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What is the Difference Between Product Costs And Period Costs?

If advertising happens in June, you will receive an invoice, and record the expense in June, even if you have terms that allow you to actually pay the expense in July. The cash may actually be spent on an item that will be incurred later, like insurance. It is important to how to find accounting errors understand through the accrual method of accounting, that expenses and income should be recognized when incurred, not necessarily when they are paid or cash received. Direct materials, direct labor, and the cost of factory overhead are a few examples of product costs.

Per-unit cost is calculated by dividing your costs by the number of units produced. It is an important metric, particularly when determining product pricing. Production costs are usually part of the variable costs of business because the amount spent will vary in proportion to the amount produced. Period cost vs Product cost is nothing but the expenses in the company, and any management of a company wants a separate measurement cost because any business cost is a major concern.

This distinction is important, as it paves the way for relating to the financial statements of a product producing company. And, the relationship between these costs can vary considerably based upon the product produced. A manufacturer’s product costs are the direct materials, direct labor, and manufacturing overhead used in making its products.

The product costs also include the factory overhead cost that goes into manufacturing or procuring the products. Often, managers focus on the bottleneck operation, which means that their main focus is on including the direct material cost and time the product spends in the bottleneck operation. However, the managers also modify the overhead costs for short-term production or price determination. Examples of product costs include the cost of raw materials used, depreciation on plant, expired insurance on plant, production supervisor salaries, manufacturing supplies used, and plant maintenance.

Understanding Period Costs

Regardless of the business size, it is essential to understand the different product, operational, and non-operational costs involved in your business to differentiate each one from the other. A soft drink manufacturer might spend very little on producing the product, but a lot on selling. Conversely, a steel mill may have high inventory costs, but low selling expenses. When inventory is purchased, it constitutes an asset on the balance sheet (i.e., “inventory”).

  • Because of the different nature of product and period costs, they receive different accounting treatments.
  • Whether the calculation is for forecasting or reporting affects the appropriate methodology as well.
  • On the other hand, costs of goods sold related to product costs are expensed on the income statement when the inventory is sold.
  • Both of these costs are considered period costs because selling and administrative expenses are used up over the same period in which they originate.
  • Wages for administrative employees are period costs, whereas direct labor tied to production is a product cost.

Period costs are not connected to a particular product or the cost of inventory, similar to product costs. Period costs are, therefore, recorded as an expense in the accounting period in which they occurred. Product costs are frequently considered inventory and are known as “inventoriable costs” since they are used to calculate the inventory’s value. The product costs are included in the costs of goods sold, which are listed in the income statement when products are sold.

If the cost isn’t traceable and allocable to products and services, this cost is a period cost. Period costs are essential to business operations but don’t directly affect the final products. To continue our bakery example, let’s say we’re hiring an external bookkeeper to do the books. Recording product and period costs may also save you some money come tax time, since many of these expenses are fully deductible. Regardless, all period costs, whether fixed or semi-variable, are considered expenses and will be reported on your income statement.

On the other hand, costs of goods sold related to product costs are expensed on the income statement when the inventory is sold. Both product costs and period costs directly affect your balance sheet and income statement, but they are handled in different ways. Product costs are always considered variable costs, as they rise and fall according to production levels. Selling expenses are costs incurred to obtain customer orders and get the finished product in the customers’ possession.


A financial professional will offer guidance based on the information provided and offer a no-obligation call to better understand your situation. The articles and research support materials available on this site are educational and are not intended to be investment or tax advice. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly. Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years.

Mike & Muller company has manufactured 100 units of product in the year 2019. Eighty units have been sold out of the 100 manufactured units, and 20 units are still in the closing inventory at the year-end. Consider working with TranZact’s production management solution to improve cost control and get a competitive advantage. TranZact gives Indian SME Manufacturers the resources, analysis, and business intelligence reports they need to succeed in the market. Therefore, helping in making wise decisions and taking charge of your costs for a more profitable business is very important.

Period cost:

Both product costs and period costs greatly impact the business profitability. While their bifurcation is important to reveal gross and net margins, it also assists in cost analysis and control. Management can identify cost overrun areas by periodically analyzing both product costs and period costs. This can eventually help the entity take corrective action to lower costs and improve profitability.

Why Is Overhead a Period Cost?

Product costs are often treated as inventory and are referred to as “inventoriable costs” because these costs are used to value the inventory. When products are sold, the product costs become part of costs of goods sold as shown in the income statement. All expenses incurred in the factory or manufacturing unit for producing the assets are product or manufacturing costs.

Let’s discuss the accounting treatment of product costs and period costs in greater detail. The type of labor involved will determine whether it is accounted for as a period cost or a product cost. Direct labor that is tied to production can be considered a product cost. However, other labor, such as secretarial or janitorial staff, would instead be period costs. Both product costs and period costs may be either fixed or variable in nature.

Administrative expenses are non-manufacturing costs that include the costs of top administrative functions and various staff departments such as accounting, data processing, and personnel. Executive salaries, clerical salaries, office expenses, office rent, donations, research and development costs, and legal costs are administrative costs. When preparing financial statements, companies need to classify costs as either product costs or period costs.

All costs that are not included in product costs are referred to as period costs; costs throughout a certain manufacturing period that are not directly related to the production process. In this article, we will discuss the differences between product costs vs. period costs and gain insight into their unique roles in business accounting and operations. Accurate measurement of product and period costs helps you report the correct amount of expense in the income statement and assets in the balance sheet.

On the contrary, Period Cost is just opposite to product cost, as they are not related to production, they cannot be apportioned to the product, as it is charged to the period in which they arise. Every business entity has many costs that need to be recognized, recorded, and given a financial statement. As a small business owner, keeping track of all costs might become a difficult task. However, cost management is a comparatively easy task for a large corporation due to the systematic approach and automation in place.

Interest expenses, marketing, and corporate sales costs are also included in this category. These are incurred whether the business manufactures or acquires goods and are considered indirect costs of production. Rather than being listed as inventory, period costs are listed as expenses for each accounting period. Product costs are all the costs that are related to producing a good or service. These items are directly traceable or assignable to the product being manufactured. Product costs only become an expense when they are sold and become period costss.

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