The marginal cost of an additional unit of output is often referred to as the “prime cost plus variable overhead.” It encompasses all costs that vary according to the amount of output.
To determine the marginal cost, a comparison between the cost of manufacturing one unit and the cost of creating the next one must be made.
Significance of Marginal Costing
Since Marginal Cost is a key factor to be considered in the business decision-making process, it is important to be able to forecast it accurately. When a business decides to launch a new product, one of the factors that must be taken into account is the projected profit. The profitability of the business will depend on the Marginal Cost of the new product. For that reason, it is important to be able to forecast the Marginal Cost of manufacturing the product. Marginal Cost is important to be able to forecast and decide if the new product will make a profit.
Marginal costing has been a critical component of traditional management accounting since its inception. However, as management accounting evolved over the last decade, the form and breadth of marginal costing shifted dramatically. Its ideas have been updated to reflect modern management accounting concepts.
Due to their limited application and rising complexity, experts now challenge conventional cost accounting techniques. Cost management techniques such as investment assessments and value-based tools are required in addition to the traditional function of cost accounting in monitoring the economic production process and cost assignment for internal activities. The former are generally condemned for their usefulness in the modern world, but the latter are blamed for their apparent pseudo-accuracy, which does not assist management in accomplishing its objectives.
Numerous authors, on the other hand, maintain that traditional cost accounting has not lost any of its value since the data structure or fundamental architecture necessary for current tools and methodologies is already available in the pre-existing conventional body of knowledge. To ensure that the notion of marginal costing remains relevant in today’s business environment, it is necessary to address the following postulates regarding the term’s shifting significance:
Marginal Cost Equation
The marginal cost equation represents the change in total cost resulting from a one-unit change in the quantity of output produced.
The analysis of the marginal cost statement and the contribution mentioned above reveals that:
(i) Sales — Marginal cost = Contribution (I)
(ii) Fixed cost + Profit = Contribution (ii)
By combining the above two equations, we get a fundamental marginal cost equation:
Sales — Marginal Cost = Fixed Cost ± Profit/Loss
The marginal cost equation is important because if the values of any three of the preceding equation’s parts are known, the fourth element may be estimated.
What is the difference between Marginal Costs and Direct Costs?
In order to understand the difference between Marginal Cost and Direct Costs, it is crucial to know how Marginal Cost is calculated. Marginal Cost is based on the cost of goods sold only. It is calculated as the cost of sales less the cost of goods sold. It is the difference between the revenue and the cost of sales. Direct Costs are the cost of the goods that are purchased but have not been consumed yet. That is, if the purchased goods are not used by the business, they will be included as Direct Costs.