# 6 1 Calculate Predetermined Overhead and Total Cost under the Traditional Allocation Method Principles of Accounting, Volume 2: Managerial Accounting

Finally, a proper analysis of your overhead and profits allows you to keep your bank balance in the green. You’ll be able to spot where you’re spending too much money and prevent yourself from under-quoting jobs. If you’ve been in the business a while, you’ll probably have heard of the rule; it’s an industry https://www.digitalconnectmag.com/a-deep-dive-into-law-firm-bookkeeping/ standard for calculating overhead and profit (O & P). The rent is \$600 per month, cable is \$150 per month, and groceries are \$450 per month. You decide to take the \$1,200 cost and divide it evenly by the four of you. After a few months, you and your friends become annoyed with this scenario.

If you used direct labor hours to calculate the rate, use actual direct labor hours. For the last three years, your team found that the total overhead rate has been between 1.7 and 1.8 times higher than the direct materials rate. As such, you and your peers have agreed to set the predetermined overhead rate at 175% of the direct materials rate. The formula for the predetermined overhead rate is purely based on estimates.

The period selected tends to be one year, and you can use direct labor costs, hours, machine hours or prime cost as the allocation base. Overhead for a particular division, product, or process is commonly linked to a specific allocation base. Allocation bases are known amounts that are measured when completing a process, such as labor hours, materials used, machine hours, or energy use.

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Companies typically base their predetermined overhead rates on the estimated, or budgeted, amount of allocation base for the upcoming period. This is the method that is used in this chapter, but it is practice that is recently come under severe criticism. There are concerns that the rate may not be accurate, as it is based on estimates rather than actual data. In addition, changes in prices and industry trends can make historical data an unreliable predictor of future overhead costs. Finally, using a predetermined overhead rate can result in inaccurate decision-making if the rate is significantly different from the actual overhead cost. The overhead cost per unit from Figure 6.4 is combined with the direct material and direct labor costs as shown in Figure 6.3 to compute the total cost per unit as shown in Figure 6.5.

• Company B wants a predetermined rate for a new product that it will be launching soon.
• Where actual costs are used to calculate selling prices, difficulties arise because the product cost fluctuates from period to period and there is a considerable delay in product cost determination.
• The lower the percentage, the more effective your business is in utilizing its resources.
• The overhead absorption rate is calculated to include the overhead in the cost of production of goods and services.
• This is the method that is used in this chapter, but it is practice that is recently come under severe criticism.
• Thirdly, predetermined rates contribute effectively to standard costing and budgetary control programmes as these programmes use estimated costs and standard cost to measure production activities.
• The actual total manufacturing overhead incurred for the year was \$247,800 and actual direct labor hours worked during the year were 42,000.

The downside is that it increases the amount of accounting labor and is therefore more expensive. This is related to an activity rate which is a similar calculation used in Activity-based costing. A pre-determined overhead rate is normally the term when using a single, plant-wide base to calculate and apply overhead.

## Estimated Total Manufacturing Overhead Costs

But the variation in total cost and unit cost just reflect the time of year the units were manufactured, a factor outside the control of management. Cost accountants aim to average out these variations through the use of a predetermined overhead rate calculated on an annual basis. All the seasonal overhead costs are merged together and spread over (charged to) the production for the entire year. Suppose GX company uses direct labor hours to assign manufacturing overhead cost to job orders.