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Definition of allocate

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assign based on the use of a cost driver, a cost predictor,
or an arbitrary method

Related Terms:

accelerated depreciation

(1) The estimated useful life of the fixed asset being depreciated is
shorter than a realistic forecast of its probable actual service life;
(2) more of the total cost of the fixed asset is allocated to the first
half of its useful life than to the second half (i.e., there is a
front-end loading of depreciation expense).

activity based costing (ABC)

A relatively new method advocated for the
allocation of indirect costs. The key idea is to classify indirect costs,
many of which are fixed in amount for a period of time, into separate
activities and to develop a measure for each activity called a cost driver.
The products or other functions in the business that benefit from the
activity are allocated shares of the total indirect cost for the period based
on their usage as measured by the cost driver.

activity-based costing (ABC)

a process using multiple cost drivers to predict and allocate costs to products and services;
an accounting system collecting financial and operational
data on the basis of the underlying nature and extent
of business activities; an accounting information and
costing system that identifies the various activities performed
in an organization, collects costs on the basis of
the underlying nature and extent of those activities, and
assigns costs to products and services based on consumption
of those activities by the products and services

Administrative pricing rules

IRS rules used to allocate income on export sales to a foreign sales corporation.


This term has two quite different meanings. First, it may
refer to the allocation to expense each period of the total cost of an
intangible asset (such as the cost of a patent purchased from the inventor)
over its useful economic life. In this sense amortization is equivalent
to depreciation, which allocates the cost of a tangible long-term operating
asset (such as a machine) over its useful economic life. Second, amortization
may refer to the gradual paydown of the principal amount of a debt.
Principal refers to the amount borrowed that has to be paid back to the
lender as opposed to interest that has to be paid for use of the principal.
Each period, a business may pay interest and also make a payment on
the principal of the loan, which reduces the principal amount of the loan,
of course. In this situation the loan is amortized, or gradually paid down.

capital budgeting

Refers generally to analysis procedures for ranking
investments, given a limited amount of total capital that has to be allocated
among the various capital investment opportunities of a business.
The term sometimes is used interchangeably with the analysis techniques
themselves, such as calculating present value, net present value,
and the internal rate of return of investments.

Cost of goods sold

The charge to expense of the direct materials, direct labor, and
allocated overhead costs associated with products sold during a defined accounting

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Deferred taxes

A non-cash expense that provides a source of free cash flow. Amount allocated during the
period to cover tax liabilities that have not yet been paid.


To allocate the purchase cost of an asset over its life.


A non-cash expense that provides a source of free cash flow. Amount allocated during the
period to amortize the cost of acquiring Long term assets over the useful life of the assets.


Refers to the generally accepted accounting principle of allocating
the cost of a long-term operating asset over the estimated useful
life of the asset. Each year of use is allocated a part of the original cost of
the asset. Generally speaking, either the accelerated method or the
straight-line method of depreciation is used. (There are other methods,
but they are relatively rare.) Useful life estimates are heavily influenced
by the schedules allowed in the federal income tax law. Depreciation is
not a cash outlay in the period in which the expense is recordedójust
the opposite. The cash inflow from sales revenue during the period
includes an amount to reimburse the business for the use of its fixed
assets. In this respect, depreciation is a source of cash. So depreciation is
added back to net income in the statement of cash flows to arrive at cash
flow from operating activities.


Amortization of fixed assets, such as plant and equipment, so as to allocate the cost over their depreciable life.

Direct costing

A costing methodology that only assigns direct labor and material costs
to a product, and which does not include any allocated indirect costs (which are all
charged off to the current period).


A discipline concerned with determining value and making decisions. The finance function allocates
resources, which includes acquiring, investing, and managing resources.

fixed assets

An informal term that refers to the variety of long-term operating
resources used by a business in its operationsóincluding real
estate, machinery, equipment, tools, vehicles, office furniture, computers,
and so on. In balance sheets, these assets are typically labeled property,
plant, and equipment. The term fixed assets captures the idea that the
assets are relatively fixed in place and are not held for sale in the normal
course of business. The cost of fixed assets, except land, is depreciated,
which means the cost is allocated over the estimated useful lives of the

Group rotation manager

A top-down manager who infers the phases of the business cycle and allocates
assets accordingly.

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Indirect cost

A cost that is not directly associated with a single activity or event. Such
costs are frequently clumped into an overhead pool and allocated to various activities,
based on an allocation method that has a perceived or actual linkage between
the indirect cost and the activity.

Market Mechanism

The system whereby using prices, the interaction of supply and demand allocates inputs and distributes outputs.

mathematical programming

a variety of techniques used
to allocate limited resources among activities to achieve a
specific objective

Net inventory

The current inventory balance, less allocated or reserved items.

net realizable value approach

a method of accounting for by-products or scrap that requires that the net realizable value of these products be treated as a reduction in the cost of the primary products; primary product cost may be reduced by decreasing either
(1) cost of goods sold when the joint products are sold or
(2) the joint process cost allocated to the joint products

Overhead rate

The rate (often expressed per hour) applied to the time taken to produce a product/service, used to allocate production overheads to particular products/services based on the time taken. May be calculated on a business-wide or cost centre basis.

Oversubscribed issue

Investors are not able to buy all of the shares or bonds they want, so underwriters must
allocate the shares or bonds among investors. This occurs when a new issue is underpriced or in great demand
because of growth prospects.

Planned amortization class CMO

1) One class of CMO that carries the most stable cash flows and the
lowest prepayement risk of any class of CMO. Because of that stable cash flow, it is considered the least risky CMO.
2) A CMO bond class that stipulates cash-flow contributions to a sinking fund. With the PAC,
principal payments are directed to the sinking fund on a priority basis in accordance with a predetermined
payment schedule, with prior claim to the cash flows before other CMO classes. Similarly, cash flows
received by the trust in excess of the sinking fund requirement are also allocated to other bond classes. The
prepayment experience of the PAC is therefore very stable over a wide range of prepayment experience.

Planning, programming and budgeting system (PPBS)

A method of budgeting in which budgets are allocated to projects or programmes rather than to responsibility centres.

Priority-based budget

A budget that allocates funds in line with strategies.


The allocation of either under- or over-allocated overhead costs among the
work-in-process, finished goods, and cost of goods sold accounts at the end of an
accounting period.

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Sales value at split-off

A cost allocation methodology that allocates joint costs to joint
products in proportion to their relative sales values at the split-off point.

straight-line depreciation

This depreciation method allocates a uniform
amount of the cost of long-lived operating assets (fixed assets) to each
year of use. It is the basic alternative to the accelerated depreciation
method. When using the straight-line method, a business may estimate a
longer life for a fixed asset than when using the accelerated method
(though not necessarily in every case). Both methods are allowed for
income tax and under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).







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