# Standard Costs Definition

Standard cost accounting is a goal or budget costs that is associated with variable costs. They are also used to measure the cost that management believes that it will incur over a period.

## Standard Costing Explained

In short, standard costing takes the direct labor, direct materials, and manufacturing overhead, and estimates the cost over a quarter, year, or whatever the period may be. This is similar to budget costing, but is different in that budget costs account for a total cost while a standard cost estimate is on a per unit basis. Therefore, if a standard cost estimate turns out to be correct, then the total cost would turn out to be equal to the budget cost. But, this sort of thing never happens.

### Standard Cost Formula

The standard cost method can be broken down using the following formula:

Standard Costs = Direct Labor * Direct Materials * Manufacturing Overhead

Where:
Direct Labor = Hours Worked * Hourly Rate

Direct Materials = amount of materials * market price

Manufacturing Overhead = Fixed Salary + (Machine hours * Machine rate)

Note: All but the fixed salary component of overhead must be predicted given the market conditions on demand and cost of the materials. It should also be noted that this is the same formula for the manufacturing costs, but the difference lies in the fact that Standard costs accounting is done on a predictive basis.

### Standard Cost Example

For example, Jenny is an accountant. Her boss, Craig the CFO, gave her a task to calculate the standard cost of the company for the upcoming year 2010. She was given the following past information for Wawadoo Co. to try and calculate the standard cost for Wawadoo’s product (widget).

Direct Labor-2009
AVg. Labor Hours= 1,960 hours per employee
Avg. Hourly Wage – \$10
Number of employees = 47
Total Costs= \$92,120

Direct Materials-2009
Material Units=20,000
Avg. Market Price= \$20
Total Cost= \$400,000

Fixed Salary per Manager= \$80,000
Number of Managers= 5
Number of Machine hours= 1,000
Hourly Machine rate= \$2
Total Cost=\$410,000

Jenny’s Boss, Craig, believes that the overall demand for widgets will increase by 5% and the price and number of units needed will increase by the same amount. He also believes that there will be a need for 8 new employees as well as a new manager.

Jenny finds the following:

Direct Labor= 1,960 hrs.* \$10/hr* 55 employees= \$1,078,000
Direct Material = \$21 mkt price* 21,000 units= \$441,000
Overhead= (\$80,000* 6) + (1,000 hrs.* \$2/hr* 6) = \$492,000

Total Standard Cost= \$2,011,000 cost for the year See Dates