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Chapter: Civil : Engineering Economics and Cost analysis : Cost And Break Even Analyses

Methods of Costing

1. Unit costing 2. Job costing 3. Contract costing 4. Batch costing 5. Operating costing 6. Process costing 7. Multiple costing 8. Uniform costing

Methods of Costing


Different industries follow different methods to establish the cost of their product. This varies by the nature and specifics of each business. There are different principles and procedures for performing the costing. However, the basic principles and procedures of costing remain the same. Some of the methods are mentioned below:


1.     Unit costing


2.     Job costing


3.     Contract costing


4.     Batch costing


5.     Operating costing


6.     Process costing


7.     Multiple costing


8.     Uniform costing




Unit costing: This method is also known as "single output costing." This method of costing is used for products that can be expressed in identical quantitative units. Unit costing is suitable for products that are manufactured by continuous manufacturing activity: for example, brick making, mining, cement manufacturing, dairy operations, or flour mills. Costs are ascertained for convenient units of output.


Job costing: Under this method, costs are ascertained for each work order separately as each job has its own specifications and scope. Job costing is used, for example, in painting, car repair, decoration, and building repair.


Contract costing: Contract costing is performed for big jobs involving heavy expenditure, long periods of time, and often different work sites. Each contract is treated as a separate unit for costing. This is also known as terminal costing. Projects requiring contract costing include construction of bridges, roads, and buildings.

Batch costing: This method of costing is used where units produced in a batch are uniform in nature and design. For the purpose of costing, each batch is treated as an individual job or separate unit. Industries like bakeries and pharmaceuticals usually use the batch costing method.


Operating costing or service costing: Operating or service costing is used to ascertain the cost of particular service-oriented units, such as nursing homes, busses, or railways. Each particular service is treated as a separate unit in operating costing. In the case of a nursing home, a unit is treated as the cost of a bed per day, while, for busses, operating cost for a kilometer is treated as a unit.


Process costing: This kind of costing is used for products that go through different processes. For example, the manufacturing of clothes involves several processes. The first process is spinning. The output of that spinning process, yarn, is a finished product which can either be sold on the market to weavers, or used as a raw material for a weaving process in the same manufacturing unit. To find out the cost of the yarn, one needs to determine the cost of the spinning process. In the second step, the output of the weaving process, cloth, can also can be sold as a finished product in the market. In this case, the cost of cloth needs to be evaluated. The third process is converting the cloth to a finished product, for example a shirt or pair of trousers. Each process that can result in either a finished good or a raw material for the next process must be evaluated separately. In such multi-process industries, process costing is used to ascertain the cost at each stage of production.


Multiple costing or composite costing: When the output is comprised of many assembled parts or components, as with television, motor cars, or electronics gadgets, costs have to be ascertained for each component, as well as with the finished product. Such costing may involve different methods of costing for different components. Therefore, this type of costing is known as composite costing or multiple costing.


Uniform costing: This is not a separate method of costing, but rather a system in which a number of firms in the same industry use the same method of costing, using agreed-on principles and standard accounting practices. This helps in setting the price of the product and in inter-firm comparisons..


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