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Cost Accounting For Dummies


Learn to:

  • Master important cost accounting concepts
  • Apply your skills with real-world examples
  • Score your highest in a cost accounting course

Get a grip on cost accounting? Easy.

Cost Accounting For Dummies tracks to a typical cost accounting course and provides in-depth explanations and reviews of the essential concepts you'll encounter in your studies: how to define costs as direct materials, direct labor, fixed overhead, variable overhead, or period costs; how to use allocation methodology to assign costs to products and services; how to evaluate the need for capital expenditures; how to design a budget model that forecasts changes in costs based on expected activity levels; and more.

  • Cost Accounting 101 — find out how cost accounting relates to other areas of accounting, which types of costs are most important, and step-by-step explanations on cost-volume-profit and activity-based costing
  • Plan for it — take a stroll through the budgeting process, analyze the differences between your budget and actual results using variances, and get the lowdown on overhead costs
  • Make good decisions — get the scoop on cost drivers — and how they determine product price — to make good decisions in running a business
  • Take action — discover how to allocate costs, analyze business profitability, use shared resources, and more

Open the book and find:

  • Cost accounting terms and their purposes
  • How to use cost-volume-profit analysis
  • The hows and whats of activity-based costing
  • Why budgeting is important
  • The concept of relevance in cost accounting
  • Considerations for process costing
  • How to search for measures of quality

Ken Boyd is a former CPA with over 27 years of experience in accounting, education, and financial services. Ken is the owner of St. Louis Test Preparation ( He provides online tutoring in accounting and finance to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Introduction 1

Part I: Understanding the Fundamentals of Costs  7

Chapter 1: So You Want to Know about Cost Accounting 9

Chapter 2: Brushing Up on Cost Accounting Basics 19

Chapter 3: Using Cost-Volume-Profi t Analysis to Plan Your Business Results 31

Chapter 4: Estimating Costs with Job Costing 47

Chapter 5: More Activity, More Cost: Activity-Based Costing 65

Part II: Planning and Control  81

Chapter 6: What’s the Plan, Stan? Budgeting for a Better Bottom Line 83

Chapter 7: Constant Change: Variance Analysis 103

Chapter 8: Focusing on Overhead Costs125

Chapter 9: What’s on the Shelf? Inventory Costing 139

Part III: Making Decisions  159

Chapter 10: Cost Drivers and Cost Estimation Methods 161

Chapter 11: Making Smart Business Decisions with Relevant Information 173

Chapter 12: Making Smart Pricing Decisions: Figuring Total Costs 193

Part IV: Allocating Costs and Resources  211

Chapter 13: Analysis Methods to Improve Profitability 213

Chapter 14: Behind the Scenes: Accounting for Support Costs and Common Costs 231

Chapter 15: Joint Costs, Separable Costs, and Using Up the Leftovers 255

Chapter 16: Tracing Similar Products with Process Costing 271

Part V: Considering Quality Issues  293

Chapter 17: What a Waste! Getting the Most from Spoilage, Scrap, and Reworked Products 295

Chapter 18: Making Smart Ordering Decisions 317

Chapter 19: Quality: Building a Better Mousetrap 337

Part VI: The Part of Tens  355

Chapter 20: Ten Common Costing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them 357

Chapter 21: Ten Ways to Increase Profits Using Costing 363

Index 367