Chapter 2 The Cost Function

Chapter 2 addresses the following questions: Q1 What are different ways to describe cost behavior? Q2 What is a learning curve? Q3 What process is used to estimate future costs? Q4 How are the engineered estimate, account analysis, and two-point methods used to estimate cost functions? Q5 How does a scatter plot assist with categorizing a cost? Q6 How is regression analysis used to estimate a mixed cost function? Q7 What are the uses and limitations of future cost estimates? These learning questions (Q1 through Q7) are cross-referenced in the textbook to individual exercises and problems.

The textbook uses a coding system to identify the complexity of individual requirements in the exercises and problems. Questions Having a Single Correct Answer: No Symbol This question requires students to recall or apply knowledge as shown in the textbook. This question requires students to extend knowledge beyond the applications e shown in the textbook. Open-ended questions are coded according to the skills described in Steps for Better Thinking (Exhibit 1.10):  Step 1 skills (Identifying)  Step 2 skills (Exploring)  Step 3 skills (Prioritizing)  Step 4 skills (Envisioning)


Cost Management

2.1 This function has both fixed costs and variable costs. If at least part of the cost is variable; total cost increases as production volumes increase. If at least part of the cost is fixed, the average total per-unit cost decreases because the average fixed cost decreases as volume increases.
Total Cost

Q 2.2 Several years’ worth of data for August would be helpful for estimating the overhead cost function for subsequent Augusts, but the August data should not be used for estimating the overhead cost function for other months during the year. It is highly unlikely that the August data would be representative of the data during normal operations. However, August’s costs are probably a good estimate of the fixed costs for other months. When zero production occurs, only fixed costs are incurred. Since time appears to be of the essence, one of several cost estimation techniques might be employed. First, account analysis will provide a rough estimate. Second, the two most recent income statements could be used to approximate fixed and variable costs using the two-point method, but the president would need to understand that the quality of information could be low using this method. Third, if enough observations of cost data are readily available, regression analysis can be run. However, usually it takes more time to collect the data necessary to use regression analysis. The information leads to a conclusion that fixed costs exist because cost per unit changes between two levels of activity within the relevant range. The information is not sufficient to determine the amount of fixed costs or whether variable costs exist. The opportunities foregone could include spectator or participative sports activities, movies, going out to dinner, the opportunity to work at a part-time job, etc. The relevant cash flows include the cost of transportation, parking, tickets, food and beverages, and so on. There is no way to assign a quantitative value to the social experiences. It is difficult to identify a true opportunity cost because the costs and benefits of the next best alternative must be compared. However, lost wages, less the cost of transportation, can be quantified if the next if the next best alternative is working. Analysis of a scatter plot provided general information about whether a cost appears to be variable, fixed, or mixed. If there is a linear pattern in the scatter plot and the trend appears to go to zero, the cost could be variable. If a scatter plot with a linear trend intersects the vertical axis at a nonzero value, it could be mixed. If the scatter plot has no discernable pattern, the cost could be fixed. And if the pattern is linear with little or no slope, the cost could be fixed.





Chapter 2: The Cost Function



The pattern of a cost over time in the accounting system, together with knowledge of operations, is used to classify costs as variable, fixed, or mixed. Costs such as managers' salaries are usually fixed; they are often directly associated in the general ledger with a particular department or product. Costs for variable materials used in the production process are usually available in the general ledger or in production records. Costs such as manufacturing overhead are often mixed; they tend to include fixed costs such as insurance and property taxes for the plant and variable costs such as indirect supplies used in manufacturing. For costs identified as mixed, another cost estimation technique such as the two-point method or regression analysis must be used to determine the fixed and variable components. Learning curves are nonlinear representations of direct labor cost. The cumulative average time approach can be used to determine an approximation of total cost when labor experiences a learning rate. Economies of scale are a nonlinear function. Information about past experience with economies of scale can be used to help estimate future costs. For example, volume discounts are examples of economies of scale. The required volumes needed to reach discounted prices are generally known, so these can be estimated using several different ranges to reflect the changes in price. The cumulative average learning-time approach is a quantitative approach to calculating the average amount of time it should take to perform a task for people who are just learning to do the task. The director can use this formula to more accurately predict the amount of time it should take to deliver meals to the elderly. With a more accurate prediction, the volunteers’ schedules should also more accurately reflect the amount of time they need to set aside for their work at Meals on Wheels. The trend line developed using regression analysis incorporates all of the cost observations, while the two-point method uses only two observations. Because there is fluctuation in cost over time, better estimates are developed using more observations, because they better reflect the past fluctuations and therefore should better estimate future fluctuations.





Cost Management

2.11 Computer Manufacturer A. Production of a large monitor with a thin flat screen B. If all of the parts for the monitor are currently used in the organization, all of the information is likely to be contained in the accounting records. But new parts are most likely needed, since the monitor is large and probably involves different technology to achieve thin size. Thus, estimates of costs from suppliers will be needed. In addition, estimates for the amount of labor time will be needed. Although labor cost per hour can be found in the records, the amount of labor time is likely to be different for this monitor than for other monitors. If machines are used in production, an estimation of machine hours is necessary to determine whether maintenance and repair costs will increase. C. Estimating the cost of parts and the time involved in production is part of the engineered estimate of cost method. D. The opportunity cost of using idle capacity for one product is the contribution of other uses of the capacity. If another product could be manufactured and sold, that product’s contribution margin is the opportunity cost. If the capacity can be rented or leased out, the rent or lease payments are the opportunity cost. If there are no other uses for the capacity, the opportunity cost is zero. 2.12 Frida’s Tax Practice Cost Object Cost Subscription to personal tax law updates publication Ink supplies for tax department photocopy machine Portion of total rent for tax department office space Wages for tax department administrative assistant Tax partner's salary Charges for long distance call to Mr. Gruper about personal tax return questions Tax partner lunch with Mr. Gruper; the tax partner has lunch with each client at least once per year
Tax Department Personal Returns Mr. Gruper’s Personal Tax Return

A. B. C. D. E. F. G.




000 + $8.000 Total Cost $12. Stepwise Linear. the CPA's time is the product being sold.000 0 100 200 Number of Units 300 400 The cost function includes the following assumptions: • Operations are within a relevant range of activity • Within the relevant range of activity: o Fixed costs will remain fixed o Variable cost per unit will remain constant . the administrative assistant would have to maintain detailed time records as to time spent working on personal returns versus corporate returns. The benefits of tracking the cost at that level do not exceed the benefits of the information that would be obtained. In a service business such as this. TC = $10.000 $8. 2.000 $11. For the firm to make this cost direct for the personal returns cost object.000 $9.00*Q Graph of Cost Function $14.000 $13.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-5 Explanation for Parts D and E: Notice that the wages of the tax department administrative assistant are considered a direct cost when the cost object is the entire tax department but are considered indirect for the other two cost objects. The time records that the tax partner maintains support this cost as a direct cost.000 $10. Now notice that the tax partner's salary is considered a direct cost for all three cost objects. and Piecewise Linear Cost Functions A. the tax partner probably spends some time in non-billable activities. CPAs do keep detailed time records. Of course. so a portion of his or her salary is direct only to the tax department and indirect to the two other cost objects.13 Linear.

000 TC = $35.000/2.000 $0 0 1.000 Graph of Cost Function $80.000 + $8.000 F = $450.000) = $78.000 3.000 = $39 per unit Use one data point in the total cost function and solve for F: Using the data for 10.000 $10.000 + $39*Q .$390.000 units = 10.000 4.000 Number of Units C.000 = $60.000 Total cost at 12. for Q > 2. it is first necessary to estimate the cost function.000 * $45 = $450.00*Q.000 $30.000 .000 * $44 = $528.000 $20.000 $70.000 units: $450.000 .2-6 Cost Management B.000 = F + $39*10.000 2.00*Q.000 Combining the fixed and variable costs to create the cost function: TC = $60.000 + $8. for Q ≤ 2.$450.000 $40. Convert the average costs to total costs for each production level: Total cost at 10. To estimate the costs at another production level. TC = $25.000 $60.000 Calculate the variable cost per unit using the Two-Point method: Change in cost Change in volume = ($528.000 Total Cost $50.000 units = 12.000 – 10.000)/(12.

