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Principles of Accounting, Volume 2: Managerial Accounting

5.2 Explain and Identify Conversion Costs

Principles of Accounting, Volume 2: Managerial Accounting5.2 Explain and Identify Conversion Costs
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  1. Preface
  2. 1 Accounting as a Tool for Managers
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 1.1 Define Managerial Accounting and Identify the Three Primary Responsibilities of Management
    3. 1.2 Distinguish between Financial and Managerial Accounting
    4. 1.3 Explain the Primary Roles and Skills Required of Managerial Accountants
    5. 1.4 Describe the Role of the Institute of Management Accountants and the Use of Ethical Standards
    6. 1.5 Describe Trends in Today’s Business Environment and Analyze Their Impact on Accounting
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Thought Provokers
  3. 2 Building Blocks of Managerial Accounting
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 2.1 Distinguish between Merchandising, Manufacturing, and Service Organizations
    3. 2.2 Identify and Apply Basic Cost Behavior Patterns
    4. 2.3 Estimate a Variable and Fixed Cost Equation and Predict Future Costs
    5. Key Terms
    6. Summary
    7. Multiple Choice
    8. Questions
    9. Exercise Set A
    10. Exercise Set B
    11. Problem Set A
    12. Problem Set B
    13. Thought Provokers
  4. 3 Cost-Volume-Profit Analysis
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 3.1 Explain Contribution Margin and Calculate Contribution Margin per Unit, Contribution Margin Ratio, and Total Contribution Margin
    3. 3.2 Calculate a Break-Even Point in Units and Dollars
    4. 3.3 Perform Break-Even Sensitivity Analysis for a Single Product Under Changing Business Situations
    5. 3.4 Perform Break-Even Sensitivity Analysis for a Multi-Product Environment Under Changing Business Situations
    6. 3.5 Calculate and Interpret a Company’s Margin of Safety and Operating Leverage
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  5. 4 Job Order Costing
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 4.1 Distinguish between Job Order Costing and Process Costing
    3. 4.2 Describe and Identify the Three Major Components of Product Costs under Job Order Costing
    4. 4.3 Use the Job Order Costing Method to Trace the Flow of Product Costs through the Inventory Accounts
    5. 4.4 Compute a Predetermined Overhead Rate and Apply Overhead to Production
    6. 4.5 Compute the Cost of a Job Using Job Order Costing
    7. 4.6 Determine and Dispose of Underapplied or Overapplied Overhead
    8. 4.7 Prepare Journal Entries for a Job Order Cost System
    9. 4.8 Explain How a Job Order Cost System Applies to a Nonmanufacturing Environment
    10. Key Terms
    11. Summary
    12. Multiple Choice
    13. Questions
    14. Exercise Set A
    15. Exercise Set B
    16. Problem Set A
    17. Problem Set B
    18. Thought Provokers
  6. 5 Process Costing
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 5.1 Compare and Contrast Job Order Costing and Process Costing
    3. 5.2 Explain and Identify Conversion Costs
    4. 5.3 Explain and Compute Equivalent Units and Total Cost of Production in an Initial Processing Stage
    5. 5.4 Explain and Compute Equivalent Units and Total Cost of Production in a Subsequent Processing Stage
    6. 5.5 Prepare Journal Entries for a Process Costing System
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  7. 6 Activity-Based, Variable, and Absorption Costing
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 6.1 Calculate Predetermined Overhead and Total Cost under the Traditional Allocation Method
    3. 6.2 Describe and Identify Cost Drivers
    4. 6.3 Calculate Activity-Based Product Costs
    5. 6.4 Compare and Contrast Traditional and Activity-Based Costing Systems
    6. 6.5 Compare and Contrast Variable and Absorption Costing
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  8. 7 Budgeting
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 7.1 Describe How and Why Managers Use Budgets
