts, are deductions, from the list price offered to buyers in payments for marketing functions that the buyer will perform-functions such as storing, promoting and selling the product.

The idea is to cover the expenses and profit of the dealer who is providing service to help the original supplier to distribute his goods. This discount is also deducted from the purchase price to arrive at the material cost price.

Example. A manufacturer may quote a retail price of Birr 400 with trade discount 40% for retailer and 10% for wholesaler. In this case, the retailer pays to the whole sales Birr 240 (400 less 40% of 400). The whole sealer pays to the manufacturer Birr 216 (240 less 10% of 240). The wholesaler is expected to keep the 10% to cover cost of the whole selling functions and pass on the 40% discount to retailers.

c) Cash discount. This discount is allowed by the supplier to a purchaser to encourage prompt payment of invoices. Example 2% discount may be allowed if payment is made within 30 days and 4% discount if payment is made within 7 days.

d) Sales Tax and other Levies. Items like sales tax, custom duty, excise tax etc, should be added to the purchase price.

e) Transport charges. These include sea, land, air freight, dock charges, insurance etc on materials purchased. Some times the purchase price quoted by the supplier includes all these charges, but if the price does not include these charges they should be added to the purchase price.

f) Cost of containers. The supplier may or may not separately charge for containers. If there is no such charge, no adjustment is required in the purchase price. However, if containers are separately charged, all such costs should be included in the purchase price.   i.e.

i. The costs of containers if these are not returnable.

ii. The difference between the cost of container and the amount refunded when container is returned.


3.4.2 Material issue pricing

It is obvious that the stock consist of materials purchased in different lots at different times and at different prices. However, when materials are to be issued to production, what price should be charged for costing the materials that are issued and what should be the value of the remaining unissued stock in hand must be known. Whether it should be the original purchase price or the average price or the current market price on the date of issue or some other price that should be used for this purpose.

There are many methods of pricing material issues. The most important are the following:

 First-In First-Out (FIFO) Method

In this method the assumption is that the first materials purchased are the first materials consumed. If materials are already on hand, these are issued first and the first purchase issued next. Thus the FIFO method uses the price of the first batch of materials purchased for all issues until all materials from this first batch are fully issued. After the first batch is fully issued, the price of the next batch of materials become the next issue price. That means the unit costs are allocated to the cost of production according to their chronological order of receipts in store.

This method is most suitable in times of fulling prices because the issue price of the materials to the job will be high while the cost of replacement will be low.

The important effects of using FIFO method are

  1. Materials are priced at the actual cost.
  2. Charge to production for materials cost is at the oldest price of materials in stock.
  3. Ending inventory is valued at the latest price paid

 Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) Method

The issues under this method are priced in the reveres order of purchases, i.e. the price of the latest available purchase is taken first. It is based on the assumption that the last materials purchased are the first materials issued. Thus the price of the last batch of materials purchased is issued for all issues until all units from this batch have been completed and then after the price of the previous batch received is used. This method is most suitable in times of rising prices because materials will be issued from the latest purchase at a price which is closely related the current price levels.

The important points regarding this method are:

  1. Materials issues are priced at actual cost.
  2. Charge to production for material cost is at latest price paid.
  3. The ending balance of stock valuation is at the latest price paid and is out of line with the current price.

 The Average Cost Methods

These methods are based on the assumption that when materials purchased in different lost are stored together (mixed up), their identity is lost so that an issue can not be made from any particular lot of purchases.


  1.  Simple Average Method

Simple average price is calculated by dividing the total of the unit purchase price of different materials in the stock on the date, of issue by the number of price used in the calculation. It does not take into account quantities of materials in stock while composing the average price.

For example 400 units purchased at Birr 7/unit

                    100 units purchased at Birr 9/unit

                    500 units purchased at Birr 5/unit

Simple average price = (7+9+5) / 3 = $7 


  1. Weighted Average Method

This method gives due weight to the quantities held at each price when calculating the average price. The weighted average pricing is calculated by dividing the total cost of material in stock by the total quantity of material in that stock.


Refer the above example.

Weighted average price =( (400x7)+(100x9)+(500x5) ) / 7+9+5 

                                       = $295.24 Replacement price method

Replacement price is the price at which materials would be replaced i.e the market price on the date of issue. This method is used when it is desired to reflect the current prices in costs. It is most suitable for businesses that buy large quantities of materials well in advance of requirements to take advantage of cheap prices.


