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Posted: September 6th, 2023

Describe the differences between process costing and job-order costing

Question A

Describe the differences between process costing and job-order costing. Or provide an example of each. Cost-volume-profit (CVP) analysis estimates how changes in costs (both variable and fixed), sales volume, and price affect a company’s profit.

Question B

Suppose a firm with a contribution margin ratio of 0.3 increased its advertising expenses by $10,000 and found that sales increased by $30,000. Was it a good decision to increase advertising expenses? Suppose that the contribution margin ratio is now 0.4. Would it be a good decision to increase advertising expenses?

Answer A:

Process costing and job-order costing are two different costing methods used by companies to allocate and track costs. Here are the main differences between the two:

Nature of Production:

Process Costing: Process costing is used when products are produced in continuous or mass production processes. The production is standardized, and individual units cannot be easily distinguished from one another. Examples include manufacturing industries like chemical processing, oil refining, food processing, etc.
Job-Order Costing: Job-order costing is used when products are manufactured based on specific customer orders or projects. Each order or project is unique and distinct. Examples include construction companies, custom furniture manufacturers, printing companies, etc.
Cost Accumulation:

Process Costing: Costs in process costing are accumulated over a specific production period or department. The costs are averaged and allocated to units of output based on the total production volume.
Job-Order Costing: Costs in job-order costing are accumulated for each specific job or order. The costs are directly traced to individual jobs or orders, enabling precise cost tracking.
Cost Calculation:

Process Costing: Total costs are divided by the total number of units produced to determine the average cost per unit.
Job-Order Costing: Costs are directly assigned to each job or order based on the actual resources consumed and the specific requirements of the job.

Process Costing: Process costing is typically used in industries where continuous production occurs and where it is difficult to identify the cost of individual units. The emphasis is on mass production and cost efficiency.
Job-Order Costing: Job-order costing is commonly used in industries where each job or order is unique and requires customization. The emphasis is on meeting specific customer requirements and tracking costs on a per-job basis.
Process Costing: A soft drink manufacturing company that produces millions of bottles of soda in a continuous production line would use process costing. The costs of raw materials, labor, and overhead are accumulated over a specific production period, and the average cost per bottle is determined.

Job-Order Costing: A custom furniture manufacturer that receives specific orders from customers to design and build unique pieces of furniture would use job-order costing. Each order is treated as a separate job, and the costs of materials, labor, and overhead are directly assigned to each order.

Answer B:

To determine whether the decision to increase advertising expenses was good, we need to calculate the impact on the company’s profitability using the contribution margin ratio.

Contribution Margin Ratio = (Sales – Variable Costs) / Sales

Contribution Margin Ratio = 0.3

Increased advertising expenses by $10,000, resulting in sales increase of $30,000:
New Sales = Previous Sales + Sales Increase
New Sales = Previous Sales + $30,000
To calculate the new contribution margin ratio, we need to determine the new contribution margin:

New Contribution Margin = New Sales – Variable Costs

Assuming the variable costs remain the same, the new contribution margin can be calculated as follows:

New Contribution Margin = (Previous Sales + $30,000) – (0.3 * Previous Sales)

Now, we can calculate the new contribution margin ratio:

New Contribution Margin Ratio = New Contribution Margin / (Previous Sales + $30,000)

If the new contribution margin ratio (after the increase in advertising expenses) is higher than the initial contribution margin ratio (0.3), it would indicate a positive impact on profitability.

Assuming the contribution margin ratio is now 0.4:
Contribution Margin Ratio = 0.4
To determine whether it would be a good decision to increase advertising expenses, we can follow the same steps as above, using the new contribution margin ratio of

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