How to Calculate Applied Overhead Costs- Examples/Formula/Calculator

How to Calculate Applied Overhead Costs- Examples/Formula/Calculator

Applied overheads are an indirect cost that is closely related to the creation of commodities, even if they cannot be directly linked to any of the cost categories. 

The various cost categories or business divisions are applied or charged with these overhead charges at a set rate.

A direct overhead expense that is recorded using the cost-accounting method is an illustration of applied overhead. 

A set rate imposed on a specific industrial process, a made item, or a corporate division is referred to as "applied overhead." 

Businesses use cost accounting as a way to forecast their manufacturing costs. In parallel, the price of the goods sold during that time is calculated.

Typically, adding overhead to cost components involves following a standard technique continuously over time. 

For instance, you may apply corporate overhead to subsidiaries based on their revenue, profit, or asset levels. 

You can add manufacturing overhead to things based on how much machine processing time they require.

The quantity of overhead used often is determined by a consistent application rate that is only very infrequently altered. 

As a result, the imposed overhead amount could not match a company's actual overhead during any given accounting period. 

It is presumed that the difference between the two numbers will decrease to zero over time.

Making Use of Applied Overhead

Many scenarios in which decisions must be made do not consider applied overhead to be suitable. 

For instance, even when the workforce at corporate headquarters does not attempt to help the subsidiary, the amount of corporate overhead placed on it lowers its profitability. 

It is possible to deduct applied overhead from a cost object for specific sorts of decision-making. 

This is comparable to how increasing a product's production costs might inflate its short-term cost when determining a price for a single client purchase.

Applied overhead is the expenditure rate that is applied to a cost item. An item to which the costs incurred in producing goods or services would be allocated is referred to as a cost object. 

This covers any product a business buys that also has greater ownership or maintenance expenses, such as:

  • Product
  • Manufacturing line
  • Subsidiary
  • Locality
  • Type of process
  • Staff
  • Customer

A few instances of imposed overhead costs that cannot be attributed to a specific cost item are rent, insurance, and staff compensation. 

The amount of overhead charged is frequently constant and only changes over long periods. Due to this price variable, the quantity of applied overhead during one period may also be different from the usually applied overhead during another period.

Normally, there is no distinction between appropriate overhead charges. To get the average closer to the actual overhead cost, the overhead application rate is changed if it is not zero. 

When applied overhead is assigned to a cost item, it becomes a part of the cost of the item as a whole. It appears on a company's financial statements in line with generally accepted accounting principles.

Applied overhead vs Actual overhead

Accounting professionals compute applied overhead to help organizations budget for future expenses. 

The sum of all invoices and statements at the end of each month is used to compute the true overhead. 

Since applied overhead calculations are estimates, the actual overhead that the company will experience after a given period may be overstated or underestimated. 

After each month, accountants assess the discrepancies between applied and real overhead to ensure that applied overhead estimates improve over time.

Procedure to calculate applied overhead

Operational costs and overhead costs are the two main categories of expenses a business faces when producing a good. 

The initial expenditures involved in producing an item are included in operational expenses (material, labour, etc.). 

Even if they are not directly tied to output, overhead costs are nonetheless important for the company's day-to-day operations. 

Rent, electricity, taxes, software, web hosting, and other costs associated with running a contemporary manufacturing firm may fall under this category.

The manufacturing overhead costs for your organization must be accurately calculated for budgeting purposes. 

Every company in every industry must pay some overhead costs, so leaving them out of your financial plan might put your company in significant financial problems. 

Making these figures beforehand enhances your strategy and reduces unexpected expenditures.

The importance of manufacturing overhead estimations will be discussed in this essay.

  • Determine the pricey item.

Businesses are required to cover costs that aren't directly connected to creating commodities or delivering services. For instance, a manufacturing department would need labour to produce a good. The departments that manage how the business is managed incur costs.

  • Define overhead

Overhead is used to account for indirect company costs. This includes all operations that help the business run smoothly but are not direct costs for production or sales. Typically, rent and utility costs make up overhead costs. Additional indirect costs include insurance and service fees.

  • Use the equation.

