After studying this chapter, you should be able to:
1. Discuss the need for multiple overhead accounts within WIP.
2. Describe how the general ledger system for WIP can be designed to provide more accurate product cost information and cost management information.
3. Explain how to allocate service department costs to production departments, and describe the different methods that can be used.
4. Design an SCAS that includes cost variances for both production and service departments.
As Chapter 4 pointed out, all CASs satisfy one overall goal, to determine the cost of products or services. The cost of a product or service is used for many purposes:
Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as the one “true product cost.” All product and service costs are based on assumptions, estimates, allocations, and averages. It is up to the management accountant to choose the costing procedures that best fit the production system and management's need for cost control, and then aim for costs that are approximately accurate. Remember the “relevancy” attribute of high-quality information from Chapter 1: “It's more important to be approximately right than precisely wrong.”
The purpose of this chapter is to provide the theory and tools necessary for designing more sophisticated CASs to account for overhead. If all costs could be directly traced to individual products, the “true cost” of the products would be known and objectively measurable. However, all costs are not directly traceable. As manufacturers become more capital intensive (automated), the proportion of indirect costs (overhead) increases. Accounting for overhead is the albatross around the management accountant's neck.
Many traditional manufacturers still maintain only one total overhead account and one plantwide TOH POR to apply all the overhead into jobs (JOCAS) or production departments (PCAS). The need for separate VOH and FOH subsidiary WIP accounts when budgeting overhead for the standard cost card and manufacturing cost equation was discussed in Chapter 7. In this chapter, the VOH and FOH accounts within WIP become control accounts. The CAS design issues involved will be identified in the following order:
The management accountant can develop a single plantwide TOH POR. Or, instead of using one plantwide blanket rate, the TOH POR may be subdivided into two or more component PORs. The following examples demonstrate both situations.
Assume that Cerro Company makes only one product and uses one TOH POR for the entire plant's overhead, rather than separate rates for VOH and FOH costs. Cerro estimates 100,000 machine hours as the level of activity, $340,000 VOH costs, and $400,000 FOH costs. The single plantwide TOH POR for Cerro is calculated as follows:
In a simple one-product company such as Cerro's, a single plantwide TOH POR may be sufficient. In highly diversified companies, a single plantwide TOH POR may result in misinformation that leads to wrong decisions, Therefore, the goals in subdividing the TOH POR are to provide more useful cost management information and more accurate product or service costing. The TOH POR can be subdivided in a number of different ways:
Normally, however, the best way to begin designing the overhead accounting system is to set up separate PORs for production departments. No matter how diverse the products or services, they will receive a fairer share of the overhead if separate production department PORs are used. For example, if product x flows through three departments, it will be charged its appropriate share of overhead costs within each department, assuming a proper activity application base is chosen. If product Y flows through two departments, it likewise will be charged its appropriate share of overhead costs from only these departments.
Indeed, the management accountant can use various combinations. The aim is to search for the most accurate basis for applying overhead costs to products or services. But there is a practical limit to the extent overhead rates can be subdivided. At some point, further subdivision leads to an insignificant change in product or service costs and does not provide more useful cost management information. Each company must decide on the number of overhead rates after experimenting with different methods. A balance should be struck between the need for more detailed accuracy on the one side and the time and cost of preparing and applying multiple overhead rates on the other side. The accompanying Starfire Company case on the next page illustrates the differing results from using departmental PORs versus a single plantwide overhead rate.
An even more serious miscosting occurs when the plantwide TOH POR is based on direct labor hours. The majority of the plant's overhead is caused by machine usage in the Assembly Department. Car bodies require 12 machine hours whereas truck bodies only require 5 machine hours. Obviously, more Assembly Department overhead should be applied to car bodies than to truck bodies. However, since car bodies require less direct labor hours of work than do truck bodies, less overhead is applied to car bodies than to truck bodies!
Starfire has two production departments: Assembly and Painting. Assembly work is performed by robots, and depreciation, utilities, and maintenance make up a large part of this department's overhead costs. Painting and special detail work are performed manually by skilled workers.
Starfire makes two products: fibreglass bodies for its Starfire miniature automobile and for its customized miniature truck line. Car bodies require 12 machine hours in Assembly and 4 direct labor hours in Painting. Truck bodies require 5 machine hours in Assembly and 14 direct labor hours in Painting. Total budgeted overhead is $800,000 for the Assembly Department and $177,500 for the Painting Department. Departmental and plantwide POR calculations follow:
The direct materials cost per unit for truck bodies is $100, and the direct labor cost is $ 50. Adding the various overhead amounts to these prime costs gives the total product cost under each method. The following calculations show the product costs and the profit or loss for truck bodies assuming a selling price of $300 per unit:
Use of the product costs generated from plantwide TOH PORs may cause management to make wrong decisions about truck bodies (and car bodies). The product cost produced by a plantwide TOH POR based on machine hours will make management think that truck bodies are more profitable than the product line actually is. This belief may motivate management to employ more resources to produce more truck bodies, thereby diverting resources from other more profitable products.
If the plantwide TOH POR based on direct labor hours is used, management may think that truck bodies should be eliminated because this product line appears to be generating a significant loss. The more accurate product cost is generated by the departmental overhead rates because they more closely reflect truck bodies' utilization of different overhead resources in each department. Thus, decisions based on the product costs produced by the departmental overhead rates should be better decisions.
To support management analysis of overhead costs, it is usually desirable to calculate two PORs, a variable overhead (VOH) rate and a fixed overhead (FOH) rate. Generally, separate VOH and FOH rates provide managers with more useful information than just developing one TOH POR for VOH and FOH costs combined. Budgeting separate VOH and FOH PORs was introduced in Chapter 7. The last section of this chapter will illustrate an allocation method using separate VOH and FOH PORs.
Many traditional CASs were designed primarily for financial reporting needs. Cost management information was viewed as less important. With respect to accounting for overhead, just one TOH subsidiary account was designed into the WIP general ledger system. Overhead costs were debited into this account in journal entries 4, 5, and 6. Overhead was applied to products in total using one plantwide TOH POR in journal entry 7. This type of overhead accounting was illustrated for a basic CAS in Chapter 4 (Exhibit 4-2), for a JOCAS in Chapter 5 (Exhibit 5-1), and for a PCAS in Chapter 6 (Exhibit 6-4). Similarly, the Starfire Company example above, which illustrated separate overhead accounts for each production department, did not have separate VOH and FOH accounts within the departments.
In the discussion that follows, VOH and FOH will not be separated to avoid overly complicating the calculations. Furthermore, the techniques that follow are usually used with total overhead on professional accounting certification exams. Nevertheless, even though the VOH and FOH accounts are not separate in the CAS examples that follow, their separation is important for standard cost card calculations and overhead budgeting, as well as in cost control through four-way overhead cost variance analysis.
