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Definition of step cost

Step Cost Image 1

step cost

a cost that increases in distinct amounts because of increased activity


Step cost

A cost that does not change steadily, but rather at discrete points. For example,
a facility cost will remain steady until additional floor space is constructed, at
which point the cost will increase to a new and higher level.



Related Terms:

Absorption costing

A method of costing in which all fixed and variable production costs are charged to products or services using an allocation base.


absorption costing

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


Absorption costing

A methodology under which all manufacturing costs are assigned
to products, while all non-manufacturing costs are expensed in the current period.


Accelerated cost recovery system (ACRS)

Schedule of depreciation rates allowed for tax purposes.



Activity-based costing

A method of costing that uses cost pools to accumulate the cost of significant business activities and then assigns the costs from the cost pools to products or services based on cost drivers.


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.


Step Cost Image 2

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


Activity-based costing (ABC)

A cost allocation system that compiles costs and assigns
them to activities based on relevant activity drivers. The cost of these activities can
then be charged to products or customers to arrive at a much more relevant allocation
of costs than was previously the case.


Actual cost

The actual expenditure made to acquire an asset, which includes the supplierinvoiced
expense, plus the costs to deliver and set up the asset.


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


Agency cost view

The argument that specifies that the various agency costs create a complex environment in
which total agency costs are at a minimum with some, but less than 100%, debt financing.


Agency costs

The incremental costs of having an agent make decisions for a principal.


Aggressive Cost Capitalization

cost capitalization that stretches the flexibility within generally
accepted accounting principles beyond its intended limits, resulting in reporting as assets
items that more reasonably should have been expensed. The purpose of this activity is likely to
alter financial results and financial position in order to create a potentially misleading impression
of a firm's business performance or financial position.


All-in cost

Total costs, explicit and implicit.


Amortized Cost

cost of a security adjusted for the amortization of any purchase premium or
discount.


appraisal cost

a quality control cost incurred for monitoring
or inspection; compensates for mistakes not eliminated
through prevention activities


attribute-based costing (ABC II)

an extension of activitybased costing using cost-benefit analysis (based on increased customer utility) to choose the product attribute
enhancements that the company wants to integrate into a product



Average-Cost Inventory Method

The inventory cost-flow assumption that assigns the average
cost of beginning inventory and inventory purchases during a period to cost of goods sold and
ending inventory.


Average cost of capital

A firm's required payout to the bondholders and to the stockholders expressed as a
percentage of capital contributed to the firm. Average cost of capital is computed by dividing the total
required cost of capital by the total amount of contributed capital.


Avoidable costs

costs that are identifiable with and able to be influenced by decisions made at the business
unit (e.g. division) level.


backflush costing

a streamlined cost accounting method that speeds up, simplifies, and reduces accounting effort in an environment that minimizes inventory balances, requires
few allocations, uses standard costs, and has minimal variances
from standard


Bankruptcy cost view

The argument that expected indirect and direct bankruptcy costs offset the other
benefits from leverage so that the optimal amount of leverage is less than 100% debt finaning.


Batch cost

A cost that is incurred when a group of products or services are produced,
and which cannot be identified to specific products or services within each group.


batch-level cost

a cost that is caused by a group of things
being made, handled, or processed at a single time


budgeted cost

a planned expenditure


Capital Cost Allowance (CCA)

The annual depreciation expense allowed by the Canadian Income Tax Act.


capitalization of costs

When a cost is recorded originally as an increase
to an asset account, it is said to be capitalized. This means that the outlay
is treated as a capital expenditure, which becomes part of the total
cost basis of the asset. The alternative is to record the cost as an expense
immediately in the period the cost is incurred. Capitalized costs refer
mainly to costs that are recorded in the long-term operating assets of a
business, such as buildings, machines, equipment, tools, and so on.



Capitalized Cost An expenditure or accrual that is reported as an asset to be amortized against

future-period revenue.


Carring costs

costs that increase with increases in the level of investment in current assets.


carrying cost

the total variable cost of carrying one unit of
inventory in stock for one year; includes the opportunity
cost of the capital invested in inventory


Carrying cost

The cost of holding inventory, which can include insurance,
spoilage, rent, and other expenses.


carrying costs

costs of maintaining current assets, including opportunity cost of capital.