000 + $585.000 = $9.000 + $10.000 1. TC = $50.000 + $9. Inserting $10.000 TC = $51. total cost is estimated as: TC = $5.000 $45.00*Q 2-7 Graph of Cost Function $75.000 + (1.000 0 500 1.000 $65.00*Q.000 $55.000 in revenues into the cost function.000 = $60.000 + $10.000: TC = $50.000 Number of Units Slope is $10 per unit Slope is $9 per unit Total Cost .000) TC = $50.000 $60.000 units: TC = $60.000 = $43 D.00*(Q-1.000 For Q > 1. for Q < 1.00*Q .000 $50.000 + 45%*$10.Chapter 2: The Cost Function Estimated total cost at 15.$9.000 + $39*15.000 + $9.14 Piecewise Linear Cost Function A.000 * $10.000 = $645.500 2.000 Estimated cost per unit = $645.00) + $9.000/15.500 2.000 $70.

000 units. Hours for two returns would be determined as follows. 2. If all of the data estimation points occurred when Q was ≤ 1. There are three general situations: 1.2-8 Cost Management B. using the learning curve equation Y = α Xr Learning rate = 80% α = 6 hours X (units produced) = 2 Learning rate = (ln 0. the cost function mismeasurement depends on the values of Q.80/ln2) = −0. This cost function will either overestimate or underestimate costs for almost any level of Q (see Exhibit 2A.000 + $9.15 Tax Plus A.00*Q.3219 Y = 6 hours*2-0. then the cost function would be some mixture of the functions for the two relevant ranges. This cost function would provide reasonable estimates for Q > 1. then the cost function would appear to be: TC = $50. This cost function would provide reasonable estimates for Q ≤ 1.000 units but would underestimate total cost for Q ≤ 1.000 units.4. If all of the data estimation points occurred when Q was > 1.000 units. then the cost function would appear to be: TC = $51.3 and 2A.8 hours (average time for each of the next two returns) B.000 units but would overestimate total cost for Q > 1. Graph of Learning Curve Cumulative Average Hours Per Return 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 2 3 4 Cumulative Number of Returns Prepared .000 + $10. If the data estimation points occurred across the two relevant ranges.00*Q.000 units. If the accountant did not detect that there were two different relevant ranges.3219 Y = 4. 2. 3.

Note: Depreciation using a method such as declining balance is not constant over time. the cost function is: TC = $20.000 on total sales of $32. and their productivity rate will remain stable. Chapter 3 will point out another assumption for this cost function: the sales mix (the proportion of sales of different products) remains constant within the relevant range. D or I. then variable cost per dollar of revenue is calculated as follows: $8. Total clay cost will vary with the number of bowls made. it is a common cost of production for all of the bowls that are heat-treated in the kiln. 2. D.16 Bison Sandwiches A. it is a direct cost.000 + 25%*Total sales B. or 25% of sales Combining fixed and variable costs. that is. In addition.25. if the employee performs different types of tasks and records are not kept of the types of work performed) or if the employee does not work directly in production.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-9 As the accounting graduates become more familiar with the tasks involved in preparing simple tax returns. it improves less quickly for the next return. B. as their performance improves. I. Eventually their learning will plateau.000. but would still be considered fixed because it does not vary with production volume. V C. if time is not traced to individual bowls (for example. wages are a direct cost.17 Glazed Over [Note about problem complexity: Items F and H are coded as “Extend” because judgment is needed for categorization. Assumptions: Fixed costs remain fixed within the relevant range. However. Assuming that the cost of clay can be traced to each bowl. 2. F . Wages are fixed because they remain constant (the employee always works 40 hours).000/$32. Depreciation on the kilns is indirect because it cannot be directly traced to individual bowls.000 = 0. this particular cost function assumes that variable costs are driven by sales.] A. F Assuming that employee time can be traced to each bowl. making it a fixed cost. and variable costs remain constant within the relevant range. then wages would be an indirect cost. If total variable costs were $8. their productivity increases. The cost probably does not depend on production volume (assuming depreciation is not based on units produced). However.

I. it might not be traced to individual bowls. I. G. If the cost of glaze is very small. J. depending on whether they are “used up” after a certain quantity of production. making it a direct and variable cost. Packing costs are most likely variable because they will increase as production increases. F.2-10 Cost Management D. it is most likely traced to individual bowls. F or M Electricity is an indirect cost because it cannot be traced to individual bowls. V Assuming that the cost of packing materials is traced to each bowl. If it is an hourly charge.500 ______ $4. H.500 . V or F Brushes for the glaze are most likely used for multiple bowls.18 Yummy Yogurt [Note about problem complexity: Item A is coded as “Extend” because judgment is needed for categorization. F or M Pottery studio maintenance is an indirect and fixed cost if it is the same payment every week. making it a fixed cost. It might be fixed or mixed.000 in sales $1. if the cost is small it might be grouped with overhead costs (variable). F I. It is mostly likely a flat fee or is calculated on a basis unrelated to production volume. D or I. V If the glaze is expensive and therefore a relatively large cost. then this cost could be indirect. I. If the packing materials are not traced (for example. 2. part of the cost might vary proportionately with volume.000 2. making them a common cost for multiple units and an indirect cost. I. Advertising is not directly related to production. so it is treated as fixed. They might be fixed or variable. If the kiln is electric. E. depending on what causes the cost to vary. it is probably a mixed cost. making it an indirect cost.300 $3. making it an indirect cost. I. D or I. because the production area may need more cleaning as volumes increase. making it an indirect cost. Also. F The business license is not related to production.300 Variable $4. This cost is also discretionary. if the cost is too small to justify tracing them). Fixed Cost of ingredients Rent Store attendant (salaried) Total Costs at $9.] A. this is a direct cost.

D. and the cost would vary with number of pizzas produced. In the pizza shop. as well as voluntary items such as health insurance and retirement benefits.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-11 B. Therefore. F or M Employee benefits occur in any business in which employees are hired. D. In the fishing boat business. workers’ compensation. they are more likely related to time on the boat than pounds of fish. costs vary with dollars of revenue. Benefits might include mandated items such as social security.50. and G are coded as “Extend” because they require substantial business knowledge and/or ability to visualize cost behavior. this cost would most likely be fixed because the cost would not vary within a relevant range of activity. B. E. C. There most likely would not be any ingredients in a fishing boat business. so they would tend to be fixed or mixed (see Item A above). B.] A. . these costs would be mixed with a large proportion of the cost fixed. F.500/$9.300 + 50%*Total revenue C. or 50% of revenue Combining fixed and variable costs. FB. 2. F There would be no reason to incur fishing equipment costs in a pizza business. Benefit costs often vary with level of wages or salaries. and unemployment insurance. In this type of situation. PS. B.19 Pizza Shop and Fishing Boat [Note about problem complexity: Items C.000 = 0. Hourly wages on the fishing boat most likely vary with the number of days or hours the boat is out fishing. because of uncertainty in the success of each fishing expedition. F. Some may be sent home if business is very slow. The cost of rent is irrelevant because it will not change with either alternative. the cost function is: TC = $3. or M There would most likely be hourly wages in both types of businesses (assuming employees are hired). employees are likely scheduled in advance on a fixed schedule. V Ingredients are used in making pizzas. total revenue (TR) instead of quantity (Q) can be used in the cost function: Total variable cost/Total revenue = $4. The opportunity cost is the contribution margin from the products sold with the flavor that has been replaced. In many organizations. V. While hourly wages may be related to number of fish caught.

