Mastering The Art OF Traditional Costing: A Comprehensive Guide

Mastering The Art OF Traditional Costing: A Comprehensive Guide

The traditional costing method focuses on calculating overhead expenses. It is an accounting technique used to calculate the cost of producing goods to generate a profit. 

Traditional costing methods use a predefined overhead rate to add additional product expenses. 

In contrast to ABC, traditional costing methods approach overhead expenditures as a single group of indirect costs. 

Conventional pricing is the best option when indirect expenses are little compared to direct costs. 

Why do companies use Conventional Costing methods?

Businesses typically use traditional costing for external reports since it is more straightforward and understandable to outsiders.

However, overhead burden rates are arbitrarily adopted and applied uniformly to the price of all products. Managers are not given a truthful picture of product costs by it. 

Accounting rules usually require traditional costing approaches, particularly for tax and accounting requirements. Businesses can use a traditional costing approach to ensure that their costs meet these requirements.

Types of Traditional Costing Systems

One of the most crucial decisions that entrepreneurs or their accounting teams make is pricing. 

Business executives can make informed pricing decisions using cost accounting techniques. To identify all direct and indirect costs and to assist you in determining prices. 

Some of the different methods used for traditional costing are mentioned below. 

  • Activity-based costing (ABC)

The ABC method bases price determination on a thorough examination of the variables influencing overhead expenses. This strategy makes it possible to associate costs with particular products and services. It is a very accurate and effective method of controlling manufacturing costs. The ABC technique calculates production costs using activity-based components and transaction-based variables rather than quantity as the main premise for forecasting overhead.

  • Job costing

The accounting method called job costing can be used to track the expenditures of certain projects and jobs. It examines indirect and direct expenses and is frequently divided into three distinct categories: labour, materials, and overhead. 

  • Process costing

Process costing is an administrative technique generally employed by businesses that mass produce identical or extremely comparable goods or output units. It is typical in manufacturing sectors where the expenditures of producing each output unit are quite comparable. Process costing enables organisations to compute item costs by tracking the costs related to each stage of the making process instead of documenting spending for each item.

  • Cost driver

The cost driver is the primary cause of any expense an operation or transaction generates. As an illustration, a maintenance department may spend money on repair supplies. In this instance, the department's main cost driver could be the number of parts and/or supplying purchase orders.

  • Direct costs 

Direct cost can be the income directly related to the manufacturing of goods and services. If a business creates something, renders a service, or buys something at a discount to resell. These kinds of expenditures are referred to as direct costs. During the creation of products or the delivery of services, direct costs may be assigned to a particular step or process. Deciding whether a cost is in the indirect or direct cost category might be challenging. Think about legal counsel. 

  • Overhead rate

The overhead rate is a distribution of costs that aren't directly related to the price of producing a good or providing a service. The overhead rate can refer to an hourly rate related to the creation of a product in a factory setting.

  • Indirect costs

Indirect costs are those incurred during the general operation of a business or organisation. No service, good, distribution strategy, or division can be completely blamed for these cost components. Indirect costs include things like the cost of an establishment's heating and cooling; the power utilised in the executive offices, and safety equipment, to name a few.

Advantages and Limitations of a Conventional Costing System

  • Cost-effective-  Since traditional costing is simpler to calculate than activity-based costing, corporate accountants are spared from spending as much time on it. Additionally, they are not required to create expensive systems for tracking expenditures. Activity-based pricing is, therefore, more expensive than conventional costing.
  • Accuracy- While an organisation has minimal overhead costs relative to its direct production costs, it should employ the traditional costing system. This method yields an exact value that may subsequently be included as a rate for the completed goods or offerings when volumes are high, and overhead costs don't significantly affect cost calculations.
  • Easy to understand- The results produced by this computation are frequently simpler to read and comprehend because everything is categorised into rupees and paisas. The conventional costing approach makes it possible to comprehend some of the fundamentals of a company's financial picture for workers, shareholders, or other interested parties.
  • Tracking all direct costs becomes easier- Even if traditional costing lacks the activity-based costing's level of detail, it can still be used to track direct costs. This information includes direct labour and materials as well as anything else connected to a particular product.


  • It is not always helpful- The conventional costing method does not provide enough details to pinpoint the areas where waste may occur. Under this method, the indirect expenses of producing goods or rendering services are not taken into account. It ignores details for the overall number and merely considers administrative costs in general.
  • Costs associated with non-manufacturing are not considered-  If you analyse the cost of creating or providing something nowadays, several charges that have nothing to do with the production cycle must be paid. The traditional costing structure would not include marketing, revenue, and expenses because they occur after production. If such costs are significant, this strategy could suggest a company's profitability when none truly exists. One of its main shortcomings is that it doesn't consider non-manufacturing costs.
  • Too simple- Modern businesses must analyse non-manufacturing costs to account for all expenses properly. It must assess the wide range of costs connected with an offer of multiple goods and services. The conventional costing system is unable to provide you with that information. Even though the computations are simple and the information is simple to share, businesses that sell various goods are constrained by the general lack of data.