Production departments (also called operating departments, cells, or workcenters) are where the central purposes of the organization are carried out. Examples include the surgery department in a hospital, the shoe department in a retail store, and the assembly department in a manufacturing enterprise.
Service departments, by contrast, do not engage directly in production activities. Rather, they provide assistance and support that facilitate the activities of the production departments. Examples include the human resources department, purchasing, storeroom, maintenance, computing center, engineering, internal auditing, and cafeteria. Although service departments do not engage directly in the producing activities of the organization, their costs are part of the cost of manufacturing products or providing services.
Because service department costs cannot be directly traced to products being manufactured or services (for the customer) performed by the company, these costs must be allocated to the production departments' overhead accounts. The service department costs then become part of the budgeted overhead costs of the production departments. In this manner, they are included with the other overhead costs of the production department in calculating the departmental TOH POR. In total, these “all-inclusive” departmental PORs, therefore, ultimately apply all the plant's overhead to the products when the PORs are used in the overhead application journal entry 7.
Stage one primary cost assignment directly traces costs to service departments. It also directly traces as many VOH and FOH costs as is possible to the production departments. These are properly considered direct costs to the departments even though they may be indirect (overhead) costs with respect to individual products. A cost element can be directly traceable to one cost object (such as a department) and still be an indirect cost with respect to another cost object (such as a job). Thus, these costs are labelled as direct VOH costs (DVOH) and direct FOH costs (DFOH).
Stage two: Service department overhead cost allocations. Once overhead costs are accumulated in the service and production department overhead accounts within WIP, the service department costs can be allocated to the production department overhead accounts so that they can be included in the departmental TOH PORs. This is called secondary cost allocation. The management accountant must use a reasonable allocation base for secondary cost allocations. The allocation base for each service used must bear a relationship to the costs of the services being rendered. Ideally, this is a cause-and-effect relationship. If, for example, the costs of operating the human resources department tend to vary with the number of people employed, this service department's costs can be allocated according to the number of employees working in each production department. As another example, the purchasing department's costs may be allocated to production department overhead accounts on the basis of the number of purchase orders processed for each producing department. Some common bases used in allocating service department costs are presented in Exhibit 9-2.
In summary, any overhead costs that can be specifically associated with a production or service department should be directly assigned to it. For example, the costs of computer supplies are charged directly to the computing center. Lease payments on computer equipment also are charged directly to the computing center. Food costs are charged directly to the cafeteria.
The service department costs should be allocated according to some measure that has a cause-and-effect or benefit relationship. Thus, such items as building depreciation, insurance, and taxes are commonly allocated on the basis of square feet of floor space occupied. Plant heating and cooling costs may be allocated on cubic feet of space occupied. Costs of lighting may be allocated on the basis of kilowatt hours. inspection costs may be allocated on the basis of direct labor hours and so on.
Stage two allocates all overhead to production department overhead accounts. In stage three, overhead is applied from the production department overhead accounts to the products produced or services rendered by the company, using departmental PORs. Refer to Exhibit 9-1 to verify this.
Four common methods exist for allocating service department costs to production department overhead accounts. The first three methods are illustrated here, assuming there is one total overhead account for each service department and production department. The fourth method, illustrated in the next section of this chapter, uses separate VOH and FOH accounts for each service and production department. The first three methods discussed, in order of increasing sophistication, are as follows:
The direct method is widely used for allocating service department costs. This method allocates each service department's total costs directly to the production departments' overhead accounts. This method's major weakness is that it ignores any service rendered by one service department to another. For example, Birchtree Manufacturing makes white-water rafting products such as canoes, kayaks, and rafts. These products are made in two production departments, Assembly and Finishing. The plant has four service departments, each with its own subsidiary ledger account within WIP-Manufacturing Overhead. These services include the Human Resources Department, Occupancy Services, the Computing Center, and the Engineering Department.
Obviously, each of the four service departments occupies space and should be allocated some occupancy costs (building depreciation, property taxes and insurance, heating and air conditioning, and so forth). The Human Resources and Engineering Departments also use computer services. To determine the “real costs” of each service more accurately, inter-service department cost allocations should be made. The Human Resources Department's cost should include some allocation of Occupancy Services costs and Computing Center costs. The direct method, however, ignores this inter-service department usage in determining the costs of each service allocated in stage two, secondary cost allocations.
With the direct method, the primary costs of operating each service department are allocated directly to the production departments. This method is the simplest and quickest way to allocate service costs. The number of secondary cost allocations is equal to the number of service departments. Exhibit 9-3 illustrates the direct method cost allocation worksheet. Each department's primary costs are shown as the first line. The secondary cost allocations to production departments are made using the following bases:
payroll dollars as the allocation base. Since the major purpose of Human Resources is to service employees, the Human Resources costs are allocated to these production departments on the basis of their payroll amounts.
Because Assembly occupies 14,000 square feet of the building versus 6,000 square feet occupied by Finishing, it seems equitable to allocate 70 percent ($105,000) of the budgeted occupancy costs to Assembly. Thirty percent ($45,000) of budgeted occupancy costs is allocated to Finishing.
The Computing Center expects to process 40 reports for Assembly and 60 reports for Finishing. So, 40 percent of the Computing Center's budgeted costs of $180,000 is allocated to Assembly and 60 percent to Finishing.
Management has determined that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between Engineering costs and machine hours. Therefore, 80 percent ($80,000) of Engineering's budgeted costs ($100,000) is allocated to Assembly. The remaining $20,000, or 20 percent, is allocated to Finishing.
Some companies use the step method, which allows for limited recognition of services rendered by service departments to other service departments. This method is more complex than the direct method because a sequence of alloca-tions must be chosen. The sequence often begins with the department that renders the most services to other service departments. The sequence continues in a step-by-step fashion and ends with the allocation of the costs of the service department that renders the lowest percentage of its services to other service departments.
Where reciprocal (inter-service department) relationships exist, first allocate the service department providing the most service to the other service departments will generally result in the best step allocation. The deficiency in the step method is that it recognizes only one-way inter-service department use. Once a service department's costs are allocated to other service and production departments, a subsequent service department's costs are not allocated back to the original service. To illustrate, using the Birchtree Manufacturing example, the following order of service department allocations has been determined:
Using this order, the Human Resources service is allocated first. Its costs are allocated to the remaining service centers and to the production departments. The Computing Center's costs are allocated next. These costs now include the primary costs of the Computing Center (from stage one) plus an allocation of Human Resources costs (from stage two). Human Resources, having already been allocated, does not receive an allocation of Computing Center costs even though it uses computing services. This means that the “real” total cost of Human Resources is understated because it does not include any Computer Center costs. To minimize this costing error from not making any “backward” allocations of subsequent service center costs to previous service centers, the biggest service is allocated first, with smaller services allocated subsequently.3 The cost allocation worksheet for the step method is illustrated in Exhibit 9-4.