Lettuce ($. F Most pizza shops incur advertising costs such as flyers. newspaper advertisements. Mustard ($.000) * 4] 0.0233 7.0148 0. Tomato ($.1619) = $0. F or M Any type of business will have insurance costs.$0. If the fishing boat is for tourists. 2.5196 Suggested selling price: 300% * $0. G. Because advertising costs tend to be discretionary.15/45) 0. but it might be mixed if a portion of the cost relates to levels of business activity. depending on how the insurance cost is calculated.2-12 Cost Management E.0233 0.0179 4.2414 $0.59/40) 0.1075 0.6815 . B. In general. Dill pickles [($8. Cost of plain burger = $0. they are treated as fixed costs.0198 9.20 Hamburger Haven Following are calculations for the cost per unit of each ingredient and the cost of plan and cheeseburgers: Cheeseburger Cost per Unit Plain With Everything 1.0033 0. advertising costs would be incurred.0053 8. Hamburger bun ($1.0863 0. Cost of burger with everything except cheese = ($0.1619 0.5195 = $1.0033 $0.6815 A.69/8) 0.3489 $0.1075 3.99/50) 0. however it would be unusual for a commercial fishing boat business to incur advertising costs because the customers are most likely canneries and distributors with whom the fishermen have an ongoing relationship. Onions ($. For the fishing boat business. Cheese ($2.56 . The cost might be fixed or mixed. F. the utility costs for these two businesses would tend to be fixed (would not vary with production).1619 10.1075 0. there might be some utility costs for the fishing operation and for a business office.0198 0.0863 5.0148 6.0053 0. and yellow pages advertisements. although the cost would probably be much higher for the pizza business because of the utilities needed to run the pizza shop.59/16) 0. B. PS. Hamburger patty ($1.95/2. It will be a fixed cost if it is a flat amount. Mayonnaise [$1.0179 0.2414 2.79/150) 0.29/12) 0.49/(16 x 4)] 0.69/7) $0. F Some type of utility costs (such as water and electricity) would be incurred in both types of business.3489 (calculated above) B.2414 $0. Catsup ($.

Property taxes. Market forces will dictate achievable prices. This means that her costs need to be below the competitive price.04 . they set prices considering their competitors’ prices. Therefore. Long’s prices are too high. she needs to know what competitors charge for a similar quality sandwich and price hers competitively. The Step 2 questions (A. D.] A. B.Mixed.Fixed . and F) are the ones requiring significant assumptions to generate an answer.Fixed E. 2. However staff are often salaried. Professional subscriptions. Selling price of cheeseburger with everything: 300% * $0. It is just a general guideline. if her prices are too low. in which case the total cost would be primarily fixed.Fixed F. there is no moral obligation to maintain a 300% markup on each item. Long is able to differentiate her hamburgers from others in the market. Alternatively. Clerical wages – Fixed unless overtime is regularly scheduled. Office supplies .Fixed D. Professional dues. the price of the plain hamburger should be: $2. FICA taxes (Social Security taxes) – Mixed – mostly fixed because most employee wages would be fixed J. if Ms. volumes will drop because customers will go to other fast food restaurants that sell hamburgers.04 Therefore. Alternatively.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-13 C. mostly variable G.25 = $1. If there is part time help. Licenses. In the current business environment. then she may be able to charge a price that is higher than competitors—as long as customers are willing to pay the higher price.21 Spencer and Church [Note about problem complexity: These are difficult questions because students will need to first visualize the costs (with very little information) and then apply chapter concepts. that cost would be variable.6815 = $2.79 Some students will view this higher price as "unfair. If Ms." However. Staff wages – Could be variable or mixed (salary + overtime) for regular staff.$0.Fixed and discretionary I. and then mixed C. Rent . that is. Insurance.Mostly fixed and discretionary H. most organizations are price takers. B. she foregoes profits and people may believe there could be quality problems with her food.

the fixed cost is set at zero. the cost is discretionary and will be set through the negotiating process. 2.35*units sold. TC = $222. the analyst could ask the CFO whether the marketing department budgets its costs through a negotiation process with top management. If this is the case.22 Cost Function Using C. it is possible that marketing costs are discretionary. .] The data for this problem can be found on the datasets file for chapter 2. The cost analyst needs to gather information about how marketing costs are set each year. (Notice that the T-statistics on the fixed costs indicate that it is not likely to be different from zero. Therefore.wiley. Other Potential Cost Drivers A.) B. number of advertisements placed.2-14 Cost Management K.23 Central Industries [Note about problem complexity: Item B is not coded as Step 1 because it is fairly clear which cost driver appears to be best.wiley. In addition. For example. A spreadsheet showing the solutions for this problem is available on the Instructor’s web site for the textbook (available at www. Other possible cost drivers for marketing department costs could be the variation in units sold explains about 61% of the variation in marketing department cost. The adjusted R-Square indicates how much of the variation in the marketing department cost can be explained by variation in units sold. or profits. In this problem. Advertising – Fixed and discretionary 2. available on both the Instructor and Student web sites for the textbook (available at www.

113687834 Intercept Output t Stat 5.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-15 A.000 $500 $0 0 500 1000 Output 1500 2000 Regression Statistics Multiple R R Square Adjusted R Square Standard Error Observations 0.500 Maintenance Costs $2.026826 0.119724 15 Coefficient s 884.4342166 0.58E-05 0.500 $1. Potential Cost Driver: Output Maintenance Costs Against Output $2.000514 .52099624 Standard Error 153.582691 P-value 6.61765897 0.78591283 0.58824812 182.000 $1.761602 4.

000 $500 $0 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 Direct Labor Hours Regression Statistics Multiple R R Square Adjusted R Square Standard Error Observations 0.31319046 235.60187065 0.717372 P-value 0.500 $1.005847 0.000 $1.7549386 1.2-16 Cost Management Potential Cost Driver: Direct Labor Hours Maintenance Costs Against Direct Labor Hours $2.210849 15 Coefficient s 861.02569657 Standard Error 261.500 Maintenance Costs $2.291084 2.457384 3.113464425 Intercept Direct Labor Hours t Stat 3.36224828 0.017601 .

5913391 15 Standard Error 93. Sometimes a cost that is mostly variable can be identified from a scatter plot.94888217 0.5343 P-value 0.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-17 Potential Cost Driver: Machine Setups Maintenance Costs Against Machine Set-Ups $2.500 Maintenance Costs $2. In Part A.94495003 66. or the cost is mostly fixed. .96E-10 B.6778973 0. In a scatter plot. For example. However. the trend line for machine setups looks as if the intercept could be zero or very close to zero. the cost driver does not explain the variation in cost and either it is the wrong driver.97410583 0.000 $1. all three potential cost drivers appear to be positively related to maintenance costs. This indicates that the cost could be totally variable.42597461 1.000 $500 $0 0 20 40 Machine Set-Ups 60 80 Regression Statistics Multiple R R Square Adjusted R Square Standard Error Observations Coefficient s 126. a good cost driver would present a linear or football-shaped positive slope or trend.910475729 Intercept Machine Setups t Stat 1.815737 29.197755 8.500 $1. machine setups appears to be the most likely cost driver and direct labor appears to be the least likely cost driver. If the observations are widely scattered.357393 15.

025*Direct Labor Hours TC = $29. R-Square 0. but does not provide confidence that the intercept (fixed cost) part of the cost function is different from zero. and technology can cause future costs to be different than estimated. so it is excluded from the cost function. Therefore. This means that variation in setups explains about 95% of the variation in cost. This provides confidence that the variable cost part of the cost function is not zero. Changes in many factors such as resource prices. business processes. In the machine setups regression.68* Machine Setups The machine setups intercept coefficient is not significant. the economic environment. .945 Cost Function TC = $884 + $0.313 0. the t-statistic is significant for the independent variable but not for the intercept. D.2-18 Cost Management C.521*Output TC = $861 +$3. the cost is likely to be totally variable.588 0. The use of past cost data to predict the future assumes that future resource costs and volumes of activities will remain the same as in the past. The regression using machine setups has the highest adjusted R-Square of 0. E.945. The regression results and cost function for the three potential cost drivers are: Potential Cost Driver Output Direct labor hours Machine setups Adj.

this cost function might provide poor estimates of future costs. the total cost function is: TC = $11. Total revenue (TR) instead of quantity (Q) in the cost function because sales is a potential cost driver.000 = 0.333 – $43. .$56.728 Thus.100) = $25.132.000/$500.333 . First. the cost function is calculated using the highest and lowest values of the cost driver.24 Big Jack Burgers A.100 – $632.728 + 5%*Sales B. Under the high-low method. That means that the cost function might not represent the actual cost. or 5% of sales The fixed cost is determined by substituting the variable cost into one of the high-low data points: $68.132. that is.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-19 PROBLEMS 2.605 = $11.333)/($1. The high low method uses the most extreme cost driver values. on average. which could be outliers.05.100 F = $68. the variable cost is calculated: ($68. not represent the cost most of the time.333 = F + 5%*$1. Therefore.