    3. 7.2 Prepare Operating Budgets
    4. 7.3 Prepare Financial Budgets
    5. 7.4 Prepare Flexible Budgets
    6. 7.5 Explain How Budgets Are Used to Evaluate Goals
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  9. 8 Standard Costs and Variances
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 8.1 Explain How and Why a Standard Cost Is Developed
    3. 8.2 Compute and Evaluate Materials Variances
    4. 8.3 Compute and Evaluate Labor Variances
    5. 8.4 Compute and Evaluate Overhead Variances
    6. 8.5 Describe How Companies Use Variance Analysis
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  10. 9 Responsibility Accounting and Decentralization
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 9.1 Differentiate between Centralized and Decentralized Management
    3. 9.2 Describe How Decision-Making Differs between Centralized and Decentralized Environments
    4. 9.3 Describe the Types of Responsibility Centers
    5. 9.4 Describe the Effects of Various Decisions on Performance Evaluation of Responsibility Centers
    6. Key Terms
    7. Summary
    8. Multiple Choice
    9. Questions
    10. Exercise Set A
    11. Exercise Set B
    12. Problem Set A
    13. Problem Set B
    14. Thought Provokers
  11. 10 Short-Term Decision Making
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 10.1 Identify Relevant Information for Decision-Making
    3. 10.2 Evaluate and Determine Whether to Accept or Reject a Special Order
    4. 10.3 Evaluate and Determine Whether to Make or Buy a Component
    5. 10.4 Evaluate and Determine Whether to Keep or Discontinue a Segment or Product
    6. 10.5 Evaluate and Determine Whether to Sell or Process Further
    7. 10.6 Evaluate and Determine How to Make Decisions When Resources Are Constrained
    8. Key Terms
    9. Summary
    10. Multiple Choice
    11. Questions
    12. Exercise Set A
    13. Exercise Set B
    14. Problem Set A
    15. Problem Set B
    16. Thought Provokers
  12. 11 Capital Budgeting Decisions
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 11.1 Describe Capital Investment Decisions and How They Are Applied
    3. 11.2 Evaluate the Payback and Accounting Rate of Return in Capital Investment Decisions
    4. 11.3 Explain the Time Value of Money and Calculate Present and Future Values of Lump Sums and Annuities
    5. 11.4 Use Discounted Cash Flow Models to Make Capital Investment Decisions
    6. 11.5 Compare and Contrast Non-Time Value-Based Methods and Time Value-Based Methods in Capital Investment Decisions
    7. Key Terms
    8. Summary
    9. Multiple Choice
    10. Questions
    11. Exercise Set A
    12. Exercise Set B
    13. Problem Set A
    14. Problem Set B
    15. Thought Provokers
  13. 12 Balanced Scorecard and Other Performance Measures
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 12.1 Explain the Importance of Performance Measurement
    3. 12.2 Identify the Characteristics of an Effective Performance Measure
    4. 12.3 Evaluate an Operating Segment or a Project Using Return on Investment, Residual Income, and Economic Value Added
    5. 12.4 Describe the Balanced Scorecard and Explain How It Is Used
    6. Key Terms
    7. Summary
    8. Multiple Choice
    9. Questions
    10. Exercise Set A
    11. Exercise Set B
    12. Problem Set A
    13. Problem Set B
    14. Thought Provokers
  14. 13 Sustainability Reporting
    1. Why It Matters
    2. 13.1 Describe Sustainability and the Way It Creates Business Value
    3. 13.2 Identify User Needs for Information
    4. 13.3 Discuss Examples of Major Sustainability Initiatives
    5. 13.4 Future Issues in Sustainability
    6. Key Terms
    7. Summary
    8. Multiple Choice
    9. Questions
    10. Thought Provokers
  15. Financial Statement Analysis
  16. Time Value of Money
  17. Suggested Resources
  18. Answer Key
    1. Chapter 1
    2. Chapter 2
    3. Chapter 3
    4. Chapter 4
    5. Chapter 5
    6. Chapter 6
    7. Chapter 7
    8. Chapter 8
    9. Chapter 9
    10. Chapter 10
    11. Chapter 11
    12. Chapter 12
    13. Chapter 13
  19. Index