The base used to allocate budgeted Human Resources costs is payroll dollars. The payroll dollars associated with the other departments, along with the amounts of Human Resources costs allocated to each department, are as follows:
The step method allocates the $220,000 of budgeted Human Resources costs to each department using its services, regardless of whether the user is another service department or a production department. Thus, 25 percent ($55,000) of Human Resources costs is allocated to the Computing Center because it represents 25 percent ($50,000 = $200,000 shown in the Payroll Proportion column above) of Birchtree's budgeted factory payroll costs for the departments that are to receive an allocation under the step method.
The second department to have its costs allocated is the Computing Center. A reasonable base is computer time or number of reports. Because the reports all require about the same amount of work and the number of reports is easier to measure than computer time, number of reports is used as the allocation base. The expected number of reports for each department and their proportion of the total for the departments receiving an allocation of Computing Center costs under the step method, together with the amounts of budgeted Computing Center costs allocated to its users, follow:
Notice that the Human Resources Department receives computer reports. These reports are not included in the allocation proportions, however, because no Computing Center costs are allocated “backward” to Human Resources when using the step method.
The Occupancy Services costs are allocated next because this department provides more services to more departments than Engineering, the remaining service department. Occupancy Services costs are generally allocated on the basis of floor space occupied by the departments, although in some situations, a cubic measure may be more appropriate, such as for heating cost in a plant where ceilings are of varying heights. The square footage occupied by each department and the proportions for the departments receiving an allocation of occupancy costs, as well as the amount of budgeted Occupancy Services costs allocated to each, follow:
The budgeted Occupancy Services costs are allocated over a base consisting only of the area occupied by departments that have not yet been allocated. Although Human Resources occupies 1,000 square feet and the Computing Center occupies 900 square feet, no costs are allocated back to these departments. Thus, their areas are not included in the base for allocating Occupancy Services costs, which is 24,100 square feet rather than 26,000 square feet.
Engineering is the last service department to be allocated. Consequently, its costs are allocated only to the production departments. Budgeted Engineering costs, which now include the costs allocated to this department from previous services, are allocated to the production departments as follows:
Compare the budgeted overhead allocated to the two production departments with the direct method (Exhibit 9-3) and the step method (Exhibit 9-4). The step method, being more accurate, allocated more service departments' overhead to the Assembly Department than did the direct method. The direct method understated Assembly Department overhead costs. This means that the Finishing Department absorbed more service departments' overhead than it should have. Consequently, the direct method resulted in the Finishing Department cross-subsidizing the Assembly Department (i.e., the Finishing Department's overhead account includes service department costs that should be assigned to the Assembly Department).
Like the step method, the reciprocal method recognizes that services rendered by certain service departments are used, in part, by other service departments. This method, therefore, allocates services back-and-forth among all departments using the services. Instead of the one-way allocations performed under the step method, this method performs two-way (reciprocal) allocations. The reciprocal method's advantage over the step method is that it recognizes all interrelationships among departments and, therefore, produces more accurate service department cost allocations.
The first step in making reciprocal allocations is to determine the share of each service department's costs that is to be allocated to the other service departments and to the production departments. A spreadsheet program can be used to calculate these percentage shares. Exhibit 9-5, which will be used as a starting point for reciprocal cost allocations, shows each Birchtree Manufacturing department's proportionate usage of the other departments' services.
The percentages in Exhibit 9-5 are used to derive simultaneous equations for calculating the costs of the services rendered. When there are few departments and interrelationships, simultaneous equations can be solved by hand.
With the method of simultaneous equations, the relationships among departments are expressed as a system of linear equations, with one equation for each department. Exhibit 9-6 summarizes the percentages of service department cost allocations from Exhibit 9-5. The percentages in the vertical columns, shown as negative amounts, represent credits to the overhead accounts indicated at the top of the columns. The charges (debits) to other service departments' overhead accounts and to the production departments' overhead accounts are the percentage of the service used multiplied by its cost from the reciprocal solution. The stage one TOH costs of each department are shown in the last column of Exhibit 9-6. The following symbols represent the total cost associated with the departments indicated:
This expression indicates that the Computing Center is to be charged with 25 percent of the cost of Human Resources and 3.5 percent of Occupancy Services plus its DVOH and DFOH costs of $180,000. Formatting all the equations:
The total cost variables x 1 through x6 appear on the left-hand side of the equations, one variable for each equation. On the right-hand side of each equation are the cost variables for each of the remaining departments, multiplied by the appropriate proportions from Exhibits 9-5 and 9-6.
Using a spreadsheet program to solve this system of equations, the secondary cost allocations of service department costs to the producing departments' overhead accounts are shown in Exhibit 9-7a. Note that the Assembly Department's budgeted total overhead equals $656,682, while $213,318 is budgeted for the Finishing Department. The TOH PORs are shown in Exhibit 9-7b. The spreadsheet method is show in the appendix to this chapter.
Neither of the production departments renders services to any of the service departments. Thus, the production departments are not involved in the “vicious circle” of reallocations. The term vicious circle refers to the fact that where service departments are interrelated, it is impossible to know the total cost of department A until the allocation of department B is complete, but the allocation of department B cannot be made until it has received its share of department A's cost.
Compare the total budgeted overhead to be included in each production department's TOH POR using the direct method (Exhibit 9-3), the step method (Exhibit 9-4), and the reciprocal method (Exhibit 9-7). Earlier, the comparison of the direct and step methods indicated that the direct method resulted in the Finishing Department cross-subsidizing the Assembly Department because too much service department costs were allocated to Finishing, while Assembly was undercosted. Now, comparing the step and reciprocal methods reveals that the step method apparently results in the same cross-subsidization costing problem. However, the magnitude of this problem has been greatly reduced. The difference between the step and reciprocal methods' allocations of total service department costs to the production departments' overhead accounts is insignificant.
Seldom, if ever, will overhead costs applied during a period equal the actual overhead costs recorded in the same period. The reason for this disparity is that the actual level of activity is above or below the budgeted level, and/or actual overhead costs are different from estimated overhead costs. Consequently, in some periods actual overhead costs exceed applied overhead costs, and overhead is underapplied. In other periods, applied overhead costs exceed actual overhead, and overhead is overapplied. Several factors can produce under- or over-applied overhead:
The need for overhead cost variance analysis becomes even greater when service departments are present. For proper responsibility accounting and cost management, overhead cost variances need to be traced back to where they are caused. In other words, overhead cost variances for service departments, as well as for production departments, are needed.
Cost variance analysis is very difficult, if not impossible, for two reasons, when percentages are used to allocate total service department costs. First, VOH and FOH are combined into one TOH account, but four-way overhead variance analysis cannot be performed without separate VOH and FOH costs. Second, the percentages based on relative usage normally are recalculated when making actual overhead cost allocations throughout the year.
