Cost Accounting

What are non-manufacturing costs or period costs?

Period Costs

Period costs (nonmanufacturing costs) are expenses incurred to maintain business operations but are not required or vital to the manufacturing process.

They are matched to a specific time period’s revenues rather than being included in the cost of goods sold.

Elements of Non-Manufacturing Costs

There are two components to nonmanufacturing expenditures: marketing charges and administrative costs. Costs associated with acquiring consumer orders and delivering finished products to customers. These include advertising, sales commissions, shipping charges, and facility occupancy fees for marketing departments. Administrative costs include executive and clerical salaries, the cost of legal, financial, data processing, and accounting services, and building space for administrative workers.

For accounting purposes, nonmanufacturing costs are expensed periodically (typically in the period they are incurred). However, for management objectives, managers frequently require the assignment of nonmanufacturing costs to goods. This is especially true for specific product-related commissions and promotions.

For instance, managers of consumer goods companies such as Procter & Gamble and Anheuser-Busch prefer to allocate the high expense of advertising to a certain product. This distinction between manufacturing and non-manufacturing costs is artificial for most of our purposes, as we are more concerned with the costs that products and services impose on the organisation than with the accounting treatment of these costs.

Sometimes it is difficult to discern between manufacturing and non-manufacturing costs. For instance, are the salaries of accountants who manage factory payrolls considered manufacturing or non-manufacturing expenses? What about the office rent for the vice president of manufacturing? There are no clear classifications for some of these charges. Therefore, businesses typically establish and adhere to their own criteria.

Some Examples of Non-manufacturing Costs

Selling Expenses: Salaries paid to salespeople are a marketing cost, not a product cost; marketing expenditures are classified as period costs, which means they are directly charged to the period’s expense account.

While depreciation on manufacturing equipment is considered a manufacturing cost, depreciation on the warehouse in which products are held after they are made is considered a period cost.

While carrying raw materials and partially completed products is a manufacturing cost, delivering finished products from the warehouse to clients is a period expense.

General and administrative expenses: Examples include accounting, human resources, legal, executive, and information technology personnel and support personnel. General and administrative costs would also include the depreciation of office equipment and buildings associated with these functions. General and administrative expenses are commonly referred to as administrative expenses.

Conclusion

It is not always easy to distinguish between manufacturing and non-manufacturing costs. For instance, if the legal department works on a production-related issue and the human resources department hires assembly line workers, are the associated costs manufacturing or non-manufacturing expenditures? It is up to each business to select how to account for such costs when determining product pricing. Managerial accounting has the benefit over financial accounting in that costs can be arranged in any way that facilitates managerial decision-making.

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