The upward slope of the line indicates that there are variable costs.5% x sales . Then. Analysis at the account level can be used to increase the understanding of this cost.000 $600. Following is the regression output. the cost function would be TC = $16. analysis at the account level might indicate that there are few fixed costs. fixed costs are likely to be zero and would be excluded from the cost function. There is a general downward slope (variable cost) that appears to meet the intercept enough above zero to suggest a fixed cost.000 $900. there is a 16% probability that the intercept (fixed cost) is not different from zero.200.162. the p-value result for the tstatistic is atypical. Based on the p-value. the regression intercept can be used as an estimate of the fixed costs.000 Administrative Costs $60. D.000 $1. the cost function would be: TC = 4. Notice that the t-statistic for the intercept coefficient is 2. but the p-value is greater than 10% at 0. A t-statistic greater than 2 is often interpreted as meaning that the coefficient is significantly different from zero. If this cost pool includes items such as salaries and other fixed costs (insurance. In that case.800 + 4. etc).172. Alternatively.000 $0 $0 $300. trend line extended to Y-axis (dashed line) using Word: Scatter Plot With Trend Line $80.000 $40.2-20 Cost Management C. Chart of data with trend line added by Excel. Then.000 $20.5% x sales. Because this regression has few observations.000 Sales It appears that the cost is most likely mixed. Additional judgment is required to decide whether it is appropriate to include a fixed cost in the cost function.

then both methods may be unsuitable for estimating future costs. and possible changes in costs such as those described in Part E are ignored. especially because so few observations were used in the estimation.17205158 5. both of these methods assume that the data points are representative of future costs. Because of unforeseen changes in cost behavior.45937486 P-value 0. However.00818212 t Stat 2. Using the regression results. B.365 + 0. the results rely on more complete information and provide a better estimate. The cons of the high-low method as an estimation technique were discussed in Part B above. If there are only two or three data points. Sales might not be the activity that drives administrative costs.16197623 0. This method can be used in cases where there is not enough data to perform regression. .82%*Sales C. If there are more data points.186. Therefore. regression analysis incorporates all of the observations into the analysis. There might be a large discretionary component in administrative costs. the high-low method may be the best option available.4038 4 Coefficients Standard Error 16800. a cost function may not provide a good estimate for the next month’s costs. Both methods assume that the cost function is linear and that all data points come from a single relevant range. In addition. there does appear to be a general upward trend.2444 7734.25 Scatter Plot.0319523 Intercept X Variable 1 E. There might be a change in business operations or in the economy that would cause future costs to be different than in the past. If these assumptions do not hold.04466925 0. Cost Function Using Regression A. however. This means that variation in sales explains only about 18% of the variation in research and development cost. and it can be further improved by adopting more representative data points than the highest and lowest values of the cost driver. F.90567454 3293. on average. Unusual cost items are assumed to continue in the future. Sales does not appear to explain much of the variation in research and development costs.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-21 Regression Statistics Multiple R R Square Adjusted R Square Standard Error Observations 0. The past costs used for estimation might not be representative.9680477 0.93711636 0. Future costs are not likely to be estimated accurately if the cost driver explains only a small part of the variation in the cost. causing fluctuations in cost that are unrelated to any cost driver. The plot shows costs that are widely scattered. 2.73545 0. the cost function is: TC = $50. The adjusted R-Square statistic is very low at 0.

so she does not need to estimate the cost function using regression or any other estimation technique. Better cost estimates for discretionary costs can be obtained by gathering information about planned expenditures from the department head or from the managers who are responsible for costs. These costs are set by decision. When regression analysis is used to specify a cost function. the relation makes sense from an economic standpoint. the amount of traveling she will be doing since she cannot call from home when she is traveling. the cost is assumed to be linear within the relevant range. E. G. as she has in the past. Since she has to have telephone service to stay in business. B. The scatter plot shows little evidence of linearity. In addition. She cannot be certain that she will use the same amount of time. Therefore. the number of calls and whether they are long distance or local calls will vary. that is. The variable cost is 10 cents per minute for those minutes over 500 per month. to make a decision she needs to compare her costs under the old plan to what costs would be under the new plan. Managers set the costs depending on the organization’s strategies and funds available for research and development. fixed costs would remain fixed and variable costs would remain constant within that range.2-22 Cost Management D. H. First. Since she probably can cut back on calls when her consulting work is not providing enough income. usually annually. Additional information could include the location of Susan’s future consulting work. Several very general assumptions apply to a linear cost function. the underlying cost function is assumed to be linear and that the cost driver is assumed to be economically plausible as a cost driver. In this problem. research and development cost is often discretionary. It is likely that Susan has to call people to conduct business. 2. F. The fixed cost is the $20 flat fee. The classification as direct or indirect depends on whether Susan’s calls are directly related to specific projects she works on or are indirect activities such as business promotion. Susan already knows the cost function. a portion of the cost is likely to be discretionary. part of the cost is committed and cannot be reduced. on average. Regression is useful for estimating a cost function when fixed and variable costs are unknown. The cost driver for long distance calls is the number of minutes on the telephone. Yes. Since her consulting work varies. In this problem.26 Susan’s Telephone Service A. C. It also depends on whether she can trace telephone calls to individual . although she could use email. assuming that the cost function is linear may not be appropriate. the cost of alternatives such as cellular service or any other types of telephone or communication service. D.

using the learning curve equation Y = α Xr α = 10 hours X (units produced) = 4 Learning rate = (ln 0. telephone costs are viewed as an indirect cost. In .152 Y = 8.27 Fancy Furniture A.00 $20.00 + (700-500)*$0. Pros: • Susan might prefer the convenience of not switching telephone companies • If Susan is happy with her current quality of service she might prefer to stay with the same company and not investigate other companies’ plans • Susan may be able to predict her cost better. her phone bill will be less than it would be at a rate 5 cents per minute. Minutes 300 400 500 600 700 Total Cost $20.05 $0. In this case the learning rate would be wrong and so the time would also be wrong.00 $20. students may think of others.10 = $30. which appears to be the other alternative (although the 5 cents per minute rate might not be available for daytime week day calls). It is possible that the managers under. Many cellular telephone bills do not list the calls made. In most businesses. Cons • If Susan has a number of projects in her local area or will be traveling a lot.00 Average Cost $0.00 $20. she may be paying for 500 minutes of service that she does not use • If Susan’s calling volume exceeds 500 minutes per month. especially if she usually calls less than 500 minutes a month • Below is Susan’s average cost per minute at different levels of calls per month. There are many different reasons that the time could be different from the amount determined above.or overestimated the amount of hand work performed.00 $20.05 $0.10 = $40.057 The average cost is lowest at exactly 500 minutes per month. she will pay a very high rate of 10 cents per minute 2.152 Y = 10 hours*4-0.04 $0.90/ln2) = −0. I. so Susan may need to maintain her own records if she wishes to trace telephone usage.00 + (600-500)*$0.067 $0.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-23 consulting jobs. If her calls are over 400 minutes or under 600 minutes.1 hours (average time for the first four batches) B. Here are some of the reasons. Hours per batch would be determined as follows.

total revenue (TR) instead of quantity (Q) can be used in the cost function: Variable cost = $28.000/$70. the cost function is: TC = $47.500 $47.000 _______ $28. or has a great deal of experience on the machine. or 40% or revenue Combining fixed and variable costs.000 = 0. 2.000 using the cost function is: TC = $47.$79.500 10. D.000 7. C.000 1. Food costs are likely to vary proportionately with sales. then the cost would be overestimated. if managers believe that 25% of the work is done by hand.000 = $79. The estimate of total costs given revenues of $80.28 Wildcat Lair A. Thus. If a worker is absent one day.000 Variable $21. Wildcat Lair costs: Purchases of prepared food Serving personnel Cashier Administration University surcharge Utilities Totals Fixed $ 30.000 Profit = Revenues – Total costs = $80.000 5.000 . then the chart suggests that the learning rate estimate is reasonable. C. they would be higher than the labor costs in later periods. then this chart suggests that the learning curve will be slower than the 90% estimate.000 + 40%*80. However. and B. The observations of labor costs over the first few weeks would not be representative of the labor costs once productivity has stabilized.40.000 = $1.2-24 Cost Management addition. it is possible that different types of wood affect the rate at which chairs can be produced.000 Total revenue is the most likely cost driver for both variable costs.000 + 40%*Total revenue D. if managers believe that more than 25% of the work is done by hand. the rate will change if the replacement employee has never worked on this machine. and the University surcharge is specifically based on sales. The chart suggests that a 90% learning curve is likely to occur if 25% of the work is hand assembly and 75% of the work is done by machine.000 . If these values are used in a regression to estimate a cost function. Because revenue is the cost driver for both variable costs.

