Period Costs vs Product Costs: What’s the Difference?

Product costs are often treated as inventory and are referred to as “inventoriable costs” because these costs are used to value the inventory. When products are sold, the product costs become part of costs of goods sold as shown in the income statement. The preceding list of period costs should make it clear that most of the administrative costs of a business can be considered period costs. To quickly identify if a cost is a period cost or product cost, ask the question, “Is the cost directly or indirectly related to the production of products?

  • Most of the components of a manufactured item will be raw materials that, when received, are recorded as inventory on the balance sheet.
  • These expenses have no relation to the inventory or production process but are incurred on a regular basis, regardless of the level of production.
  • Also, fixed and variable costs may be calculated differently at different phases in a business’s life cycle or accounting year.
  • One must decide whether an expense is directly tied to the manufacturing process of inventories or not.
  • While using accounting software is the best method for managing costs, even if you’re still recording transactions in a manual ledger or using a spreadsheet application, you can learn to manage business costs properly.

Whether the calculation is for forecasting or reporting affects the appropriate methodology as well. After all closing entries are made, the company will be ready to run its financial reports for that accounting period. Closing a period may take days, weeks, or even months into the next accounting period, and two periods can run simultaneously as the previous period is closed out. A calendar year with respect to accounting periods indicates that an entity begins aggregating accounting records on the first day of January and subsequently stops the accumulation of data on the last day of December.

Product Costs Template

For example, the accrual method of accounting requires the depreciation of a fixed asset over the life of the asset. This recognition of expenses over numerous accounting periods enables relative comparability across the periods as opposed to a complete expense when the item was paid for. These costs are identified as being either direct materials, direct labor, or factory overheads, and they are traceable or assignable to products.

  • Product costs (also known as inventoriable costs) are costs assigned to products.
  • Period expenses are usually calculated by adding together all expected payments for a period, then subtracting any amounts that were paid early.
  • For example, a company may earn revenue prior to receiving cash if it allows customers to make purchases on credit.
  • Period costs are costs that cannot be capitalized on a company’s balance sheet.
  • However, by spreading the expense over the useful life of the fixed asset, it better matches the expense to its related revenue.

This inventory remains as an asset until the goods are sold, at which point the inventory is gone, and the cost of the inventory is transferred to cost of goods sold on the income statement. The costs that are not classified as product costs are known as period costs. These costs are not part of the manufacturing process and are, therefore, treated as expense for the period in which they arise. Period costs are not attached to products and the company does not need to wait for the sale of its products to recognize them as expense on income statement.

In a manufacturing organization, an important distinction exists between product costs and period costs. In a manufacturing organization, an important difference exists between product costs and period costs. Now that we have taken a bird’s eye view of the matching principal, let’s look into the meanings of and difference between product costs and period costs.

What is the benefit of classifying costs as products or periods?

Since they are not GAAP-compliant, cost accounting cannot be used for a company’s audited financial statements released to the public. Traditionally, overhead costs are assigned based on one generic measure, such as machine hours. Under ABC, an activity analysis is performed where appropriate measures are identified as the cost drivers.

Comparing Product Costs and Period Costs

A period cost is any cost consumed during a reporting period that has not been capitalized into inventory, fixed assets, or prepaid expenses. There are types of period costs that may not be included in the financial statements but are still monitored by the management. Period costs are expensed on the income statement when they are incurred. When a company spends money on an advertising campaign, it debits advertising expense and credits cash. Product costs, on the other hand, are expenses that are incurred to manufacture a good and can typically be traced back to a specific product.

What are product costs?

Some materials (such as glue and thread used in manufacturing furniture) may become part of the finished product, but tracing those materials to a particular product would require more effort than is sensible. Such materials, called indirect materials or supplies, are included in manufacturing overhead. Indirect materials are materials used in the manufacture of a product that cannot, or will not for practical reasons, be traced directly to the product being manufactured. Period costs are costs that are not involved directly in the manufacturing process of inventories. In other words, they are the expenses paid on non-manufacturing activities.

For How Long Are Period Costs Recorded?

The cash may actually be spent on an item that will be incurred later, like insurance. It is important to understand through the accrual method of accounting, that expenses and income should be recognized when incurred, not necessarily when they are paid or cash received. If you manufacture a product, these costs would include direct materials and labor along with manufacturing overhead. Most of the components of a manufactured item will be raw materials that, when received, are recorded as inventory on the balance sheet.

These costs include items that are not related directly to the primary function of a business, such as paying utility bills or filing legal suits. Knowing how much money a business spends on periods of expenses helps its owners and managers understand where their cash flows from operations come from and where they go when operations end up with cash deficits. One must decide whether an expense is directly tied to the manufacturing process of inventories or not. Another way to identify period costs is to establish what doesn’t qualify as such. If that reporting period is over a fiscal quarter, then the period cost would also be three months.


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