# What is a Manufacturing Cost Variance?

Manufacturing cost variance is a term used in managerial accounting to refer to the difference between the actual cost of manufacturing a product and the standard cost of manufacturing the same product. Standard cost is the cost that a company expects to incur to produce a product under normal operating conditions. Manufacturing cost variance analysis is an important tool for identifying areas where actual manufacturing costs differ from standard costs, and for making adjustments to improve profitability.

Understanding Manufacturing Cost Variance

Manufacturing cost variance is the difference between the actual manufacturing cost and the standard manufacturing cost. This variance is expressed as a dollar amount or as a percentage. There are two types of manufacturing cost variances:

1. Favorable Variance: A favorable variance occurs when the actual manufacturing cost is lower than the standard manufacturing cost. This is generally considered a positive outcome as it indicates that the company is producing the product at a lower cost than expected.
2. Unfavorable Variance: An unfavorable variance occurs when the actual manufacturing cost is higher than the standard manufacturing cost. This is generally considered a negative outcome as it indicates that the company is producing the product at a higher cost than expected.

Why is Manufacturing Cost Variance Important?

Manufacturing cost variance is important for several reasons:

1. Performance Evaluation: Manufacturing cost variance is a tool for evaluating performance. By comparing actual manufacturing costs to standard manufacturing costs, businesses can determine whether they are meeting their targets and identify areas for improvement.
2. Cost Control: Manufacturing cost variance helps businesses control their costs by identifying areas where actual manufacturing costs differ from standard manufacturing costs.
3. Decision Making: Manufacturing cost variance provides a basis for decision making. Businesses can use manufacturing cost variance to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of different options and make informed decisions.
4. Continuous Improvement: Manufacturing cost variance provides an incentive for continuous improvement. By identifying areas where costs can be reduced and performance can be improved, businesses can increase their profitability.

How to Calculate Manufacturing Cost Variance

To calculate manufacturing cost variance, follow these steps:

1. Determine the standard manufacturing cost for the specific product.
2. Determine the actual manufacturing cost for the same product.
3. Subtract the actual manufacturing cost from the standard manufacturing cost. If the result is positive, it represents a favorable variance; if it is negative, it represents an unfavorable variance.
4. Calculate the percentage variance by dividing the standard manufacturing cost by the actual manufacturing cost and subtracting 1. Multiply the result by 100 to get the percentage variance.

Conclusion

Manufacturing cost variance is an important tool for businesses to evaluate their manufacturing performance and identify areas for improvement. Understanding manufacturing cost variance and how to calculate it can help businesses make informed decisions, control their costs, and improve profitability. By regularly monitoring manufacturing cost variance, businesses can identify opportunities for cost savings and make adjustments to their operations to achieve their financial goals.

Caroline Grimm

Caroline Grimm is an accounting educator and a small business enthusiast. She holds Masters and Bachelor degrees in Business Administration. She is the author of 13 books and the creator of Accounting How To YouTube channel and blog. For more information visit: https://accountinghowto.com/about/