but this is not considered a cost driver (a business activity that causes variations in total variable cost).000+$6.000).000)+the university surcharge of $7.000) Net 2. Lair’s fixed costs are assumed to be unchanged with the $10.$4. and the increase is estimated to be 40% of the increase in revenues. less the fixed costs and the variable food costs.000 increase in revenues. the opportunity cost is estimated to be: Revenue Fixed costs Variable costs (30%*$80.000) $ 9. costs would be higher when there were fewer sales.000 + 30%*Total revenue During August. for July the opportunity cost would have been $2. this surcharge should be ignored when computing the university’s opportunity cost (assuming that the charge does not relate to any variable costs for the university that arise because of the Lair). However.000. A shop located near a ski area is likely to incur high heating costs during the winter. Only total variable costs are expected to increase. C.000.000) (24. (This is the same as the previous 40% variable cost rate less the university surcharge of 10% of revenues. The shop is most likely a seasonal business. In July there was a loss of $5. generating most its sales around the ski season (fall and winter). the shop might experience very little business activity. electricity usually varies with hours of operation and possibly with the season (because of heating and air conditioning).000). F. it might even close when the ski area shuts down.000) of revenues. the additional profit from a $10. so the trend would be the opposite of this plot.29 Polar Bear Ski Wear [Notes about problem complexity: Item A is not coded as Step 2 because this is explicitly discussed in the chapter. Assuming the highest electricity cost is during the winter when fewest bathing suits are sold.000/$70. Electricity costs also vary with changes in electricity rates. total variable costs are expected to increase by $4. During the spring and summer months. So.000 ($10.) The adjusted cost function is: TC = $47. if the bathing suit shop is located in a geographic region $80. B.000 increase in revenues is expected to be $6.000 (-$5.000— the operating loss of $(5. Item D will be VERY difficult for most students. it would lose the revenues.000 (47. In a retail business. so the estimated profit in August is $1.000 ($10.000 .] A. Thus. To estimate the opportunity cost for August. If the university were to close the Lair. Because the university surcharge is an allocation within the university.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-25 E. So.000 .000*40%). Variable food costs are estimated to be 30% ($21. the variable cost part of the cost function can be adjusted.

45 $ 514.67 1. in turn. correlation does not necessarily mean causation.45 x 1.85/ln2) = 0. special promotions. 2.2345 Y = $300*5-0. For example. then the highest sales might coincide with the highest electricity costs.89 x 1.2-26 Cost Management where the highest electricity costs occur during the summer because of air conditioning.028. Higher profits.028.2345 Y = $101.84 .45 Although each customer paid a different price. generally mean there is more money available to spend on administrative travel.69 (average cost for each of the 5 units) Total cost = $205.542. Although these expenditures are made because more money is available. higher profits generally occur during periods when activity is high. Many costs can be related to volume of activity.67 Firm A's income for last year was: Sales Costs Income $1. a 50% markup on total cost will cause sales to be: $1.50 = $1. employee training. D. A correlation may appear in a scatter plot or regression analysis.542.22 Firm B set its selling price based on the average cost.5 = $152. using the learning curve equation Y = α Xr α = $300 instead of hours X (units produced) = 5 Learning rate = (ln 0. firm B's selling price is: $101. However.30 Firm A and Firm B Costs for Firm A in the first year would be determined as follows. and new office furniture or equipment. they are discretionary expenditures and not caused by the level of activity. given a 100 unit production level: Y = α Xr Y = $300*100-0.69 x 5 = $1.89 (average cost for each of the 100 units produced) Given a 50% markup on cost.028.2345 Y = $205.

727.10 $22.40 1.528.85 x 1.50 Firm B's calculation for its selling price is as follows: Y = $300*300-0.30 $2.2345 Y = $92.10 $ 172.00 13.50 = $97.50 $ 9.84) = $1. assuming an 85% learning effect would be: Y = $300*150-0.65 (average cost for each of the 150 units produced) Firm B's income statement for last year was: Sales (150 x $152.50 $ 9.384.65) Income Firm A's revenues for this year are: (10 x $152.2345 Y= $78.55 1.625.528.897.50/150 units = $64.40 Firm A's costs may be computed as follows: Y = $300*15-0.28 $23.897.00 13.356.50 .45 $1.97 (average cost for each of the 15 units produced) Total cost to produce the first 15 units (15 x $158.356.2345 (notice that the cumulative units produced is 15) Y = $158. Total cumulative production cost (300 x $78.75) Total costs to produce the first 150 (from last year’s income statement) Total costs of this year’s production (150 units) Average cost per unit = $9.028.926.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-27 Firm B's costs.85 Thus Firm B's selling price this year was $64.97) Less costs from last year’s income statement for first five units Cost to produce the 10 units for this year Thus Firm A's income statement for this year is Sales Costs Income $1.84) Costs (150 x $ 92.75 (average cost for each of the 300 units) Note that the cumulative production for Firm B through this year is 300 units.727.028.

85) Income $14.500.500. Scatter Plot of Marketing Costs Against Sales $175.000 Sales B.2-28 Cost Management Firm B's income statement for this year is Sales (150 x $97. A spreadsheet showing the solutions for this problem is available on the Instructor’s web site for the textbook (available at www.864.500.000 $8.727.00 9. There is a positive slope.000 $155.28 is lower than Firm A's average cost per unit: $ Belford’s The data for this problem can be found on the datasets file for chapter 2.000 Marketing Dept.28) Costs (150 x $64.356. A. Costs $165.50 Note that Firm B's selling price for this year of $97.61. and most of the observations appear to have a fairly linear trend.000 $135.wiley. such extreme differences in cost can occur. Such results often lead to charges of "unfair dumping" but with large differences in cumulative production volumes. available on both the Instructor and Student web sites for the textbook (available at .10/10 = $135. 2.000 $145.wiley.000 $6.000 $7.500.000 $5.592. Sales seems to be a potential cost driver because there appears to be a positive correlation between the marketing department costs and sales.50 $ 4.

Instead.08144 Observations 30 Coefficients 65584. the cost function is: TC = $65. using regression or any other technique. When more money is spent on marketing. Therefore. Discretionary costs are set by decision. it is economically plausible for sales to be a cost driver. In addition.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-29 C. discretionary costs such as marketing are often increased when profits increase.87116829 Adjusted R Square 0. Even if marketing department costs are discretionary.2608 0.86656716 Standard Error 4015. sales may go up. F.34%*Sales D.63816 0. the cost estimate should not be based on past costs. Assuming that profits are more likely to increase when sales increase.01335108 Standard Error 6844. If the variable portion of the marketing cost is sales commissions. they may be positively correlated with sales.5289E-14 Intercept X Variable 1 Based on the regression results. E. Regression Statistics Multiple R 0.584 + 1.93336396 R Square 0. usually annually.4501E-10 5.00097028 t Stat 9. the decision maker(s) should be asked what next year’s cost will be.7600071 P-value 2. Here is the regression output. there would be a positive correlation between marketing department costs and sales. .58184484 13.

000 $40. available on both the Instructor and Student web sites for the textbook (available at www.000 $80.000 $120.000 $160. A.000 $120. A spreadsheet showing the solutions for this problem is available on the Instructor’s web site for the textbook (available at www.000 $160.32 Peer Jets International The data for this problem can be found on the datasets file for chapter 2.000 $0 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 Labor Hours Manufacturing Overhead Against Machine Hours Manufacturing Overhead Cost $200.wiley.wiley.000 $0 0 300 600 900 1200 1500 Machine Hours .000 $80.2-30 Cost Management 2.000 $ Manufacturing Overhead Against Labor Hours Manufacturing Overhead Cost $200.

but the plot for labor hours appears to have the least trend.552864 .000 $0 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 Raw Materials B.000 $120. the cost driver does not explain the variation in cost.8173 Observations Coefficient s 150410.01272369 Adjusted R Square -0.682 4.000 $160. If the observations are widely scattered. Based only on the cost plots.1543 0. The plots help determine whether regression analysis should be performed using any of the potential drivers. either the driver is wrong or the cost is mostly fixed.50852 7.02253618 Standard Error 11114. labor hours could be deleted as a potential cost driver.600712 P-value 6.000 $40. Labor Hours Regression: Regression Statistics Multiple R 0.86E-11 0. None of the plots show a definite trend. D. C.56597156 30 Standard Error 14812.600936029 Intercept Labor Hours t Stat 10. Costs and potential cost driver data are plotted to determine whether further analysis is necessary. Sometimes a cost that is mostly variable. Analysis of the plots involves looking for a linear or football-shaped positive slope or trend.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-31 Manufacturing Overhead Against Raw Materials Manufacturing Overhead Cost $200.11279932 R Square 0.000 $80.