The main advantage of this method is that it is simple to operate as no calculations are required to be made of the issue prices as it is done in the average, LIFO, and FIFO methods. Secondly material cost is charged at the current market price. Standard price method

Standard price is a pre-determined price which is fixed for a definite period, such as a year, and takes into account factors like probable trend of prices over that period, market conditions, discounts etc. Standard prices are fixed for each item of material and where prices of materials fluctuate heavily, standard prices should be fixed for a short period and revised when required.


Under this method all receipts are posted in the stores ledger at actual cost and issues are priced at standard price. The different between actual and standard price is transferred to material price variance account.


3.4.3 Pricing of Finished Product

Price is the amount of money charged for a product or service. It is the sum of all the values that consumers exchange for the benefit of having or using the product or service. Managers of any business enterprise always face decisions on the pricing and profitability of their products. All profit making organizations and many non profit organizations must set prices on their product or services because price is the only element that produces revenue. Factors that affect the setting of prices

The setting of prices of the company products or services are affected by internal factors of the company and the external environmental factors.

i. Company internal factors are the following

  • Company objectives. The company objective may be survival. This would happen if there is stiff (heavy) competition and if there is a changing or shifting of consumer demand. In this case, to maintain its survival a company may set low price in order to increase demand for its product or serve. Therefore, price is less important than survival.
  • The company objective may be maximization of company profit. In this case, the company would focus on setting high price which will produce maximum profit, cash inflow or return on investment.
  • The objective of the company may be market share leadership. In this case it has to set its price as low as possible. This would happen if the cost of the product is low so that the company would obtain highest long-run profit.
  • If the company’s objective is product quality leadership, the company must set its price as high as possible in order to cover the cost of the product that spent for design, research and development, promotion, distribution etc.
  • Cost is another internal factor that affects the pricing decision of the company. Costs determine the lower (floor) limit that the firm can charge for its product when setting price the company should cover all its costs for producing, distributing and selling the product and deliver a fair rate of return for its effort.

ii. External factors that affect pricing

  • The nature of market and demand. Since costs set the lower limit of price, demand for the product or service sets the upper limit. If the demand is high for the product, the company can set high price. Therefore, before setting prices the marketer must understand the relationship between price and demand for its product.
  • Pricing may be based on competitor’s decision. Sometimes competitor’s reactions influence pricing decisions. If competition is very heavy the company might be forced to reduce its price. A good market information systems enable the company to get information about the price and cost conditions of the competitors.
  • Other environmental factors such as economic and governmental conditions have great influence on setting price. The economic factors such as boom or recession, inflation and interest rate affect pricing decisions because they affect both the cost of producing a product and consumer perceptions of the products price and value. Government is also another important external influence on pricing decision. In addition to this the purchasing power of the population should be considered in setting pricing decisions.


3.5 Summary

The term ‘cost’ is defined as the amount of resources given up in the exchange for some goods or services. The resources given up expressed in monetary terms. For decision making purpose costs are grouped in different  basis of cost centers. Cost centers could be personal cost centers which consist of persons or group of persons or impersonal cost centers which consist of a location or an item of equipment.

From the functional point of view cost centers are group as production cost center and service cost center.

It is also possible to classify costs according to their common characteristics. Based on some common features costs are classified according to their identifability with cost unit such as direct cost and indirect cost, according to their function such prime and conversion, administration, selling and distribution and research and development costs, according to their variability such as fixed, variables, and semi-variables and according to controllability such as controllable and uncontrollable costs.

Marginal cost is the amount by which aggregate costs are changed if the volume of output is increased or decreased by one unit. Marginal cost equation is expressed by the following formula.

      Sales = Variable cost + Fixed cost  ± Profit/Loss

Or Sales – Variable cost = Fixed cost ± Profit/Loss

Or S – V = F ± P/L

Or S – V = Contribution (C)

To studying the relationship between revenue, cost and profit is known cost volume profit analysis. To understand these relationships, it is necessary to know the concepts such as contribution, profit-volume ratio, Break-even point and margin of safety.

Materials purchased in different lots at different times and at different prices are to be allocated to production using different methods. Firms use various method to issue materials from the store. Some of the important methods are Fist-In-First-Out (FIFO) method, Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) method, average method, replacement price method, and standard price method. In addition to determine the issue price of raw materials organizations must set prices on finished product because price is the only element that brings revenue.



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