To illustrate, Birchtree Manufacturing's use of percentages based on the relative usage of services created two problems in evaluating performance. These problems resulted from two events during the year:
In many traditional CASs, the percentages used to allocate a service department's costs are recalculated based on actual data. These recalculated percentages for the Human Resources Department are shown in Exhibit 9-8. Upon seeing the actual overhead cost allocations from the Human Resources Department to the other departments, Birchtree's management made the following performance evaluations:
What happened? First, assume that by keeping their payroll costs at budget, Occupancy Services, Engineering, Assembly, and Finishing used the same amount of Human Resources services as planned. Although they used exactly the amount of services budgeted, all of these departments were rewarded because the amount of overhead allocated to each was less than budgeted, solely due to Computing Services having a larger payroll than originally budgeted. This created the illusion that the departments saved Birchtree some money. Birchtree management rewarded them for something they did not do!
Second, the Computing Services personnel were penalized for being allowed to hire three people. Computing Services may, or may not, have used more Human Resources services than it should have used. But, the CAS does not capture this information. As a result of recalculating the Human Resources allocation percentages based on actual payroll costs, the Computing Services Center is apparently cross-subsidizing the other departments. Both a motivational and an ethical dilemma have resulted.
The problem of a potentially incorrect performance evaluation was caused by recalculating the percentages used to allocate service department costs. Using percentages based on actual payroll costs may not produce a high-quality CAS. Birchtree management also experienced another problem stemming from the amount of Human Resources costs allocated. Originally, the budgeted costs $220,000 were allocated to the user departments. When many traditional CASs recalculate the percentages, they also allocate the actual costs of the services along with these new percentages.General Ledger System Comparisons: Overhead Accounts for Production Departments and Service Departments
In other words, since the Human Resources Department actually spent $280,000, the CAS allocated this amount to the other departments. The CAS did not capture the spending variance created by this service department, nor did the CAS assign the variance to the proper responsibility center. Instead, the CAS allocations buried this cost overrun in the users' accounts! Thus, Birchtree management, not knowing any better, rewarded the Human Resources Department personnel for not showing any cost variances.4
A high-quality CAS will separate VOH and FOH, creating separate accounts and overhead allocations for each department's VOH and FOH. The system used at Birchtree did not. Exhibit 9-9 illustrates the design of a WIP general ledger system that has individual VOH and FOB accounts for production and service departments. Compare this exhibit to Exhibit 8-8.
St. John's Hospital is a relatively small rural hospital located in central Iowa. Its three profit centers arc Services, Obstetrics, and General Services. The hospital calls these billing centers. It has three services: Cafeteria, Administration, and Laundry. The management accountant, Prasid Kalari, has designed a normal P0CAS in which each patient is treated as a job. Even though a normal CAS is used, rather than a standard CAS, cost variances are prepared and reported annually. The CAS has separate VOH and FOH accounts for each billing center and service center.
Variable service department costs are allocated using a budgeted rate. For example, variable costs of the Cafeteria (meals) are allocated using a budgeted rascal rate multiplied by the number of meals eaten in the other responsibility centers. Administration variable costs (files, insurance claims, and so forth) are allocated based on the files processed multiplied by a budgeted rate per file. Laundry variable costs are allocated using the number of loads of laundry processed for each revenue center multiplied by its budgeted rate per load.
The logic behind using a budgeted rate (instead of a percentage) is that these costs are variable. The stable relationship for expressing a variable cost is on a per unit (rate) basis. For example, it should cost so much per meal, or file processed, or load of laundry washed and dried.
The fixed costs of each service are allocated based on percentages. These percentages are calculated from the maximum capacity usage of each service, rather than the actual or budgeted usage, as is done in many traditional CASs. Prasid's rationale is that fixed costs represent the costs of having a certain amount of capacity available. The size of each user of a service, such as the Cafeteria, determines how big that service should be and, therefore, its fixed costs. Allocating the fixed costs by using relative size percentages of the users, in effect, charges the users a flat fee for having the service available. Prasid Kalari prepared a flowchart for making budget allocations at the beginning of an accounting period (BOP) to set PORs and for making end-of-period (FOP) actual overhead cost allocations for performance evaluation. The flowchart is shown in Exhibit 9-10 (see p. 418).
When services are allocated using the step method, the Cafeteria is first, then Administration, and, finally, Laundry. The secondary cost allocation bases for these three services are meals served, files processed, and loads of laundry, respectively. The basis for each billing center's POR is patient-days for the stage three applying overhead to the patients' bills (i.e., to these individual jobs).
A high-quality CAS also recognizes that VOH and FOH are caused by different activities, even for the same department. Thus, VOH and FOH should be allocated differently. The above Saint John's Hospital example has a high-quality CAS for overhead responsibility accounting.
In developing the service departments' budgets, Prasid felt it was important to involve all those responsible for the costs and their control. Accordingly, each department head had to coordinate plans with the others, sharing information so that the budgeting process could be efficiently and effectively performed. For example, the heads of the three billing centers and the other two service departments provided the Cafeteria manager with the meals they expected to eat given their budgeted patient-days for the upcoming year. Similarly, the budgeted files and the budgeted loads of laundry also were determined, based on the budgeted patient days for the billing centers.
In allocating the fixed service center costs, Prasid obtained information about the size of the various departments from the head of hospital administration. With this information, the various department heads prepared their DVOH and DFOH budgets. Prasid then collected the budget information and input it into the Data Section of his spreadsheet program shown in Exhibit 9-11 (see p. 419). The Data Section for Budget Allocations has two parts, one for VOH and one for FOH. The first line of each part (“Budgeted DVOH” and “Budgeted DFOH") represent the budgeted direct variable and fixed costs of each service department along with the budgeted DVOH and DFOH for each billing center.
The Cafeteria can be used to demonstrate how th e VOH service department rates are calculated in the Solution Section for VOH Allocations. From line two in the Data Section, the Cafeteria manager is budgeting to serve 37,500 meals (1,000 to Administration, 500 to Laundry personnel, none to outpatients, 6,000 to OB patients, and 30,000 to general patients). She budgeted variable food preparation costs of $71,250 for this volume of meals (line one in the Data Section). Dividing this budgeted DVOH by the budgeted meals produces the Meal Rate shown in the Solution Section. The meals' variable costs should be $1.90 per meal. Using this budgeted meal rate, the cafeteria's variable meal costs can be allocated to the other departments based on the number of meals each has planned:
The File Rate and Laundry Rate are calculated in a similar way. The File Rate is 0.50 $/per file processed, and the Laundry Rate is 4.00 $/per load5. As with the meal allocations, these rates are multiplied by the budgeted number of files and loads of laundry, respectively, in each user department to receive an allocation under the step method. Using the budgeted rates for the services multiplied by the budgeted amount of services to be provided, all the variable service department costs are allocated into the VOH accounts of the three billing,departments. Once the total VOH for each billing department is known, the VOH PORs can be prepared. Each outpatient is billed $3.05 for VOH, each OB patient is billed $9.35 per day, and each patient in the General Wing of St. John's Hospital is billed $7.00 per day.