Cash cost

The amount of cash expended.


committed cost

a cost related either to the long-term investment
in plant and equipment of a business or to the
organizational personnel whom top management deem
permanent; a cost that cannot be changed without longrun
detriment to the organization


company cost of capital

Expected rate of return demanded by investors in a company, determined by the average risk of the company’s assets and operations.


controllable cost

a cost over which a manager has the ability to authorize incurrence or directly influence magnitude


conversion cost

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.


conversion cost

the total of direct labor and overhead cost;
the cost necessary to transform direct material into a finished good or service


Cost

A resource sacrificed or forgone to achieve a specific objective (Horngren et al.), defined
typically in monetary terms.


cost

the cash or cash equivalent value necessary to attain an
objective such as acquiring goods and services, complying
with a contract, performing a function, or producing and
distributing a product


Cost

The expense incurred to create and sell a product or service. If a product is not
sold, then it is recorded as an asset, whereas the sale of a product or service will
result in the recording of all related costs as an expense.


cost accounting

a discipline that focuses on techniques or
methods for determining the cost of a project, process, or
thing through direct measurement, arbitrary assignment, or
systematic and rational allocation


Cost Accounting Standards Board (CASB)

a body established by Congress in 1970 to promulgate cost accounting
standards for defense contractors and federal agencies; disbanded
in 1980 and reestablished in 1988; it previously issued
pronouncements still carry the weight of law for those
organizations within its jurisdiction


cost accumulation

the approach to product costing that determines
which manufacturing costs are recorded as part
of product cost


cost allocation

the assignment, using some reasonable basis,
of any indirect cost to one or more cost objects


cost avoidance

the practice of finding acceptable alternatives
to high-cost items and/or not spending money for
unnecessary goods or services


Cost basis

An asset’s purchase price, plus costs associated with the purchase, like installation fees, taxes, etc.


Cost behaviour

The idea that fixed costs and variable costs react differently to changes in the volume of
products/services produced.


Cost-Benefit Analysis

The calculation and comparison of the costs and benefits of a policy or project.


cost-benefit analysis the analytical process of comparing the

relative costs and benefits that result from a specific course
of action (such as providing information or investing in a
project)


Cost-benefit ratio

The net present value of an investment divided by the investment's initial cost. Also called
the profitability index.


cost center

a responsibility center in which the manager has
the authority to incur costs and is evaluated on the basis
of how well costs are controlled


Cost centre

A division or unit of an organization that is responsible for controlling costs.


Cost company arrangement

Arrangement whereby the shareholders of a project receive output free of
charge but agree to pay all operating and financing charges of the project.


cost consciousness

a company-wide attitude about the topics
of cost understanding, cost containment, cost avoidance,
and cost reduction


cost containment

the practice of minimizing, to the extent
possible, period-by-period increases in per-unit variable
and total fixed costs


Cost control

The process of either reducing costs while maintaining the same level of productivity or maintaining costs while increasing productivity.


cost control system

a logical structure of formal and/or informal
activities designed to analyze and evaluate how well
expenditures are managed during a period


Cost depletion

A method of expensing the cost of a resource consumed by first determining
the total investment in the resource (such as the procurement of a coal mine),
then determining the total amount of extractable resource (such as tons of available
coal), and then assigning costs to each consumed unit of the resource, based on the
proportion of the total available amount that has been used.


Cost driver

The most significant cause of the cost of an activity, a measure of the demand for an activity
by each product/service enabling the cost of activities to be assigned from cost pools to products/services.


cost driver

a factor that has a direct cause-effect relationship
to a cost; an activity creating a cost


Cost driver

A factor that directly impacts the incidence of a cost, and which is generally
based on varying levels of activity.


cost driver analysis

the process of investigating, quantifying,
and explaining the relationships of cost drivers and
their related costs


cost leadership strategy

a plan to achieve the position in a
competitive environment of being the low cost producer of
a product or provider of a service; it provides one method
of avoiding competition


cost management system (CMS)

a set of formal methods
developed for planning and controlling an organization’s
cost-generating activities relative to its goals and objectives
cost object anything to which costs attach or are related


Cost object

Anything for which a measurement of cost is required – inputs, processes, outputs or responsibility centres.