Importance of having Accurate Costing Information

  • Businesses can decide on their product mix with confidence if they have accurate costing data. Businesses can determine which items or offerings are most successful and which ones are not by analysing the cost of manufacturing various goods or services. Businesses can use this knowledge to improve their assortment of goods and concentrate on making the products that bring in the most money.
  • Businesses can use reliable costing data to set fair product and service prices when a business sets excessively too cheap prices. It can affect the profit margin of the company adversely.
  • Accurate costing information is necessary to identify cost reduction opportunities. Analysing the cost of manufacturing allows businesses to identify areas where costs can be reduced without sacrificing the quality of their goods. Businesses can use this information to decide on actions to increase profits and minimise costs strategically.
  • Accurate costing data is necessary for financial planning. It provides them with the information they need to write precise balance sheets and income statements, among other financial documents. This information is essential for attracting investors, securing finance, and managing cash flow.

Factors to Consider While Selecting a Costing System

There are multiple factors that are nature series to be considered when choosing an effective costing system. Some of the factors that are required are stated below. 

  • Technical information of the enterprise- It is important to comprehend all of the technical aspects of the firm fully. It includes its organisational structure, production procedures, distribution and sales methods, and specific cost information.
  • Choosing an Appropriate Costing Method- It is recommended to select an appropriate technique which will help in ascertaining the cost of the product in an effective manner. This cost can be evaluated with the help of standard costing or actual costing. Along with that, marginal costing or absorb costing is also used to ascertain the cost. 
  • Good Technique for Materials Pricing- An appropriate way of pricing out materials provided to production should be selected to ascertain the actual cost of materials utilised in manufacturing.
  • Choosing a Wage Distribution and Time-Booking Technique- It is important to come up with a technique of wage payment that is appropriate given the attributes of the product. A time rate structure, piece rate system, or incentive programmes may be used to pay wages. A suitable approach should also be chosen to analyse how much time is spent on direct labour across different occupations and work orders. This will allow for determining the actual labour costs associated with each job.
  • Treatment Techniques for Waste, Scrap, and Idle Period- Manufacturing processes can result in material waste, worker and equipment downtime, and loss of goods or wastage. The management needs to decide how to deal with the costs of wasted resources, trashed resources, and idle time.
  • Implementing Budgetary Control System- Budgetary management methods are developed so that actual outcomes can be juxtaposed with budgeted statistics from the perspective of gauging performance efficiency.

Steps Involved in Traditional Costing System

The steps that are involved in the traditional costing system are elaborated below.

  • Identifying Cost Drivers

The first that can be considered in the traditional costing system is to evaluate and understand the different factors that contribute to the expenditure spent on production. For example, the cost source in job costing might be direct worker hours, but the cost driver in process costs might be machine hours.

  • Assign Indirect Cost

Allocating the indirect expenses associated with each cost driver comes next. To do this, the preset overhead rate is created by dividing the total indirect expenses by the sum of the cost drivers.

  • Calculate Total Cost

Calculating the overall cost of each good or service is the third stage. The indirect expenses that are assigned based on the predefined overhead rate are then added after multiplying the direct costs by the amount of the good or service.

Also Read,

GST Services

Transfer Pricing Services

Expats Tax Services


This blog will provide you with brief information on the necessary details that are required to understand the traditional costing system. 

Along with that, it will also provide details on the factors that are required for an effective traditional costing system. 

This blog also throws light on the different advantages and disadvantages of the conventional costing method. 

In addition to that, different types of traditional costing systems have also been elaborated properly to get a better understanding of them. For further details, you can also visit Especia.

FAQs Related to Traditional Costing Systems

1. What costing method do most companies use?

Standard costing is the most common technique used by manufacturing companies to measure the cost spent on expenditure. Employing standard costing methodologies requires manufacturers to define "standard" prices for labour and materials used in production.

2. Which approach to costing is employed by industries that engage in mass production?

Process costing is utilised to calculate the cost of each manufacturing stage. For manufacturing companies, process costing is an essential product costing technique. It is employed by businesses that mass produce a large number of identical products or output units.

3. Which is the easiest method of costing?

Direct costing is considered one of the easiest methods of Costing. It focuses on calculating the cost of making production and sales planning decisions. 

4. Which costing technique is better suited for a purchase or decision?

In making a choice, both the cost of purchasing and the cost of production are taken into account. Therefore, the decision to "make or buy" takes into account the cost of production.

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

Contact us