In a processing environment, there are two concepts important to determining the cost of products produced. These are the concepts of equivalent units and conversion costs. As you have learned, equivalent units are the number of units that would have been produced if one unit was completed before starting a second unit. For example, four units that are one-fourth finished would equal one equivalent unit. Conversion costs are the labor and overhead expenses that “convert” raw materials into a completed unit. Each department tracks its conversion costs in order to determine the quantity and cost per unit (see TBD; we discuss this concept in more detail later). Management often uses the cost information generated to set the sales price; to set standard usage data and price for material, labor, and overhead; and to allow management to evaluate the efficiency of production and plan for the future.

Definition of Conversion Costs

Conversion costs are the total of direct labor and factory overhead costs. They are combined because it is the labor and overhead together that convert the raw material into the finished product. Remember that factory, manufacturing, or organizational overhead (you might see all three terms in practice) is composed of three sources: indirect materials, indirect labor, and all other overhead costs that are not indirect materials or indirect labor. Materials are often added in stages at discrete points of production, such as at the beginning, middle, or end of a process, but conversion is usually applied equally throughout the process. For example, in the opening example, David and William do not add direct material (ingredients) evenly throughout the cookie-making process. They are all added at the beginning of the production process, so they begin with the direct materials but add labor and overhead throughout the rest of the process.

Conversion costs can be explained through the process of making Just Born’s Peeps. Just Born makes 5.5 million Peeps per day using three ingredients and the following process:3

  1. Use machines to add and mix the sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin into a mixture called a slurry. Send slurry through a whipper to give the marshmallow its fluffy texture.
  2. Color the sugar.
  3. Deposit marshmallows on sugar-coated belts in the Peep shape. Send Peeps on belts through a wind tunnel that stirs up the sugar to coat the entire shape.
  4. Add eyes, and inspect.
  5. Move the Peeps via belt into their appropriate tray, and wrap with cellophane.

In the Peep-making process, the direct materials of sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, color, and packaging materials are added at the beginning of steps 1, 2, and 5. While the fully automated production does not need direct labor, it does need indirect labor in each step to ensure the machines are operating properly and to perform inspections (step 4).

Mechanics of Applying Conversion Costs

Let’s return to our drumstick example to learn how to work with conversion costs. Rock City Percussion has two departments critical to manufacturing drumsticks: the shaping and packaging departments.

The shaping department uses only wood as its direct material and water as its indirect material. In the shaping department, the material is added first. Then, machines cut the wood underwater into dowels, separate them, and move them to machines that shape the dowels into drumsticks. These machines need electricity to operate and personnel to monitor and adjust the processes and to maintain the equipment. When the shaping is finished, a conveyer belt transfers the sticks to the finishing department.

Since the drumsticks are made by performing one process on one batch at a time, instead of producing one stick at a time from start to finish, it is difficult to determine the exact materials, labor, and overhead for a single pair of drumsticks. It is easier to track the materials and conversion costs for one batch and have those costs follow the batch to the next process.

Therefore, once the batch of sticks gets to the second process—the packaging department—it already has costs attached to it. In other words, the packaging department receives both the drumsticks and their related costs from the shaping department. For the basic size 5A stick, the packaging department adds material at the beginning of the process. The 5A uses only packaging sleeves as its direct material, while other types may also include nylon, felt, and/or the ingredients for the proprietary handgrip. Direct labor and manufacturing overhead are used to test, weigh, and sound-match the drumsticks into pairs.

Thus, at the end of the accounting period, there are two work in process inventories: one in the shaping department and one in the packaging department.

Direct materials are added at the beginning of shaping and packaging departments, so the work in process inventory for those departments is 100% complete with regard to materials, but it is not complete with regard to conversion costs. If they were 100% complete with regard to conversion costs, then they would have been transferred to the next department.

Footnotes

  • 3 Just Born. “Marshmallow Peeps Factory Tour.” n.d. http://www.justborn.com/resource/corporate/popups/virtualTour.cfm
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