Direct costing

Direct Costing ist ein Teilkostenrechnungssystem, dessen Hauptmerkmal die Trennung in variable und fixe Kosten ist. Zuordnungskriterium für die Kostenauflösung ist die Beschäftigungsabhängigkeit. Direct costs sind also nicht unbedingt Einzelkosten, sondern können auch Overhead (z.B. variable Materialgemeinkosten) sein. Für die variablen Kosten wird eine proportionale Beziehung zum Beschäftigungsgrad unterstellt. Die übrigen Kosten sind zeitabhängige fixe Kosten, die in der kurzfristigen Erfolgsrechnung im einstufigen Direct Costing global und im mehrstufigen Direct Costing bzw. in der Fixkostendeckungsrechnung entsprechend den gebildeten Fixkostenschichten nach der Zurechnung auf Kostenträger bzw. Kostenträgergruppen differenziert angesetzt werden.
Ziel des Direct Costing ist die Vermeidung der Mängel der Full cost accounting, die sich aus der Fixkostenproportionalisierung und der fehlenden Aufspaltung der Kosten in fixe und variable Bestandteile ergeben. Zusätzlich vermeidet das mehrstufige Direct Costing die globale Fixkostenbehandlung des einstufigen Direct Costing und führt so zu einer erhöhten Aussagefähigkeit.

System components of direct costing are the cost type, cost center and cost unit accounting as well as the short-term income statement.
1) In the cost type accounting, all costs are grouped according to cost types. According to the system-forming criterion, the costs are to be broken down into fixed and variable components. The classification of time-dependent production wages is problematic, as long-term contractual commitments are usually entered into with workers and statutory notice periods largely prevent the early dismissal of hired workers.

Another critical point to be noted is the restriction to the cost-determining factor employment, which is only measured by a reference value (e.g. number of items produced) and ignores other reference values. The orientation towards the employment-dependency of the costs also means that a coding of variable overhead costs is generally not avoided. In multi-level direct costing, the fixed costs must also be allocated to individual fixed cost layers.

2) The cost center accounting records the primary overhead costs of the cost objects on the cost centers. The offsetting of individual cost unit overheads as cost center costs can cause difficulties. In this case, these costs are to be allocated to the relevant cost centers using a suitable key. In multi-level direct costing in particular, the cost centers must be divided up so that only one product type or product group can run through them. If in single-level direct costing the fixed costs are generally also recorded on the individual cost centers, in multi-level direct costing the breakdown of the fixed costs into individual fixed cost layers must be taken into account when designing the cost center sheets.
This results in product fixed costs that are only caused by one product type, product group fixed costs that arise in the production of certain product groups, area fixed costs that are fixed costs for specific company areas and company fixed costs that are all the remaining fixed costs that arise for the entire company Costs. After the internal cost allocation has been carried out, which in the basic form of direct costing is limited to the invoicing of the variable costs, calculation rates are to be determined for the invoicing of the variable overhead costs to the cost units.

3) Cost unit accounting includes cost unit time and cost unit unit accounting or calculation. The cost unit time accounting determines the product-related variable costs or, in multi-level direct costing, the attributable prime costs, which result from the variable costs of the individual product types attributable product fixed costs. The cost unit accounting is used to determine the variable unit costs for each product type. If you compare the unit costs with the revenues, you get a unit-related contribution margin. This system can be expanded to include target contribution margins for calculating quotations. In single-level direct costing, the target contribution margin consists of the sum of fixed costs and the set profit divided by the quantity. In multi-level direct costing, the fixed cost layers must be proceeded in stages.

4) In the short-term income statement, the costs are subtracted based on the gross revenue corrected for the sales deductions in order to arrive at the operating result or profit for the period. When using the cost of sales method, the product-related variable costs of the products sold are first subtracted from the net revenue, differentiated into variable manufacturing and sales costs, in order to determine one or more contribution margins. If the fixed costs are then subtracted en bloc in single-level direct costing, in multi-level direct costing further contribution margins must be determined according to the individual fixed cost layers in order to determine the operating result.

The basic idea of direct costing is not limited to actual cost accounting, but is included, for example, in marginal cost accounting, which is more suitable for controlling purposes (budgeted cost accounting). It should be noted, however, that direct costing only meets the minimum requirements of an approximately sensible cost planning through the separate offsetting of variable and fixed cost components and can only then be used for decisions such as in-house production and external procurement or in the context of determining price limits.

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