Fixed service department costs are allocated to producing departments (billing centers in the hospital) based on the relative size of each user. To demonstrate this, the number of meals that could be eaten by each user department if operating at full capacity is used to determine “relative size ratios” for each user department. For the cafeteria, these ratios are as follows:
With these relative size ratios, the cafeteria's budgeted fixed costs ($48,000) can be allocated to the various users of this service. Combining the VOH and FOH allocations, each user is contracting to receive a particular service for a mixed cost.6 The FOH allocations represent the fixed cost of having this service available for its users. The VOH allocations represent the incremental cost of using one more unit of that service. The allocated costs of the Cafeteria that should be used by the other departments in budgeting their VOH costs are as follows:
In effect, each user is contracting for a specific amount of service at a contracted cost (expressed by the Cafeteria's cost equation for each user). These budgeted (contracted) amounts will be used in the actual overhead cost allocations and cost variances presented in the following sections.
Each user of a service contracts to buy that service for a specific price, such as $1.90 per meal for the Cafeteria. As shown in the Data Section for Actual Cost Allocations in Exhibit 9-12, the actual variable and fixed costs, along with the actual usage of each service, are input. The first two amounts under the “Cafeteria” column are the actual variable Cafeteria costs and the actual meals served. From these two amounts, the actual variable cost of a meal is $2.00 ($80,000 - 40,000 meals). However, the users only contracted to pay $1.90 per meal, and that is all they should have to pay. It is the Cafeteria manager's responsibility to control these costs. If more is spent in preparing meals than was budgeted, this “spending” variance should remain within the Cafeteria VOH account
The number of meals eaten, however, is the responsibility of the user departments. Therefore, their allocated actual variable meal costs are calculated as the budgeted meal rate multiplied by the actual meals eaten.7 In this way, the users assume responsibility for the usage of services (i.e., the number of meals they actually ate), and the provider of the service assumes responsibility for the cost of providing that service.
To illustrate this for the cafeteria costs, there was a $0.10 per meal unfavorable variable cost spending variance ($1.90/meal standard rate versus the $2.00/meal actual rate) for each of the 40,000 actual meals served. This $4,000 unfavorable spending variance is the responsibility of the Cafeteria manager, and this allocation method keeps the spending variance within the Cafeteria's VOH account.8 The $4,000 ending (debit, underapplied) overhead balance in the Cafeteria's VOH account is shown on the “Ending VOH Balance” line of the Solution Section for VOH Allocations in Exhibit 9-12.9
Actual fixed service department costs are not really allocated to the using depart-ments. Instead, the budgeted FOH is allocated. During the budgeting process, the departments using services contracted to pay for these services as a mixed cost. Using a budgeted VOH rate, users pay for the actual meals eaten, files processed, or loads of laundry done. With respect to the fixed costs of having a service available, each user contracted to pay a fair share of the budgeted fixed cost. From the users' perspective, they should only have to pay the budgeted rate (multiplied by the actual amount of services used) and the budgeted fixed cost. Accordingly, they should only have to pay the budgeted fixed cost agreed to in the service's cost equation developed as part of the POR and budgeting process. In other words, only the budgeted fixed cost should be allocated to the users of a service. Any difference between the actual FOH and budgeted FOH should remain in the service's FOH account as an FOH budget (spending) variance.
To illustrate this for the Cafeteria's fixed costs, the ending balance in its FOH account is $2,000. From the FOH Allocations in the Solution Section in Exhibit 9-12, actual fixed cafeteria costs were $50,000 against a budget of $48,000. The $2,000 unfavorable FOH budget variance is the responsibility of the Cafeteria manager, and, as with a VOH spending variance, this amount remains in the Cafeteria's account. it is not allocated to the users and buried in the cost of their overhead. In Administration, $33,040 was budgeted for primary (direct) fixed costs. Actual DFOH was $31,040, yielding a $2,000 favorable FOH budget variance for Administration. This variance (overapplied overhead is a credit balance) remains in the Administration FOH account. For Laundry, $59,520 was budgeted and spent for DFOH, so that service center has no ending FOH account balance.
In summary, by allocating the same amounts at both the beginning of the year and the end of the year, any FOH spending variance remains in the service center FOH account responsible for it. Which cost variances comprise the ending FOH account balance?
There is no FOH volume variance for the service departments because an FOH POR is not used to allocate service department FOH to other services and production departments. A service's FOH is allocated using the lump-sum amounts budgeted for each user. There is an FOH volume variance, though, in the production department FOH accounts because a rate (FOH POR) is used to apply FOH to individual products. FOH needs to be absorbed into each products' cost and sales price so that total sales revenues are sufficient to pay for the total FOH costs. The FOH POR is multiplied by the volume of its basis in allocating FOH to products. If more products are made than budgeted, more FOH will be allocated than budgeted (resulting in a favorable volume variance).
In reconciling the ending overhead account balances and breaking down the balances into their underlying cost variances, Prasid Kalari prepared the analyses shown in Exhibits 9-13 and 9-14 (see p. 424 and p. 426). Exhibit 9-13 contains the cost variances for the service departments that are discussed in the following paragraphs.
A service department's overhead account balances are made up of its direct (primary) costs spending variances and usage variances for any services allocated to it. Since the Cafeteria is the first service department, no previous service costs are allocated to it. Its overhead account ending balances can only consist of the two variances above, totalling <$6,000>.10
ADMINISTRATION COST VARIANCES. Administration's VOH account balance can be made up of two cost variances, the DVOH spending variance and a Cafeteria usage variance. Its FOH balance consists of only one variance, the DFOH budget variance.
The $0.50 budgeted file rate (Exhibit 9-12) consists of $0.405 per file for DVOH ($8,100 - 20,000 budgeted files) and $0.095 per file for variable meal costs ($1,900 - 20,000 files). The actual DVOH rate is $6,210 _ 18,000 actual files ($0.345). These calculations are shown in the Administration section of Exhibit 9-13.
The standard quantity of meals per file is 0.05 (1,000 budgeted meals / 20,000 budgeted files). This manager budgeted 1,000 meals to be eaten if 20,000 files are planned to be processed. Thus, 20 files should be processed for each meal eaten. Since 18,000 files were actually processed, only 900 meals (the SQA) should have been eaten.
LAUNDRY SERVICES COST VARIANCES. As the third service department in the step method allocation order, Laundry Services' VOH account balance can consist of three variances: its DVOH spending variance and usage variances for each of the two services allocated to it. Its FOH balance consists of the DFOH budget variance.
The number of files that should have been processed for the loads of laundry actually done (SQA) is 1, 500 (SQ of 0.15 files per load multiplied by the 10,000 actual loads). The SQ for files is 1,500 budgeted files - 10,000 budgeted loads. There is no FOH ending balance for Laundry Services because its budgeted and actual DFOH are $59,520.
