Relevant Range Accounting for Managers


However, the total variable costs will range from $70.00, if Pat goes alone, to $350.00, if five people go. Figure 2.26 shows the relationships of the various costs, based on the number of participants. These cost classifications are common in businesses that produce large quantities of an item that is then packaged into smaller, sellable quantities such as soft drinks or cereal. In these types of production environments, it easier to lump the costs of direct labor and overhead into one category, since these costs are what are needed to convert raw materials into a finished product.

  • If the minimum or maximum expense range is exceeded, this can indicate that management is acting without authority or is pursuing unauthorized activities.
  • The graph shows that mixed costs are typically both fixed and linear in nature.
  • Two important assumptions must be considered when estimating costs using the methods described in this chapter.

The variable, fixed, and mixed costs identified for Bikes Unlimited will only be accurate within a certain range of activity. Once the firm goes outside that range, cost estimates are not necessarily accurate and often must be reevaluated and recalculated. A fixed cost is an unavoidable operating expense that does not change in total over the short term, even if a business experiences variation in its level of activity.

What is the Relevant Range?

In the upcoming year, Direct AC will need to hire another manager to keep up with the team’s expansion, which will raise its fixed costs by $75,000. Two important characteristic features of relevant costs are ‘Occurrence in Future’ and ‘Different for Different Alternatives’. This does not mean that all costs which occur in future are not relevant cost. For a cost item to be relevant, both the conditions should be present.

  • The goal is to determine if any of those fixed costs are likely to increase during the new budget period, and if so what allowances must be made for that change.
  • Excessive costs may even be a red flag that possible fraud is occurring.
  • As you’ve learned, direct materials are the raw materials and component parts that are directly economically traceable to a unit of production.
  • The warehouse rent per annum is $200,000 regardless of the number of bikes parked there; hence, it is a fixed cost.
  • Note that the Ocean Breeze mixed cost graph starts at an initial $2,000 for the fixed component and then increases by $5 for each night their rooms are occupied.

However, if volume were to triple, there would likely be more fixed costs as the company will need more space and managers. Accordingly, we state that costs are fixed only in a relevant or reasonable range of activity. The relevant range is the range of activity where the assumption that cost behavior is a straight line (linear) is reasonably valid. Managerial accountants like to assume that the relationship between a cost and an activity run in a straight line. As an example, if you make 10 widgets, and the direct materials in the widget cost $1, then the assumption would be that for each widget above 10, you would need to purchase another $1 worth of direct materials.

Trading range

The costs that do change as the number of participants change are the variable costs. The food and lift ticket expenses are examples of variable costs, since they fluctuate based upon the number of participants and the number of days of activities. Once you incur a fixed cost, it does not change within a given range. For example, Pat can take up to five people in one car, so the cost of the car is fixed for up to five people. The condo rental and the gasoline expenses would also be considered fixed costs, because they are not going to change in the reference range.

Variable Costs

As shown in the following table, cost 1 is a variable cost because as the number of units produced changes, total costs change (in proportion to changes in activity) and per unit cost remains the same. Cost 2 is a fixed cost because as the number of units produced changes, total costs remain the same and per unit costs change. Cost 3 is a mixed cost because as the number of units produced changes, total cost changes (but not in proportion to changes in activity) and per unit cost changes. Relevant costs include differential, avoidable, and opportunity costs.

Definition of Relevant Range

As Figure 2.16 shows, the variable cost per unit (per T-shirt) does not change as the number of T-shirts produced increases or decreases. However, the variable costs change in total as the number of units produced increases or decreases. In short, total variable costs rise and fall as the level of activity (the cost driver) rises and falls. For example, suppose Bikes Unlimited’s production capacity is 8,000 units per month, and management plans to expand capacity in two years by renting a new production facility and hiring additional personnel. This is a long-term decision that will change the cost behavior patterns identified earlier.

Tony operates a screen-printing company, specializing in custom T-shirts. Regardless of whether he produces and sells any T-shirts, he is obligated under his lease to pay $1,000 per month. However, he can consider this fixed cost on a per-unit basis, as shown in Figure 2.15. The relevant range refers to a specific activity level that is bounded by a minimum and maximum amount. Within the designated boundaries, certain revenue or expense levels can be expected to occur.

The goal is to find the activity that causes the variable cost so that accurate cost estimates can be made. The three basic cost behavior patterns are known as variable, fixed, and mixed. If a cost is going to occur regardless of the decision being examined, it is not a relevant cost. They store the finished inventory in handr block, turbotax glitch may impact some stimulus checks from the irs a rented warehouse which is designed to accommodate 25,000 bikes at one time. The warehouse rent per annum is $100,000 regardless of the number of bikes parked there, so it is a fixed cost. Whether particular costs and profits are relevant for decision making depends on decision circumstance and the options available.


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