2266685 Standard Error 9665.47803 9.217192 Standard Error 10291.3746211 Adjusted R Square 0.599 + $38.53627459 Intercept Raw Materials t Stat 11.2533351 Adjusted R Square 0.411 Machine Hours Regression: Regression Statistics Multiple R 0.5033241 R Square 0.000325 Both the intercept and slope coefficients are significant.082222 P-value 3.91 60.1555 Observations 30 Coefficient s 117598.68E-12 0.215128 Standard Error 10853.331580777 Intercept Machine Hours t Stat 11.004579 Both the intercept and slope coefficients are significant. so the cost function is estimated as: TC = $150.67 38.4268 4.9786 Observations 30 Coefficient s 126216.2-32 Cost Management Only the intercept term is significantly different from zero.11E-12 0.56778 19.095468 P-value 4.62907 3.22*Machine hours Raw Materials Regression: Regression Statistics Multiple R 0.612063 R Square 0. so the cost function is estimated as: TC = $126.217 + $60.22* Raw materials .3522862 Standard Error 8846. so the cost function is estimated as: TC = $117.

33 Peer Jets International (continued) The data for this problem can be found on the datasets file for chapter 2. Yes. the direct labor hours was not significantly related to manufacturing overhead costs using simple regression. A.10654585 Intercept Labor Hours Machine Hours Raw Materials t Stat 5. and the adjusted R-Squares from the regressions are: Machine Hours Raw Materials 0. Labor hours can be eliminated as a potential driver because its coefficient is not significantly different from zero (see Part D).291558412 10.953575 1.1959303 48.wiley.2349 3. this driver explains only 35% of the variation in cost. The coefficients for each of the other potential cost drivers are significantly different from zero.8266982 Adjusted R Square 0. machine hours appears to do the best job of explaining manufacturing overhead costs. however.9092294 R Square 0.12E-09 1. F.05878 . available on both the Instructor and Student web sites for the textbook (available at www. 2.489 -0. Multiple regression with all three potential cost drivers: Regression Statistics Multiple R 0.226 Based on the simple regression results.352 0.886218 -0. A spreadsheet showing the solutions for this problem is available on the Instructor’s web site for the textbook (available at www.778501 82.333162437 5.976635 Standard Error 10361.210187 P-value 3.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-33 E.8067018 Standard Error 4832.3E-06 0.5558 Observations 30 Coefficient s 8.

001) $126.5902 48.352 and 0. its coefficient is negative rather than positive in the multiple regression.954) $48.001) B. Manufacturing can be a complex activity requiring a number of different tasks.81383627 Standard Error 4742. labor hours can be eliminated as a potential cost driver.90921678 R Square 0.86E-07 4. machine hours and raw materials explain different activity .22 (0. C.450561 8.57 (0.001) $60.226 0. The adjusted RSquare is far higher in the multiple regression (0.664851 5.29E-09 The cost function is: TC = $60. Both machine hours and raw materials are positive and significantly different from zero when using simple regression and also when using multiple regression. Thus.599 (<0. Multiple regression using machine hours and raw materials as cost drivers: Regression Statistics Multiple R 0.71E-10 5.881964042 Intercept Machine Hours Raw Materials t Stat 6.806 $150. Each task includes different activities. Costs for these activities are likely related to specific cost drivers.022 0.82667515 Adjusted R Square 0.411 (<0.001) $117.226) for these two cost drivers.217 (<0.352 0.7422519 82.001) $60.157604083 9.939606 9. its coefficient is not significantly different from zero in either regression.678 + $48.5348 Observations Coefficient s 60677. Labor hours does not appear to be a cost driver when using either simple regression or multiple regression.20 (0.55) $38. In this example.93*Raw materials D.001) $4.78 (<0.806) than in either of the simple regressions (0. R2 Simple Regressions: Labor Hours Machine Hours Raw Materials Multiple Regression 0.925842 30 Standard Error 8743.2-34 Cost Management Comparison of simple and multiple regression results: Intercept t-stat (p-value) Independent Variables t-stat (p-value) Labor Machine Raw Hours Hours Materials Adj.005) $82.74*Machine hours + $82.001) $-0. A combination of cost drivers does a much better job of explaining the variation in manufacturing overhead costs than either cost driver alone.391636 P-value 1.98 (<0. Also.22 (<0.988 (<0.

and that could reflect negatively on the Finance Director. More importantly. However. Regina has at least two choices in this situation. A better understanding of the manufacturing process improves the ability to determine the types and number of cost drivers that can be used in a more complete cost function. if she submits a budget based on last year’s budget and she knows that this is likely to be inaccurate. She can tell the Director of Finance that she cannot produce a very accurate budget within two days or she can pull together something that may not be very accurate. Regina should submit the most current information she has. the board may make inappropriate decisions based on faulty data. the board may begin to lose trust in the CEO’s ability to manage operations. 2. C. the department amounts and total budget may be quite inaccurate. They may either praise or criticize top management when the situation may not warrant it.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-35 costs. The board of directors monitors the performance of the CEO and top management. When the budget is complete the board will likely see it again and notice the discrepancies between the preliminary and actual budgets and wonder why the first budget was so inaccurate. and use last year’s budgets for departments that have not turned theirs in. they will draw erroneous conclusions about the performance of the organization and the top management. This is a potential ethical dilemma for Regina because the Direct of Finance believes that he can rely on Regina’s work when he presents the budget to the board. and materials handling for the units. such as a business expansion.34 Software Solutions A. B. and the Director of Finance will present the board with information that is unreliable. . her reputation would also suffer. in their role of oversight. She may believe that her reputation as a diligent employee would suffer if she cannot produce something. If Regina submits unrealistically low budgets this month and then more accurate budgets next month. The relationship between the CEO and the board should be one of trust and confidence. If Regina uses last period’s budget. such as machining work on units. If they have outdated information and inaccurate information. they need the most current information available and explanations for information that is not available. Although the board is not directly involved in day-to-day operations. They may also use the inaccurate information to help them approve decisions. with a flag indicating that the information quality is low for the budgets in those departments and an explanation that the budget is currently based on last year’s information. but with large increases in department costs.

000 $5. I would eliminate number of students because there does not seem to be a positive linear relationship between maintenance cost and number of students. Costs $25.000 $10. Scatter Plot of Maintenance Costs Against Number of Maintenance Hours Worked Maint.000 $15.000 $15.000 $10.wiley. A spreadsheet showing the solutions for this problem is available on the Instructor’s web site for the textbook (available at www.wiley.000 $0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 Maintenance Hours Worked Scatter Plot of Maintenance Costs Against Number of Students $20. or number of classes and activities per period. Other cost drivers for total maintenance cost could be number of rooms cleaned. Students may have thought of other drivers that could be logically related to cleaning maintenance costs. Costs $25.000 $5.000 $20. number of hours the building is open. A.35 Brush Prairie High School The data for this problem can be found on the datasets file for chapter 2. Dept. . available on both the Instructor and Student web sites for the textbook (available at www. square feet cleaned.000 $0 528 530 532 534 536 538 540 542 Number of Students C. B.2-36 Cost Management 2. number of hours students attend school.