Exhibit 9-14 (see p. 426) reports the overhead cost variances for each of the billing departments. The VOH variances can include a direct VOH spending variance for each billing department and usage variances for each service allocated to it. The FOH variances include a direct FOH budget variance and a volume variance for each billing department. These variances are calculated below.
For outpatient treatments, planning called for 3,000 files to be processed for 6,000 patient-days (Exhibit 9-11), yielding a standard quantity of 0.5 files per patient-day and an SQA of 3,250 files for the 6,500 actual patient-days.
From the budgeted information in the Data Section of Exhibit 9-11, the loads of laundry planned (1,200) for the budgeted patient-days (6,000) yields a standard quantity of 0.2 loads per patient-day. For the actual 6,500 patient-days incurred, then, 1,300 loads should have been done.
The volume variance arises because FOH has to be absorbed into the cost of each patient-day. In other words, the FOH has to be billed to all the patients by breaking it down into a rate per patient-day. This is absorption costing. The FOH volume variance only arises with absorption costing. There are no volume variances for the service departments' FOH allocations because a rate is not needed to allocate service department FOH to the production departments' FOH accounts.
products (stage three allocations), but not needed for service -to -producion department (stage two) allocations? The number of departments receiving a service's FOH allocation is known. Therefore, a lump-sum amount can be allocated to each. if the number of patient-days could be known with certainty, then a lump-sum amount of FOH could be applied to each department. But, because sales and production volumes are not known when budgeting, an FOH POR must he calculated based on the estimated volumes. When the estimated and actual volumes do not agree, an FOH volume variance results.
OBSTETRICS AND GENERAL OVERHEAD COST VARIANCES. The cost variances of the Obstetrics and General Billing departments are calculated in the same way as for the Outpatient Treatment center, and, therefore, will not be reproduced here.” The VOH account for Obstetrics contains four cost variances: the DVOH spending variance ($5,000 favorable) and a meal usage variance ($1,140 unfavorable), file usage variance ($150 unfavorable), and laundry usage variance ($400 unfavorable). The DFOH budget variance for Obstetrics is $43,262 unfavorable, and the FOH volume variance is $40,000 favorable.
The same variances exist in the VOH and FOH accounts for the General Wing of St. John's Hospital. These variances include a DVOH spending variance ($48,645 favorable), meal usage variance ($5,700 unfavorable), file usage variance ($960 favorable), laundry usage variance ($1,400 unfavorable), direct FOH budget variance ($4,744 favorable), and FOH volume variance ($45,000 unfavorable).
Prasid Kalari developed a normal JOCAS for St. John's Hospital, but cost variances were calculated and reported annually. An SCAS could have been used. How would an SCAS differ from the normal JOCAS used by Kalari? In an SCAS, cost variances are journalized into separate subsidiary WIP accounts for each responsibility center. These “level three” accounts within WIP were first introduced in Chapter 8 (Exhibit 8-8). When service departments are present, each will have its own cost variance accounts just like the production departments' cost variance accounts.
In journalizing service department VOH cost variances, the stage two amounts allocated to production departments are calculated by using the budgeted rates multiplied by the standard quantity of the service allowed, rather than the actual quantity of the service used. Accordingly, instead of including the usage variances for services within the using department's VOH account balance, these can be journalized to that department's cost variance accounts if using an SCAS. When the actual amount of a service is used to allocate VOH, the usage variance remains within the user's VOH and FOH accounts as ending under- or over-applied overhead.
As long as cost variances are properly calculated and reported to the correct responsibility centers, whether or not they are journalized into special accounts (as with an SCAS) is not critical for effective cost management. The important attribute of a high-quality overhead accounting system is that the cost variances are reported to the proper responsibility centers. This reporting should be timely enough to allow corrective actions and operational control. It is unlikely that St. John's annual reporting will promote operational control actions if cost variances are only reported annually.
Overhead represents the indirect costs of making a product or providing a service. These costs, which are becoming a more significant portion of the total manufacturing costs as enterprises automate processes, need to be accounted for in a way that promotes accurate product costing and cost management. Traditionally, CASs were designed primarily for financial reporting. All overhead items were (and still are in many manufacturers) journalized into one TOH account, and one TOH POR was created to apply these costs to production.
To understand and control overhead, and to measure the costs of making a product more accurately, multiple overhead accounts are needed. Each overhead account should have a POR that applies that overhead based on the activities that cause it.
Separate overhead accounts can be created for VOH and FOH and for each production and service department. This allows overhead costs and their cost variances to be directly traced to responsibility centers. In addition to facilitating control over these costs, separate PORs can more accurately apply VOH and FOH based on their different causes.
Accumulating primary costs in departmental overhead accounts is the first stage in overhead accounting. The second stage involves secondary overhead cost allocations from service departments to other service and production departments using those services. Variable and fixed service costs should be allocated using a basis that represents their usage. Once all overhead costs have been allocated into production department VOH and. FOH accounts, then (stage three) these costs can be applied to products as they pass through the production departments.
WIP consists of two “levels” of subsidiary accounts in a normal PCAS or JOCAS. These are the product cost accounts (jobs or production departments) and overhead accounts. Product costs are level one accounts. Overhead accounts are level two accounts. SCASs add a third level of subsidiary accounts, as discussed in Learning Objective 4.
The overhead accounts consist of two control accounts, one for VOH and one for FOH. Within the VOH and FOH control accounts, there are separate accounts for each production and service department. Using multiple overhead accounts enables these costs to be accumulated according to the departments that are responsible for their management and control.
Using proper allocation techniques (summarized in the next learning objective), a more accurate product cost can result. By analyzing the ending balances in each over-head account, the CAS can also provide cost variance information to promote cost management.
The reciprocal method, using simultaneous equations, allocates service department costs back-and-forth between services. Accordingly, it is considered to provide the most accurate product cost. The allocations can be performed with a fairly simple spreadsheet program, although the circular error problem may require the use of matrix algebra or linear programming as the number of services increases.
The reciprocal method allocates service costs based on the percentages of services used by other departments. For better cost management information, separate allocations should be made for VOH and FOH. The variable service costs should be allocated with a budgeted rate (summarized under the next objective). The fixed service costs should be allocated using percentages based on the relative size of each user in terms of the service rendered. These relative size ratios are calculated using the maximum amount of the service that could be requested by each user if it is operating at full production capacity.
To calculate overhead cost variances properly, service department variable costs should be allocated using a FOR. By using a POR, the DVOH spending variance can be isolated within the responsibility center's VOH account. Fixed overhead should be allocated using relative size ratios. This allows the DFOH budget variance to be isolated within the departmental overhead account responsible for controlling the cost of that service.
