Fixed cost


Fixed cost

Fixed costs are business expenses that are not dependent on the level of production or sales. They tend to be time-related, such as salaries or rents being paid "per month". This is in contrast to Variable costs, which are volume-related (and are paid "per quantity".)

In management accounting, fixed costs are defined as expenses that do not change in proportion to the activity of a business, "within the relevant period or scale of production". For example, a retailer must pay rent and utility bills irrespective of sales.

Along with variable costs, fixed costs make up one of the two components of total cost. In the most simple production function, total cost is equal to fixed costs plus variable costs.

Areas of confusion

Fixed costs should not be confused with sunk costs. From a pure economics perspective, fixed costs may not be fixed in the sense of "invariate"; they may change (and probably will over time), but are fixed "in relation to" the quantity of production for the relevant period. For example, a company may have unexpected and unpredictable expenses unrelated to production. On the other hand, production output may vary sharply without changing the fixed costs.

In business planning and management accounting, usage of the terms fixed costs, variable costs and others will often differ from usage in economics, and may depend on the intended use. Some cost accounting practices such as activity-based costing will allocate fixed costs to business activities, in effect treating them as variable costs. This can simplify decision-making, but can be confusing and controversial.cite journal
last = Martin
first = J. R.
title = A controversial-issues approach to enhance management accounting education.
journal = Journal of Accounting Education
volume = 1994
issue = (Winter)
pages = 59–75.
] cite journal
last = Ali
first = H. F.
title = A multicontribution activity-based income statement.
journal = Journal of Cost Management
volume = 1994
issue = (Fall)
pages = 45–54.
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In accounting terminology, fixed costs will broadly include all costs (expenses) which are not included in cost of goods sold, and variable costs are those captured in costs of goods sold. The implicit assumption required to make the equivalence between the accounting and economics terminology is that the accounting period is equal to the period in which fixed costs do not vary in relation to production. In practice, this equivalence does not always hold, and depending on the period under consideration by management, some overhead expenses (such as sales, general and administrative expenses) can be adjusted by management, and the specific allocation of each expense to each category will be decided under cost accounting.

See also

* Contribution margin
* Cost
* Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis
* Cost accounting
* Cost curve
* Cost overrun
* Flat rate (Linear rate, flat fee)
* Semi variable cost
* Total cost

External links

* [http://www.loscostos.info/english/index.html Cost Accounting]

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • fixed cost — A cost that does not vary with the amount or degree of production. The costs that remain if an activity or process stops. (Also see variable cost.) …   Glossary of postal terms

  • Fixed cost — A cost that is fixed in total for a given period of time and for given production levels. The New York Times Financial Glossary * * * fixed cost fixed cost ➔ cost1 * * * fixed cost UK US noun [C, usually plural] (also fixed expense, standby cost) …   Financial and business terms

  • fixed cost — A cost that is fixed in total for a given period of time and for given production levels. Bloomberg Financial Dictionary * * * fixed cost fixed cost ➔ cost1 * * * fixed cost UK US noun [C, usually plural] (also fixed expense, standby cost) ►… …   Financial and business terms

  • Fixed Cost — A cost that does not change with an increase or decrease in the amount of goods or services produced. Fixed costs are expenses that have to be paid by a company, independent of any business activity. It is one of the two components of the total… …   Investment dictionary

  • fixed cost — noun a periodic charge that does not vary with business volume (as insurance or rent or mortgage payments etc.) • Syn: ↑fixed charge, ↑fixed costs • Hypernyms: ↑charge • Hyponyms: ↑cover charge, ↑cover, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • fixed cost — UK / US noun [countable, usually plural] Word forms fixed cost : singular fixed cost plural fixed costs business a cost such as rent that a company has to pay that does not depend on how much it produces …   English dictionary

  • fixed cost — fixed expense An item of expenditure that remains unchanged, in total, irrespective of changes in the levels of production or sales. Examples are business rates, rent, and some salaries. Compare: semi variable cost, variable cost …   Accounting dictionary

  • fixed cost — fixed expense An item of expenditure that remains unchanged, in total, irrespective of changes in the levels of production or sales. Examples are business rates, rent, and some salaries. Compare semi variable cost; variable cost …   Big dictionary of business and management

  • fixed cost — cost whose size is not dependent upon the amount of business done …   English contemporary dictionary

  • fixed cost — An item of expenditure that is not directly sensitive to changes in activity levels. Rental, insurance, and salary costs are typical fixed costs for many manufacturing organizations. Contrast *variable cost and *semi variable cost …   Auditor's dictionary


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