Product vs Period Costs: What Are the Differences?

For a retailer, the product costs would include the supplies purchased from a supplier and any other costs involved in bringing their goods to market. In short, any costs incurred in the process of acquiring or manufacturing a product are considered product costs. In accounting, product costs are usually measured as part of the inventory. They’re often broken down into subcategories of fixed and variable costs, which can be used for calculating things like the break-even point. When a company sells its products, the product costs form part of the cost of goods sold (COGS) on the income statement.

Selling costs can vary somewhat with product sales levels, especially if sales commissions are a large part of this expenditure. Product cost and period cost are accounting concepts used to categorize and allocate expenses in a business. These terms play a part in determining the cost of goods sold (COGS) and overall profitability. Today, we’re breaking down these two concepts to understand their general aspects, relationship with financial statements, and overall impact on business decision-making. Since they can’t be traced to products and services, we attribute them to the period in which they were incurred. Most period costs are fixed because they don’t vary from one period to another.

  1. Period costs are the costs that your business incurs that are not directly related to production levels.
  2. By looking at period costs, you can evaluate the impact of such decisions on the bakery’s overall financial health.
  3. Remenber, they include things like rent, salaries, and advertising costs?
  4. Understanding these differences helps businesses make sound accounting decisions.

If that reporting period is over a fiscal quarter, then the period cost would also be three months. If the accounting period were instead a year, the period cost development, fundraising, and marketing would encompass 12 months. Also, fixed and variable costs may be calculated differently at different phases in a business’s life cycle or accounting year.

Is an example of a period cost rather than a product cost?

Before the products are sold, these costs are recorded in inventory accounts on the balance sheet. Product costs are sometimes referred to as “inventoriable costs.” When the products are sold, these costs are expensed as costs of goods sold on the income statement. Examples of period costs include administrative expenses like office supplies, utilities, depreciation, and rent. 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.

Cost Control Strategies: Managing Overhead and Fixed Expenses

As an owner, you rely on their accuracy to make key management decisions. This can be particularly important for small business owners, who have less room for error. If product and period costs are overstated or understated, or not recorded at all, your financial statements will be wrong as well. 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. On the other hand, period costs are considered indirect costs or overhead costs, and while they play an important role in your business, they are not directly tied to production levels.

This means they accumulate as the business transforms raw materials into finished products. This timing is crucial for accurately determining the total cost of producing each unit. The concept of product vs period costs is a subset of cost accounting.

Direct Labor refers to the wages paid to production workers who are directly involved in making the product, such as assembly line workers, woodworkers, tailors, etc. Freight costs can be categorized as either a product cost or a period cost, depending on the context. In other words, period costs are related to the services consumed over the period in question. Period costs are costs that cannot be capitalized on a company’s balance sheet. In other words, they are expensed in the period incurred and appear on the income statement.

Considerations in Production Costs Calculations

Most period costs are considered periodic fixed expenses, although in some instances, they can be semi-variable expenses. For example, you receive a utility bill each month that is not directly tied to production levels, but the amount can vary from month to month, making it a semi-variable expense. A business can go through periods where it doesn’t have any product costs, but there will still be period costs as these are unrelated to the ebb and flow of production. Instead, they’re related to the passing of time and any time-based expenses like utility bills and rent. Period and product costs play different but important roles in financial reporting. Properly classifying costs is key for accurate financial statements.

Because product and period costs directly impact your financial statements, you need to properly categorize and record these costs in order to ensure accurate financial statements. Managing your costs is doubly important if you own a manufacturing business, since you’ll need to manage both product and period costs. Product costs, also known as direct costs or inventoriable costs, are directly related to production output and are used to calculate the cost of goods sold. 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.

Their general shop lease, utilities, and owner’s salary are period costs. Product costs are any costs incurred in the manufacture of a product. These costs include direct materials, direct labor, and factory overhead. Understanding period costs helps assess the day-to-day financial health of a business.

Period costs and product costs are two important concepts in managerial accounting that classify costs to analyze financial performance. Let’s say you’re considering hiring more staff to handle the increasing number of orders. By looking at period costs, you can evaluate the impact of such decisions on the bakery’s overall financial health.

Whether the calculation is for forecasting or reporting affects the appropriate methodology as well. Production costs are usually part of the variable costs of business because the amount spent will vary in proportion to the amount produced. Careful analysis of period versus product costs, combined with targeted strategies to control overhead and optimize production, can yield significant cost savings and competitive advantage.

Over 1.8 million professionals use CFI to learn accounting, financial analysis, modeling and more. Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets. Discover the key to effective financial management with our straightforward guide on variance reporting. Period costs are of no less help, as they allow you to understand how well you’re running your business. Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years.