Within a normal CAS, service department variable costs are allocated using the actual quantity of the service instead of the SQA. This moves the services' usage variances to the VOH accounts of the departments using those services. The ending balances in the VOH accounts of each service and production department will then include that department's DVOH spending variance, as well as usage variances for each service used by it. The ending over- and underapplied overhead balances in each service and production department's account are analyzed in terms of the overhead cost variances that make up those ending balances.
With an SCAS, the variances are journalized into the variance accounts for each department. Thus, VOH and FOH cost variances are moved out of the service and production department VOH and FOH accounts. With an SCAS, then, there are no ending over- or underapplied overhead account balances.
Note that the diagonal with the 1s shows negative numbers [-1] for all service department row-by-column intersections. This indicates that 100% of costs are being transfered out of the service departments. The diagonal shows positive numbers  for the row-by-column intersections for production departments. This indicates that 100% of costs are being transfered into production departments.
The next step is to invert the matrix. In Excel you move your cursor below the original matrix and highlight an empty area the same size as the original matrix. This creates the output area. For this problem you would create a 6-by-6 output area since you do not include the titles or check figures at the bottom. Next, type “=minverse(“ and then move our cursor up to the original matrix and highlight it. Then press cntl-shift-enter at the same time. The following matrix will appear:
The last step is to write equations to multiply the costs imes the inverted matrix. This is a good test of your equation-writing skills. If you use absolute and relative referencing properly you can write 1 equation and paste it into all 36 cells to get the following answer [The last column is a sum of the first 6 columns]:
The last column represents the total costs transfered out or into all departments. Negative numbers indicate a transfer out and positive numbers indicate a transfer in. With these numbers you can reconstruct Exhibit 9-7. In general you only need the shaded numbers for OH cost allocation. These are the numbers that will be used to compute the PORs. Notice that the amount transfered out [$1,087,023] is greater than the amount transfered in. This is correct because this method computes the amount transfered out by including all costs transfered in. Explaining this to a non-numerate colleague is difficult and may be a reason to not show them the complete results.
Use the information from St. John's Hospital in Exhibit 9-11 to calculate VOH and FOH PORs for each of its three billing departments. Allocate the variable service department costs using a budgeted rate for each service based on budgeted cost of the service and budgeted demand. The FOH allocations should be based on relative size ratios. Discuss the differences that result from the direct method and the step method.
The solution is presented below and on top of the next page. The same spreadsheet program used for the step method in Exhibit 9-11 can be used for the direct method. The difference between the two methods is that with.the direct method, no service department costs are allocated to other service departments.
This is reflected in the Data Section by inputting zero meals and zero files for Administration and Laundry Services. As can he seen in the VOH and FOH Solution Sections, no service department costs are allocated to other services. Instead they are directly allocated to the billing departments.
Because no Cafeteria or Administrative Services costs were allocated to other service departments, the meal rate increased. It now represents a rate based just on the meals eaten in the billing departments. The file and laundry rates decreased from the step method rates, for the same reason (no inter-service allocations). No previous service department costs are included in the direct method rates for these (subsequent) services. The FOH allocations also changed from the step method amounts for the same reason.
The ultimate effect on the VOH, FOH, and TOH PORS appears negligible in this example. But, this may not always be the case. If these allocations are done manually, then the direct method, which is easier, may provide accurate enough PORs and product costs. Alternatively, if a spreadsheet program is used, it takes no more time to input the raw data necessary for the step method. Since it produces more accurate cost allocations and PORs, the step method seems the logical choice.
A word of caution is in order. The spreadsheet program is formatted to display all allocations rounded to the nearest whole dollar. The rate cells are formatted to display dollars and cents. For example, the meal rate is $1.979167. When doing these calculations manually, using $1.98 will produce slightly different amounts. Additionally, this formatting choice appears to create some minor addition errors. For example, the outpatient VOH and FOH really sum to $59,947 (rounded). But, $17,910 + $42,038 = $59,948. The modern management accountant understands that this is not an addition error in the program, and is not bothered by this. It is simply a rounding problem created by the formatting option used and is of no real consequence.
Using the following new raw data for St. John's Hospital, calculate VOH and FOH PORs for each of its three billing departments. Allocate the variable service department costs using a budgeted rate for each service based on the budgeted cost of the service and budgeted demand. The FOH allocations should be based on relative size ratios.
Using the following new raw data for St. John's Hospital, allocate actual service department costs to each of its three billing departments. Allocate the actual variable service department costs using a budgeted rate for each service (based on the budgeted cost of the service and budgeted demand from Demonstration Problem 2) and actual demand. The FOH allocations should be based on relative size ratios.
2. The overhead cost allocation method that usually starts with the service depart-ment rendering services to the greatest number of other service departments and progresses in descending order to the service department rendering service to the smallest number of other service departments is the:
6. The janitorial department provides cleaning services to all departments of a large store. Management wishes to allocate the janitorial costs to the various sales departments that benefit from this service. What would be the most reasonable allocation base for janitorial services?
9.43 Allocation of service department costs by the direct and step methods. [AICPA adapted] Thomas Manufacturing Company has two producing departments, Fabrication and Assem-bly, and three service departments, General Factory Administration, Factory Main-tenance, and Factory Cafeteria. A summary of costs and other data for each department prior to allocation of service department costs for the year ended June 30, 20x2, follows:
The costs of General Factory Administration, Factory Maintenance, and Factory Cafeteria are allocated on the basis of direct labor hours, square footage occupied, and number of employees, respectively. Round all final calculations to the nearest dollar.
9.46 Allocation of service department costs using the direct step, and reciprocal methods. [AICPA adapted] Hartwell Company distributes service department overhead costs directly to producing departments without allocation to the other service departments. Informa-tion for the month of January follows:
9.47 Allocation of service department costs using the direct method. A hospital has a $100,000 expected utility bill this year. The Janitorial, Accounting, and Orderlies Departments are service functions to the Operating, Hospital Rooms, and Labora-tories Departments. Floor space is assigned to each department as follows:
9.48 Service department allocations with separate VOH and FOH PORs. Illinois Electric produces electricity from the Chicago River. The electricity is carried over electric lines to four branch stations. Using the information below and the step method, calculate VOH and FOH PORs based on DLhr for each branch station.
the Maintenance Department of WonderWorks, Inc., budgeted variable costs of $9,000 and fixed costs of $4,500. The Maintenance Department serves three production departments: Grinding, Polishing, and Assembly. Maintenance direct labor hours are used to allocate its overhead to the production departments. The following information is available:
9.50 Single and separate allocations of budgeted service department costs. During April, the Accounts Receivable Department budgeted $20,000 in variable costs and $50,000 in fixed costs. Credit sales of the four retail branches are used to allocate these costs. Budgeted credit sales information includes the following:
9.51 Ethical considerations in overhead allocation. In Chapter 1, four ethical standards for management accounting were identified. What are the implications of each in designing an overhead allocation system?
