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Process Costing: Meaning, Characteristics, and Objectives

Process Costing Meaning Characteristics and Objectives

Process Costing is a method of costing used to ascertain the cost of a product at each process or stage of manufacture. You will be able to understand the Process Costing based on the points given to them; 1) introduction, 2) meaning of process costing, 3) definition of process costing, 4) characteristics of process costing, 5) objectives of process costing, and 6) principles of process costing. In this method, the costs of materials, wages and overheads are accumulated for each process separately, for a gives period, and then carrying forward cumulatively from one process to the next process till the last process complete.

This article explains the topic of Process Costing: Introduction, Meaning, Definition, Characteristics, Objectives, and Principles.

Process costing is probably the most widely used method of cost ascertainment. Records are also maintaining to account for process losses. These losses may be normal or abnormal. Separate accounting is done for normal and abnormal losses, opening and closing work-in-progress and inter-process profits, if any. This method of costing used in those industries where mass production of identical units undertakes continuously and finish products are subject to several production stages call processes before completion.

The system of process costing is suitable for industries involving continuous production of the same product or products through the same process or set of processes. It is in use in the plant producing paper, rubber products, medicines, chemical products. It is also very much common in flour mill, bottling companies, canning plants, breweries, etc.

Meaning of Process Costing:

They refer to a method of accumulating the cost of production by the process. It uses in mass production industries producing standard products like steel, sugar, chemicals, oil, etc. In all such industries, goods produced are identical and all factory processes are standardizing. Output in such industries consists of like units and every unit of the product undergoes a similar operation in the process.

So it implies that the same cost of material, labor and overhead charges to each unit of the production process. Under this method, costing an individual unit is impossible. It so-calls because under process costing cost of the product ascertain process-wise.

They also know as “Continuous Costing” because industries that adopt process costing undertake the production of goods continuously. They also know as “Average Costing” because the cost per unit of each process ascertains by averaging the expenditure incurred on that process during a period by the number of units produced in that process during the period.

Definition of Process Costing:

After their meaning, Process Costing defines by different scholars as under:

According to Wheldon,

“Process costing is a method of costing used to ascertain the cost of the product at each process, operation or stage of manufacture.”

According to the Institute of Cost and Management Accountants, London,

“Process costing is that form of operation costing which applies where standardized goods are produced.”

Characteristics or Features of Process Costing:

It is that aspect of operation costing which uses to ascertain the cost of the product at each process or stage of manufacture. Where processes are carrying on having one or more of the following characteristics of Process costing:

  • Production over having a continuous flow of identical products except. Where plant and machinery are shut-down for repairs, etc.
  • Clearly defined process cost centers and the accumulation of all costs (materials, labor, and overheads) by the cost centers.
  • The maintenance of accurate records of units and part units produced and cost incurred by each process.
  • The finished product of one process becomes the raw materials of the next process or operation and so on until the final product obtains.
  • Avoidable and unavoidable losses usually arise at different stages of manufacture for various reasons. Treatment of normal and abnormal losses or gains is to study in this method of costing.
Extra characteristics:
  • Sometimes goods are transferring from one process to another process, not at cost price but transfer price just to compare this with the market price and to have a check on the inefficiency and losses occurring in a particular process. The elimination of the profit elements from stock is to learn in this method of costing.
  • To obtain accurate average costs, it is necessary to measure the production at various stages of manufacture. As all the input units may not convert into finish goods; some may be in progress. The calculation of effective units is to learn in this method of costing.
  • Different products with or without by-products are simultaneously producing at one or more stages or processes of manufacture. The valuation of by-products and apportionment of the joint cost before the point of separation is an important aspect of this method of costing. In certain industries, by-products may require further processing before they can sell.
  • The main product of one firm may be a by-product of another firm and in certain circumstances. It may be available in the market at prices which are lower than the cost to the first-mentioned firm. It is essential, therefore, that this cost knows so that advantages can take of these market conditions.
  • The output is uniform and all units are identical during one or more processes. So the cost per unit of production can ascertain only by averaging the expenditure incurred during a particular period.
Process Costing Meaning Characteristics and Objectives
Process Costing: Meaning, Characteristics, and Objectives, #Pixabay.

Objectives of Process Costing:

How do you know what cost you need? If you know the total cost of production of each process. The following are the main objectives of process costing:

  1. To Ascertain the Cost of Each Process: It is necessary to know the cost at every stage of production and this fulfills by the process costing method. On this basis, management can decide concerning the make or buy the required commodities.
  2. To Ascertain the Cost of Bye-Product: Bye-product is that which obtains with the main product in the course of the production. For example; while producing mustard oil, the cake also obtains. Which terms as bye-product and the cost of which is necessary to know the actual cost of the main product? Cost of bye-product ascertains by preparing bye-product Account, under process costing.
  3. To Know the Wastage in Each Process of Production: During the courage of production, different wastages, such as; loss in weight, normal wastage, and abnormal wastage, etc. may arise. Management of any concern may know about these wastages by Process Costing Account.
  4. To Ascertain the Profit or Loss of Each Process: The output or the part of output at the stage of every process can sell out either at profit or loss. Thus the management can know about the profit or loss at every process by preparing Processes Account.
  5. The base of the Valuation of Opening and Closing Stock of Each Next Process: If the total cost of production of any process divides by the number of units, we get the cost of production per unit of that particular process and on this basis opening and closing stock of next process value.

Principles of Process Costing:

The essential stages in principles of process costing are:

The factory divide into several processes and an account maintains for each process. Each Process Account debit with material cost, labor cost, direct expenses, and overheads allocate or apportion to the process.

The output of a process transfer to the next process in the sequence. In other words, the finished output of one process becomes input (materials) of the next process. The production records of each process are keeping in such a way as to show. The quantity of production and the wastage and scrap and the cost of production of each process for each period.

Extra things:
  • In some cases, the whole output of one process not transfers to the next process. A part of the output may transfer to the next process. And, a certain portion of the output may sell in semi-finish form or may keep in stock and transfer to Process Stock Account. If the output of any process sells at a profit in semi-finish form. Then profit on that particular sale will show on the debit side of that concerning profit, as profit on goods sale or transfer.
  • In case there is loss or wastage of units in any process. The loss has to born by the good units produced in that process and as a result. The average cost per unit increases to that extent. It may note that, if there is loss or wastage in any process, the quantity of loss or wastage should enter on the credit side of the concerned Process Account in the quantity column. In case the wastage has some scrap value. It should appear on the credit side of the concerned Process Account in the value column against the entry for wastage. But, if the scrap value of the wastage does not specifically give in the problem. It should take as nil.

The total cost of production of each process for a particular period divided by the number of units produced in that process during that period. And, the average cost per unit of production for a period obtain. The finished output of the last process transfer to the Finish Goods Account.



ilearnlot, BBA graduation with Finance and Marketing specialization, and Admin & Hindi Content Author in

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