Definition of Overhead
Any cost other than a direct cost – may refer to an indirect production cost and/or to a non-production expense.
any factory or production cost that is indirect to
the product or service; it does not include direct material
or direct labor; any production cost that cannot be directly
traced to the product
the amount of overhead that has been assigned to Work in Process Inventory as a result of productive activity; credits for this amount are to an overhead account
All the costs incurred during the manufacturing process, minus the
costs of direct labor and materials.
That portion of total overhead costs which remains constant in size
irrespective of changes in activity within a certain range.
the difference between the total actual fixed overhead and budgeted fixed overhead;
it is computed as part of the four-variance overhead analysis
see volume variance
A general term referring to period costs, such as selling, administration and financial expenses.
a credit balance in the overhead account
at the end of a period; when the applied overhead
amount is greater than the actual overhead that was incurred
The process of spreading production overhead equitably over the volume of production of goods or services.
see predetermined overhead rate
overhead generally refers to indirect, in contrast to direct,
costs. Indirect means that a cost cannot be matched or coupled in any
obvious or objective manner with particular products, specific revenue
sources, or a particular organizational unit. Manufacturing overhead
costs are the indirect costs in making products, which are in addition to
the direct costs of raw materials and labor. Manufacturing overhead
costs include both variable costs (electricity, gas, water, etc.), which vary
with total production output, and fixed costs, which do not vary with
increases or decreases in actual production output.
the difference between total budgeted overhead at actual hours and total budgeted
overhead at standard hours allowed for the production
achieved; it is computed as part of a three-variance analysis;
it is the same as variable overhead efficiency variance
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.
the difference between total actual overhead and total budgeted overhead at actual
hours; it is computed as part of three-variance analysis; it
is equal to the sum of the variable and fixed overhead
an estimated constant charge per unit of activity used to assign overhead cost to production or services of the period; it is calculated by dividing total budgeted annual overhead at a selected level of volume or activity by that selected measure of volume or activity; it is also the standard overhead application rate
A general term referring to indirect costs.
standard overhead application rate
a predetermined overhead rate used in a standard cost system; it can be a separate variable or fixed rate or a combined overhead rate
total overhead variance
the difference between total actual overhead and total applied overhead; it is the amount of underapplied or overapplied overhead
a debit balance in the overhead account at the end of a period; when the applied overhead amount is less than the actual overhead that was incurred
variable overhead efficiency variance
the difference between budgeted variable overhead based on actual input activity and variable overhead applied to production
variable overhead spending variance
the difference between total actual variable overhead and the budgeted amount of variable overhead based on actual input activity
a cost accumulation and reporting
method that treats the costs of all manufacturing components
(direct material, direct labor, variable overhead, and
fixed overhead) as inventoriable or product costs; it is the
traditional approach to product costing; it must be used for
external financial statements and tax returns
actual cost system
a valuation method that uses actual direct
material, direct labor, and overhead charges in determining
the cost of Work in Process Inventory
Allocation base A measure of activity or volume such as labour
hours, machine hours or volume of production
used to apportion overheads to products and
the difference between total actual overhead
and budgeted overhead based on standard hours allowed
for the production achieved during the period; computed
as part of two-variance overhead analysis; also
referred to as the controllable variance
the budget variance of the two variance approach to analyzing overhead variances
Refers to the sum of manufacturing direct labor and overhead
costs of products. The cost of raw materials used to make products
is not included in this concept. Generally speaking, this is a rough measure
of the value added by the manufacturing process.
the total of direct labor and overhead cost;
the cost necessary to transform direct material into a finished good or service
Cost of goods sold
The accumulated total of all costs used to create a product or service,
which is then sold. These costs fall into the general sub-categories of direct
labor, materials, and overhead.
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
The percentage of the assets that were spent to run a mutual fund (as of the last annual
statement). This includes expenses such as management and advisory fees, overhead costs and 12b-1
(distribution and advertising ) fees. The expense ratio does not include brokerage costs for trading the
portfolio, although these are reported as a percentage of assets to the SEC by the funds in a Statement of
Additional Information (SAI). the SAI is available to shareholders on request. Neither the expense ratio or the
SAI includes the transaction costs of spreads, normally incurred in unlisted securities and foreign stocks.
These two costs can add significantly to the reported expenses of a fund. The expense ratio is often termed an
Operating Expense Ratio (OER).
fixed expenses (costs)
Expenses or costs that remain the same in amount,
or fixed, over the short run and do not vary with changes in sales volume
or sales revenue or other measures of business activity. Over the
longer run, however, these costs increase or decrease as the business
grows or declines. Fixed operating costs provide capacity to carry on
operations and make sales. Fixed manufacturing overhead costs provide
production capacity. Fixed expenses are a key pivot point for the analysis
of profit behavior, especially for determining the breakeven point and for
analyzing strategies to improve profit performance.
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.
Costs that are necessary to produce a product/service but are not readily traceable to particular products or services – see overhead.
the total of all costs (direct material, direct labor,
and overhead) incurred in a joint process up to the splitoff point
the fixed overhead volume variance;
it is computed as part of the two-variance approach to overhead analysis
normal cost system
a valuation method that uses actual
costs of direct material and direct labor in conjunction with
a predetermined overhead rate or rates in determining the
cost of Work in Process Inventory
The amount of money the company must spend on overhead, distribution, taxes, underwriting the risk and servicing the policy. It is a factor in calculating premium rates.
This is a key factor in the profit model of a business. Product
cost is the same as purchase cost for a retailer or wholesaler (distributor).
A manufacturer has to accumulate three different types of production
costs to determine product cost: direct materials, direct labor, and
manufacturing overhead. The cost of products (goods) sold is deducted
from sales revenue to determine gross margin (also called gross profit),
which is the first profit line reported in an external income statement
and in an internal profit report to managers.
The total of all costs assigned to a product, typically including direct
labor, materials (with normal spoilage included), and overhead.
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
standard cost card
a document that summarizes the direct
material, direct labor, and overhead standard quantities and
prices needed to complete one unit of product
standard cost system
a valuation method that uses predetermined
norms for direct material, direct labor, and overhead
to assign costs to the various inventory accounts and
Cost of Goods Sold
a cost accumulation and reporting method
that includes only variable production costs (direct material,
direct labor, and variable overhead) as inventoriable
or product costs; it treats fixed overhead as a period cost;
is not acceptable for external reporting and tax returns
a fixed overhead variance that represents
the difference between budgeted fixed overhead and fixed
overhead applied to production of the period; is also referred
to as the noncontrollable variance
A multilateral development finance agency created by the 1944 Bretton Woods, New
Hampshire negotiations. It makes loans to developing countries for social overhead capital projects, which are
guaranteed by the recipient country. See: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
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