Management

Cost accounting

Cost accounting information is designed for managers. Since managers are making decisions only for their own organization, there is no need for the information to be comparable to similar information from other organizations. Instead, the important criterion is that the information must be relevant for decisions that managers operating in a particular environment of business including strategy make. Cost accounting information is commonly used in financial accounting information, but first we are concentrating in its use by managers to make decisions. The accountants who handle the cost accounting information add value by providing good information to managers who are making decisions. Among the better decisions, the better performance of one's organization, regardless if it is a manufacturing company, a bank, a non-profit organization, a government agency, a school club or even a business school. The cost-accounting system is the result of decisions made by managers of an organization and the environment in which they make them. Cost accounting is regarded as the process of collecting, analyzing, summarizing and evaluating various alternative courses of action involving costs and advising the management on the most appropriate course of action based on the cost efficiency and capability of the management. The organizations and managers are most of the time interested in and worried about costs. The control of the costs of the past, present, and future is part of the job of all the managers in a company. In the companies that try to have profits, the control of costs directly affects them. Knowing the costs of the products is essential for decision-making regarding price and mix assignation of products and services. The cost accounting systems can be important sources of information for the managers of a company. For this reason, the managers understand the strengths and weaknesses of the cost accounting systems and participate in the evaluation and evolution of the cost measurement and administration sy tems. Unlike the accounting systems that help in the preparation of financial reports periodically, the cost accounting systems and reports are not subject to rules and standards like the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. As a result, there is wide variety in the cost accounting systems of the different companies and sometimes even in different parts of the same company or organization. Cost accounting has long been used to help managers understand the costs of running a business. Modern cost accounting originated during the industrial revolution, when the complexities of running a large scale business led to the development of systems for recording and tracking costs to help business owners and managers make decisions. In the early industrial age, most of the costs incurred by a business were what modern accountants call "variable costs" because they varied directly with the amount of production. Money was spent on labor, raw materials, power to run a factory, etc. in direct proportion to production. Managers could simply total the variable costs for a product and use this as a rough guide for decision-making processes. Some costs tend to remain the same even during busy periods, unlike variable costs, which rise and fall with volume of work. Over time, the importance of these "fixed costs" has become more important to managers. Examples of fixed costs include the depreciation of plant and equipment, and the cost of departments such as maintenance, tooling, production control, purchasing, quality control, storage and handling, plant supervision and engineering. In the early nineteenth century, these costs were of little importance to most businesses. However, with the growth of railroads, steel and large scale manufacturing, by the late nineteenth century these costs were often more important than the variable cost of a product, and allocating them to a broad range of products lead to bad decision making. Managers must understand fixed costs in order to make decisions about products and pricing.