9.52 High-quality information about overhead. Consider each characteristic of high-quality information presented in Chapter 1. What implications does each have for the design of a high-quality CAS for reporting overhead?
9.53 Service departments and JITs. Design a WIP general ledger system for a JIT. The CAS should be high quality. Consider the value of service department allocations to JIT cells and the need for service department cost variance information. If you do not believe allocations should be made to JIT cells or believe that cost variance information is not needed, then what information should be provided by the CAS, to whom, and how?
9.55 Spreadsheet programs for budgeted service department allocations. Construct a spreadsheet program that will perform step method allocations for calculating VOH and FOH PORs. Variable service department costs should be allocated based on the budgeted rates developed_ Fixed costs should be allocated using relative size ratios. Test your program using the information from Demonstration Problem 2.
9.56 Spreadsheet programs for actual service department cost allocations. Construct a spreadsheet program that will perform step method allocations for actual VOH and FOH costs. Test the program using the information front Demonstration Problems 2 and 3.
9.57 Spreadsheet programs for direct method allocations. Using the information from Demonstration Problems 2 and 3, construct a spreadsheet program that will perform direct method allocations for budgeted and actual service department costs. Variable and fixed costs should be allocated separately as was done in Demonstra-tion Problem 1.
9.58 Comprehensive allocation of costs. Barnes Company has two service departments and three production departments, each producing a separate product. For a number of years, Barnes has allocated service department costs to the production departments on the basis of the annual sales revenue dollars. In a recent audit report, the internal auditor stated that the distribution of service department costs on the basis of annual sales dollars would lead to serious inequities. The auditor suggested that maintenance and engineering service hours would be a better service cost allocation basis. For illustrative purposes, the following information was appended to the audit report:
9.59 Comprehensive allocation of costs. The managers of Rochester Manufacturing are discussing ways to allocate the cost of service departments such as Quality Control and Maintenance to the production departments. To aid them in this discussion, the controller has provided the following information:
9.60 Development of predetermined overhead rates. Marfrank Corporation is a manufacturing company with six functional departments-Finance, Marketing, Personnel, Production, Research and Development (R&D), and Information Systems-each administered by a vice president. The Information Systems Department (ISD) was established in 20x3 when Marfrank decided to acquire a new mainframe computer and develop a new information system.
While systems development and implementation is an ongoing process at Marfrank, many of the basic systems needed by each of the functional departments were operational at the end of 20x4. Thus, calendar year 20x5 is considered the first year when the ISD costs can be estimated with a high degree of accuracy. Marfrank's president wants the other five functional departments to be aware of the magnitude of the ISD costs by reflecting the allocation of ISD costs in the reports and statements prepared at the end of the first quarter of 20x5. The allocation of ISD costs to each of the departments was based on their actual use of ISD services.
Jon Werner, vice president of ISD, suggested that the actual costs of ISD be allocated on the basis of pages of actual computer output. He suggested this basis because all of the departments use reports in evaluating their operations and making decisions. The use of this basis resulted in the following allocation:
After the quarterly reports were distributed, the Finance and Marketing Departments objected to this allocation method. Both departments recognized that they were responsible for most of the output in terms of reports, but they believed that these output costs might be the smallest of ISD costs and requested that a more equitable allocation basis be developed.
After meeting with Werner, Elaine Jergens, Marfrank's controller, concluded that 1SD provided three distinct services-systems development, computer processing represented by central processing unit (CPU) time, and report generation. She recommended that a predetermined rate he developed for each of these services from budgeted annual activity and costs. The ISD costs would then be assigned to the other functional departments using the predetermined rate times the actual activity used. Any difference between actual costs incurred and costs allocated to the other departments would be absorbed by ISD.
Jergens and Werner concluded that systems development could he charged on the basis of hours devoted to systems development and programming, computer processing based on CPU time used for operations (exclusive of database development and maintenance), and report generation based on pages of output. The only cost that should not he included in any of the predetermined rates would be purchased software; these packages were usually acquired for a specific department's use. Thus, Jergens concluded that purchased software would be charged at cost to the department for which it was purchased. In order to revise the first quarter allocation, Jergens gathered the information on ISD costs and services shown on the next page:
b. With the method proposed by Elaine Jergens for charging the ISD costs to the other five functional departments, there may be a difference between ISD's actual costs incurred and the costs assigned to the five user departments. 1. Explain the nature of this difference.
2. Notice in the exhibit that the term allocated is used for the assignment of service department costs to production departments. But, the term applied is used to describe the assignment of production department overhead costs to the final cost objects; that is, the products manufactured or services performed by the organization.
3. In some situations, a certain service department allocation order must be used, regardless of the relative amounts of services provided. This is true in Medicare reimbursement claims by hospitals. All hospitals are required by law to use the same allocation order. Technically, however, the most accurate allocations result from ordering services by the amount of services provided to the other service departments. This order may not always be the same as ordering service departments from highest to lowest budgeted cost.
4. When the Computing Services employees found out that everyone got bonuses but them, they quickly figured out why. If the three new people had not been hired, then none of the rewards everyone else received at the expense of Computing Services would have happened. The three new computer people were ostracized and finally quit Birchtree even though they had promising careers. On their way out, they sabotaged the CAS allocation program, which they saw as the real reason for their lost jobs.
5. File Rate: $8,100 in DVOH Administrative Services costs plus an allocation of $1,900 from the Cafeteria, divided by 20,000 budgeted files to be processed by the remaining user departments. Laundry Rate: $38,300 in DVOH costs plus a Cafeteria allocation of $950 and an Administration Services allocation of $750, divided by 10,000 budgeted loads of laundry.
7. Allocating overhead using a predetermined rate and the actual volume used is a feature of a normal CAS. A standard CAS uses SQA, not the actual volume. These topics were discussed in Chapter 4 (“Cost Measurement Issues”) and Chapter 8 (“Variable Costs Usage Variances,” and “SCAS Journal Entries”).
8. The formula for a variable cost spending variance from Chapter 8 is AQp x (SP - AP). For the cafeteria, 40,000 actual meals eaten x ($1.901meal - $2.001meal) _ <$4,000> unfavorable. An unfavorable variance is a debit to the overhead account, as it represents an extra cost. An unfavorable variance represents underapplied overhead.
9. In Exhibit 9-12, the lines titled “Less: Patient Charges” represent the VOn and FOH applied. In the case of a hospital, rather than applying overhead to individual products (as in a manufacturing firm), overhead is billed to patients.
10. You may he confused because Exhibit 9-13 presents unfavorable cost variances in brackets (i.e., as negative amounts, such as the $6,000 for the Cafeteria). But, Exhibit 9-12 shows the $6,000 ending balance in the Cafeteria's account without brackets. The reason for the different presentation is that unfavorable cost variances are debit balances in the general ledger. Debit balances are normally presented as positive (unbracketed) values. Also remember that ending debit balances in overhead accounts are underapplied overhead.