Applied Overhead Formula = Estimated Amount of Overhead Costs / Estimated Activity of the Base Unit

Accountants use the applied overhead method to apply all expenses to cost items and produce an estimate for each period because they typically are unable to identify the exact source of every cost. The formula below may be used to determine imposed overhead:

Applied overhead is calculated as expected overhead expenses divided by the base unit's estimated activity.

Consider a business that bases cost allocation on labour hours, for instance. 

The company's accountants may use the method below to get this applicable overhead rate with a manufacturing overhead of $300,000 and 27,000 labour hours:

$300,00 / 27,000 = $11.11 is the applied overhead.

Additionally, the accountants might determine the applied overhead for work by multiplying the labour hours of that job by the applied overhead rate if that job only consumes 200 of the total labour hours:

11.11 x 200 = $2,222.00

In this case, the accountants would continue to compute each work using the labour hours recorded using the method mentioned above to determine the applied overhead rates for financial reporting.

Percentage of Direct Material Method

One of the main factors in product cost is the direct material cost. This approach bases the absorption rate on the direct material cost. 

Divide the overheads by the anticipated or actual direct material costs to arrive at this figure.

Overhead divided by the cost of the direct materials multiplied by 100 is the percentage.

Direct Labour Cost Method

The total cost of a company's direct labour and direct material expenditures is the prime cost. Divide factory overhead by prime cost to get the prime cost percentage.

Overheads / Prime Cost x 100 = Prime Cost Percentage

Prime Cost Percentage Method

The prime cost is the sum of a company's direct labour and direct material costs. To get the prime cost percentage, divide production overhead by the prime cost.

Prime Cost% = Overheads Prime Cost x 100


Projected overhead costs are expenses that are used for a number of purposes but cannot be specifically tied to a particular product, division, or item.

The planned activities of the basic unit serve as the foundation for calculating the company's overhead. 

This frequently refers to labour or machine hours, but it might also refer to another tactic that the company feels is most appropriate for its tasks.

Rent, insurance, and the wages of administrative employees are a few examples of overhead expenses that are hard to correlate with specific cost elements. 

All of these overhead expenses are viewed as pertinent overheads. Most decision-making processes don't require these expenses. 

They are necessary for more accurate accounting, though. Therefore, this expense aids the business in enhancing its accounting objectives and reporting.

It may be applied to project planning for the future. The business won't be able to estimate the project's entire cost until the cost is incurred since actual overhead expenditures are included when the cost is incurred. 

Managers may use it to schedule new projects accurately and anticipate future expenditures.

Seasonal variations in overhead costs impact many expenditures. For instance, certain overhead costs vary according to the season, costing more in the summer and winter and less in the spring and fall. 

However, implementing a fixed overhead rate prevents seasonal variations from influencing pertinent overhead costs. It is totally up to you to pay.

Along with pricing decisions, managers may make more prudent capital budgeting decisions that can lower the cost of capital by cutting expenses and increasing revenues.

Read More,

How to Calculate Revenue Per Employee
Difference Between Cost Accounting and Management Accounting
What is Accounting Information

A final note on the calculation of overhead

By dividing the overhead allocation rate by the actual activity level, you may get the appropriate overhead for your cost item. 

The overhead allocation rate, which is $100 per machine hour, must be multiplied by the quantity of machine hours to determine the appropriate overhead for a given product. 

If the first product takes 100 machine hours and the second product requires 200 machine hours, the relevant overhead is $10,000 for the first product and $20,000 for the second.

FAQ’s Related to Applied Overhead Costs

1. What actions do you take when it is applied overhead?

If a company overapplied overhead, the difference between applied and actual overhead must be subtracted from the cost of goods sold. And if they apply too lightly, it has to be increased. Remember that applied overhead is only an estimation.

2. How can you tell whether overhead was used properly?

Manufacturing overhead has been underapplied if there is a debit balance at the conclusion of the period. A negative balance in manufacturing overhead demonstrates that insufficient or inadequate overhead was applied to the various activities.

Contact Us for Bookkeeping Services Outsource Accounting ServicesCFO ServicesESOP Services  in Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, and all across India: write to us at Or Call On :(+91)-9711021268 +91-9310165114

- Share this post on -

Especia in news