However. The most current value is used to .847440356 Adjusted R Square 0.68624 0. From the analyses performed. E.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-37 D.06772 Observations 12 Standard Error 965.36 The Elder Clinic A and B Salaries are always fixed.03271 Standard Error 3019. Therefore.63E-06 2. Utilities cost varies with season not visits.920565237 R Square 0. The total cost function is: TC = $9.247329 R Square 0. 2.5045837 4. providing high confidence that both the intercept and slope are different from zero.807201 P-value 0. and rent for this type of facility is usually fixed. An unidentified cost driver could have a higher R-Square. it is rational to conclude that hours worked will provide a reasonable estimate of future costs.9 244. changes in maintenance hours worked explains more than 80% of the changes in maintenance cost while number of students explains none. The p-values on the Tstatistics are very small. It cannot be known for certain whether the number of maintenance hours is the best cost driver because every single possible cost driver cannot be identified.74733262 t Stat 9.508157 0.18E-05 Regression output for maintenance cost and number of students: Regression Statistics Multiple R 0.438328 According to the R Square statistics.135 + $35.832184392 Standard Error 1217.74*maintenance hours worked. it is considered fixed.796328319 Intercept X Variable 1 Coefficients 9134.173 Observations 12 Coefficient s -89867 197.0857 Intercept X Variable 1 t Stat -0.061172 Adjusted R Square -0.453062 P-value 2.461245 7.0261 Standard Error 130954. maintenance hours is a reasonable cost driver.875134 35. Regression results for maintenance cost and number of maintenance hours worked: Regression Statistics Multiple R 0. it is logical to expect a strong relation between hours worked and cost.

49*849. affecting the number of visits at this clinic.412 1. weather. to find fixed: $3.736 + $6. and costs go up as patient-visits increase.736 + $6. must be kept on hand whether or not they are 226 664 $19. These would be fixed. There are many possible reasons that could be listed.182 = F + $3. such as snake anti-venom. the cost function is: TC = $19. **Using high-low. • Treatments and related costs may change as new drugs are available. Given the preceding computations and cost summary.49 ($3.934)/(849 – 778). Category Medical staff salaries* Medical supplies used** Administrative salaries Rent Utilities Other expenses Total Expenses Fixed $14. high point of medical supplies cost and patient data. At 940 patient-visits. Use March. These would be variable.115 219 3.2-38 Cost Management predict next period’s utilities. each patient requires a certain number of supplies. Therefore. Here are some of the reasons: • The managers will not know how many visits they will receive. variable cost is $3.07*patient-visits C.$2. Some supplies.07*940 = $25. This analysis suggests that there are some of the other expenses are variable costs and some fixed. There is no one answer to this part. Visits are affected by season.736 Variable $3. • Prices of all inputs could change (usually increase). Sample solutions and a discussion of typical student responses will be included in assessment guidance on the Instructor’s web site for the textbook (available at www.wiley. Other expenses appear to increase and decrease with number of patientvisits.07 Patient-visits X * The value in June is used for fixed costs because the increase in salaries will hold into the future.49 Cost Driver Patient-visits Mixed X 2. and so on. .58 $6. or there are changes in treatment procedures for certain illnesses.182 . Medical supplies vary with number of patient-visits. July expenses are estimated to be: TC = $19. new equipment is acquired.441. but not proportionately. other facilities may open or close. E. Use the same method for other expenses. gloves. and so on. medical supplies is a mixed cost. Also.80 D. so this cost is classified as a mixed cost. current illnesses that are circulating in the area. such as tongue depressors.

Number of calls might have to be tracked by employees or by the telephone system. Vendors. This data could be found in the accounting system. and other miscellaneous costs. number of employees. and others could be interviewed to identify any potential cost increases or other expected changes in cost behavior from prior periods. department heads. with representative points selected from a scatter plot. In some ways. The cost object is the help line. rent). Number of customers is part of the revenue accounting records. prepaid insurance schedules. If the service is housed in a common building. analysis at the account level could be used to develop a cost function using information from the general ledger.g. number of hours worked. The choice of information sources depends on how the past cost information is to be used. .38 Personal Cost Function A. and D. Accounting records could be accessed to determine the wage rates and time worked for help support staff and supervisors. Alternatively. If not. etc. number of work stations. The answers to these questions depend on the individual student’s data and cost behavior. It would be useful to obtain several years of monthly data from which to prepare scatter plots and run regression analysis.37 Cost function Judgment and Method A. Regression analysis makes use of all data points and is more accurate than twopoint methods. C. depreciation schedules. regression analysis would probably be the best choice. or total number of Internet customers. Analysis of general ledger entries could be used to determine past costs for phone service. Some future costs can be estimated with high accuracy based on prior commitments (e. Number of work stations might come from the department head. could be used to identify costs for building and occupancy costs. or it might need to be estimated if it has not been tracked in the past. Information about number of employees and hours worked is found in the payroll accounting system. cost allocation records could be used to identify past costs. B. supplies. Some costs are discretionary.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-39 2. E. a personal budget estimation problem is similar to the cost estimation problem for a business. 2. assuming a linear cost function. If the help line is housed in its own building.. C. Other costs are highly uncertain and subject to external factors that cannot be controlled. Possible cost drivers include number of calls handled. a two point method might be best. If enough data points are available. D. B.

these are correctly handled. Operations in the month of July are not typical of the rest of the time period.736 67.wiley. Adjustments to more accurately reflect overhead costs incurred: Unadjusted Overhead Mar $68.736 To predict future overhead.39 Smeyer Industries The data for this problem can be found on the datasets file for chapter 2.286 68.000 = 4.036 68.800 .350 68.750. A spreadsheet showing the solutions for this problem is available on the Instructor’s web site for the textbook (available at www. July’s result is an outlier and should be removed from the data.000 + 500 + 500 + 500 + 500 + 500 Depreciation(b) +$36 1 + 36 -4.790 80.83/mo.500 x 1/2 = 2.750 68.200 +$2. 80% of September 2 payroll to August: .8 x 6.10.750 .800. The miscellaneous supplies account also looks suspicious. If these observations are included in the regression analysis.376 65. Because of the large difference between these values and the values in other 2 . the first month is adjusted even though it is not an actual cost: 4.800 41. Similarly. available on both the Instructor and Student web sites for the textbook (available at www.4. B. (rounded to $36) 2 Note IB-4's power added to Dept.750 + 4. but there is insufficient information to make an Cost Management 2.486 68.2.200 Apr 71.236 69.596 73.310 70. No adjustments are needed for items (c) and (d). IP-14 3 Payroll paid every two weeks. as shown in the scatter plot below.250 May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov 1 Property Tax(a) +$500 + 500 + 500 + 500 -3. A. 1/2 of August 5 payroll goes to July: 5.500 38.150 73. the trend line is likely to distort costs.wiley.686 71.300 + 36 + 36 + 36 + 36 + 36 + 36 + 36 Other Payroll3 Adjusted Cost $68.300/10 x 12 = 35. .

412139 0.000 $45.000 $40. they are most likely recorded at the time of purchase rather than at the time of use. supplies were a large proportion of overhead cost.500 8.789722 t Stat 0. Here are the regression results: Regression Statistics Multiple R R Square Adjusted R Square Standard Error Observations 0. considerable future variation in overhead costs is likely to occur due to factors other than changes in direct labor hours.000 3.79 * direct labor hours This cost function might not provide a very accurate estimate for future costs because the direct labor hours explain only about 31% of the variation in overhead costs (based on the adjusted R-square).000 2.086126 Based on the t-statistic and p-value for the intercept.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-41 Scatter Plot of Adjusted Overhead Costs Against Direct Labor Hours $75.000 $65.500 5. Based on the variation in dates at which supplies are recorded. According to the details provided for August and September.314163 1980. the cost function is estimated as: Overhead cost = $6.500 Outlier Direct Labor Hours C.818 6.000 Overhead Costs $70.26 3. Thus.310484 Intercept X Variable 1 Coefficient s 8777. Therefore.000 $50.298502 2.775388 0.47 8 Standard Error 29406.000 9.000 $60. the fixed cost does not appear to be different from zero.000 6. D. Monthly overhead costs for supplies may be significantly overstated or understated .050976 P-value 0.641981 0.000 $55.