Cost object

An item for which a cost is compiled. For example, this can be a product,
a service, a project, a customer, or an activity.


Cost of capital

The required return for a capital budgeting project.


Cost of capital

The costs incurred by an organization to fund all its investments, comprising the risk-adjusted
cost of equity and debt weighted by the mix of equity and debt.


cost of capital

Refers to the interest cost of debt capital used by a business
plus the amount of profit that the business should earn for its equity
sources of capital to justify the use of the equity capital during the
period. Interest is a contractual and definite amount for a period,
whereas the profit that a business should earn on the equity capital
employed during the period is not. A business should set a definite goal
of earning at least a certain minimum return on equity (ROE) and compare
its actual performance for the period against this goal. The costs of
debt and equity capital are combined into either a before-tax rate or an
after-tax rate for capital investment analysis.


Cost of Capital

The minimum rate of return a company must earn in order to meet
the rate of return required by the investors (providers of capital) of
the company


Cost of capital

The blended cost of a company’s currently outstanding debt instruments
and equity, weighted by the comparative proportions of each one. During a capital
budgeting review, the expected return from a capital purchase must exceed this cost
of capital, or else a company will experience a net loss on the transaction.


Cost of Capital

The discount rate that should be used in the capital budgeting process.


cost of capital (COC)

the weighted average cost of the
various sources of funds (debt and stock) that comprise a
firm’s financial structure


Cost of carry

Related: Net financing cost


Cost of Common Stock

The rate of return required by the investors in the common stock of
the company. A component of the cost of capital.


Cost of Debt

The cost of debt (bonds, loans, etc.) that a company is charged for
borrowing funds. A component of the cost of capital.


Cost of Equity

Same as the cost of common stock. Sometimes viewed as the
rate of return stockholders require to maintain the market value of
the company's common stock.


Cost of funds

Interest rate associated with borrowing money.


cost of goods manufactured (CGM)

the total cost of the
goods completed and transferred to Finished Goods Inventory
during the period


Cost of goods sold

The cost of merchandise that a company sold this year. For manufacturing companies, the cost of raw
materials, components, labor and other things that went into producing an item.


Cost of goods sold

See cost of sales.


Cost of goods sold

The cost of the items that were sold during the current period.


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
period.


Cost of Insurance

The cost of insuring a particular individual under the policy. It is based on the amount of coverage, as well as the underwriting class, age, sex and tobacco consumption of that individual.


Cost of lease financing

A lease's internal rate of return.


Cost of limited partner capital

The discount rate that equates the after-tax inflows with outflows for capital
raised from limited partners.


Cost of manufacture

The cost of goods manufactured for subsequent sale.


Cost of Preferred Stock

The rate of return required by the investors in the preferred stock of
a company. A component of the cost of capital.


cost of production report

a process costing document that
details all operating and cost information, shows the computation
of cost per equivalent unit, and indicates cost assignment
to goods produced during the period


Cost of quality

The difference between the actual costs of production, selling and service and the costs that would be incurred if there were no failures during production or usage of products or services.


Cost of sales

The manufacture or purchase price of goods sold in a period or the cost of providing a service.


cost-plus contract

a contract in which the customer agrees
to reimburse the producer for the cost of the job plus a
specified profit margin over cost


Cost Plus Estimated Earnings in Excess of Billings

Revenue recognized to date under the percentage-of-completion method in excess of amounts billed. Also known as unbilled accounts
receivable.


Cost-plus pricing

A method of pricing in which a mark-up is added to the total product/service cost.


Cost pool

The costs of (cross-functional) business processes, irrespective of the organizational structure of the business.


cost pool

a collection of monetary amounts incurred either
for the same purpose, at the same organizational level, or
as a result of the occurrence of the same cost driver



 

 

 

 

 

 

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