Thus. Prior cost data should be adjusted for these changes before the data are used to estimate future costs. financial statements may be prepared less frequently than data is collected for cost estimation. Following are three reasons for making adjustments when estimating cost functions. Second. these variations would need to be considered. sometimes known changes have occurred in prices or cost behavior. .2-42 Cost Management if the amount of supplies inventory varies significantly from month to month. Third. but if the company would like information about predicted monthly costs. First. In addition. E. there could be seasonal variation in costs such as overtime pay and utilities. power costs could be adjusted upward if utility rates in the future are expected to be higher than in the past. If the cost function is for annual costs. this may not be a problem. The process of preparing financial statements often includes adjustments so that costs are recorded in the correct time period. adjustments could be made to adjust the balance in supplies inventory each month. However. small adjustments that may be material when estimating a cost might not be sufficiently material to the financial statements for adjustments in the accounting records. Additional adjustments include any expected changes in costs from prior periods. the accounting records might not accurately reflect the costs incurred during each time period. For example.

whereas variable costs are often relevant. . how to categorize costs as fixed. 1. For example. c. When estimating a cost function: a. in Chapter 2 pointed out that a cost function is estimated within a relevant range of activity. 2. sometimes the cost of obtaining a better measure exceeds the benefits. 4. The costs and benefits of alternative measures should also be considered.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-43 BUILD YOUR PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCIES 2. Fixed costs are often irrelevant to decisions. for example.17 for the pros and cons of each method. B. b. then simple regression is inappropriate. a cost function should distinguish between fixed and variable costs. and reliable measure for estimating a cost function because of uncertainties about: data availability. the best choice of estimation technique. See Exhibit 2. two-point method. C. It is also necessary to evaluate the quality of measurement results when using accounting information.40 Focus on Professional Competency: Measurement A. In Chapter 2. Chapter 2 introduced the following measurement methods for estimating a cost function: Engineered estimate of cost. the main focus was on measuring costs for a cost object. whether past cost behaviors will continue in the future. it is necessary to use judgment when choosing and applying measurement methods. which factors drive variable costs. which typically involved creating a cost function for one or more individual costs. simple regression. A cost function estimated from past cost data may be unreliable if future operating activities are expected to occur in a different relevant range. A measurement is reliable if it if it is reasonably free from error and bias. A measurement is appropriate if it is suitable for the purpose. variable or mixed. A measurement is relevant if the resulting cost function information helps decision makers choose between alternative courses of action. Suppose a cost function is measured for the purpose of estimating future costs. and multiple regression (Appendix 2A). A measurement method such as simple regression is appropriate if past cost patterns are expected to continue in the future and i the cost is linearly related to the cost driver. Uncertainties prevent identification of single “correct” measurement methods. 3. It is often difficult to identify an appropriate. and how to interpret computational results. For example. and they prevent complete accuracy in making accounting measurements. analysis at the account level. If the cost is believed to be nonlinear. Thus. relevant. high-low method.

Note: Some of these ideas were adapted from the Path to Higher-Quality Management Decisions presented in Chapter 1 (Exhibit 1. However. then the details of the estimation process may be irrelevant. However. the manager should be informed about key uncertainties or risks associated with using the cost function. D. • The use of technical language should depend on the audience. taking into account the knowledge and interests of the user. then it may be more important to provide the cost function information rapidly than to prepare a high quality report. students might think of others. It is important to present the cost function information objectively to improve its relevance and reliability for the user. • The desired quality of the report should be weighed against the timeliness of information for the user.2-44 Cost Management 5. • The report should focus on information that will be relevant to the user. then it should probably describe all of the major decisions involved in developing the cost function. the user should be informed about the priorities used in creating the report. It is typically appropriate to use more technical language in reports written for other accountants than in reports written for non-accounting audiences. and easy to understand. If the report will be used by a manager who needs to estimate future costs. If the user needs to make a decision quickly. People who lack objectivity are likely to present biased information that impairs high quality decision making.9). Changing circumstances can change the patterns of cost behavior and cause an estimated cost function to be inappropriate. Here are some desirable characteristics of a report about an estimated cost function. If the report will be presented to a superior within the accounting department. irrelevant. clear. . • The format should be concise. and/or unreliable.

using monthly data for the prior 4 the cost function was estimated by regressing actual labor costs on number of chairs produced.5917832 Standard Error 6216. the regression explains only about 59% of the variation in labor costs.] The data for this problem can be found on the datasets file for chapter 2.96 x number of chairs produced However.02E-10 Based on the regression results. available on both the Instructor and Student web sites for the textbook (available at www.3147402 P-value 3. The cost function is estimated as: Labor cost = $133.wiley.wiley. Considerable variation in labor costs is not explained by changes in the volume of production.6004687 Adjusted R Square 0. A. the degree of downward bias is higher for older data than for more recent data.437E-24 1. In prior years. Also.7748991 R Square 0. students are likely to struggle interpreting and choosing a method (Parts E and F).41 Integrating Across the Curriculum: Statistics [Note about problem complexity: This homework problem was written with adequate instructions so that students should be able to perform the various regression analyses that are called for. Here are the simple regression results: Regression Statistics Multiple R 0.848277 8. However. the fixed cost and the variable cost per unit are each positive and statistically different from zero.7995 Observations 48 Coefficient s 133194. the prior labor costs are biased downward—future labor costs are expected to be higher than past labor costs. Because of the annual pay increases.609693 1.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-45 2.678620854 Intercept X Variable 1 t Stat 19. A spreadsheet showing the solutions for this problem is available on the Instructor’s web site for the textbook (available at www.957296 Standard Error 6710. .04 + $13. B.

02)4 $196.02 Adjusted Labor Cost $220.00872 Intercept X Variable 1 X Variable 2 t Stat 18.010513 1.533 Dec 20X4 196.891 1.23 per chair.23 x number of chairs produced This regression provides a more reasonable cost function than the previous version because it explains a higher proportion of the variation in labor costs (adjusted R-square of 0.93821 16.67711 P-value 1.863839 Standard Error 3742.91E-08 .05E-27 2.2-46 Cost Management C. approximately 26% of the variation in labor costs is still unexplained.26499 6.390275 Intercept X Variable 1 t Stat 24.73E-20 5.869633 Adjusted R Square 0.06236 11.742261 Standard Error 5148.311 200.533 x (1.57E-23 2. this cost function would result in a higher estimate for future costs. but the variable cost increased from $13. D. here are the regression results: Regression Statistics Multiple R 0.347 x 1.274 Using the adjusted labor cost data. Here are a couple of months’ data for double-checking the calculation of adjusted labor costs: Month Original Labor Cost Jan 20X1 $203.96 to $16. Also.905 Observations 48 Coefficient s 133736 16.864722 R Square 0. Here are the multiple regression results: Regression Statistics Multiple R 0.747745 Adjusted R Square 0.74).347 Calculation $203.411 Observations 48 Coefficient s 107748.8 16. the fixed cost and the variable cost per unit are each positive and statistically different from zero.492 1.736 + $16.35E-15 Based on the regression results.23439 Standard Error 5557.54295 Standard Error 5689. Nevertheless.486389 P-value 4. which is reasonable given the increase in wage rates over time. The cost function is estimated as: Labor cost = $133.09577 6. The fixed cost is nearly the same.932541 R Square 0.

The cost function is estimated as: Labor cost = $107. the two cost drivers together explain a very high proportion (86%) of the variation in past labor costs. and the managers often delay laying off employees when volumes decline. If the prior month’s production was higher than this month’s production. it appears that both independent variables should be included in the cost function because they both have a logical cause-and-effect relationship with labor costs. In addition.26 x current month number of chairs produced + $6.26) is interpreted in a straight-forward way. However.54 x prior month number of chairs produced The statistics suggest that this is a more reasonable cost function than the previous version because all coefficients are positive statistically different from zero. and this regression explains more of the variation in labor costs (86%).54 for each chair produced during the prior month. The second slope coefficient requires more thought. . the fixed cost and the variable cost per unit for each cost driver are all positive and statistically different from zero. it could be argued that some other cost driver might do a better job of predicting future labor costs. then this month’s labor costs will reflect a lower level of labor cost. it often takes time for the company to hire qualified new workers. E. As explained in the problem. and to decrease the number of workers when production volumes decrease. On the other hand. each month’s labor costs are expected to increase by $16. There is no one single answer to this question. there may be some lag between the time that production volumes change and labor costs change. The first slope coefficient ($16. Conversely. Thus.749 + $16.l6 for each chair produced during the month. each month’s labor costs are expected to increase by $6.Chapter 2: The Cost Function 2-47 Based on the regression results. the company’s policy is to increase the number of workers when production volumes increase. F. According to the multiple regression results. On one hand. then this month’s labor costs will reflect the higher level of labor cost. and they both have positive and statistically significant coefficients. if the prior month’s production was lower than this month’s production.

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