Activity-Based Costing ABC: Method and Advantages Defined with Example

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For an ‘easy’ customer, the overhead cost per quarter was $30, the cost of reading the metre, and issuing the invoice. Many customers were out when the metre reader came, so activity based management a second visit was necessary. Sometimes the customer was not home second time either, so was requested to read their own metre and then call the customer service centre.

  1. We want to use activity-based management, which uses activity-based costing, for decision-making.
  2. Leaders must commit to activity-based costing (and have access to the data) before they can apply activity-based management decisions.
  3. The information in Table 2 shows that the main cost activities of the CC department are pre-sale preparation (handling enquiries and quotes) and post-sale complaints handling.
  4. Activity-based costing (ABC) is a costing method that assigns overhead and indirect costs to related products and services.
  5. Activity Based Management or ABM enables an organization to control its activities properly, as a result of which performance and customer-orientation are increased.

Calculating the cost driver rate is done by dividing the $50,000 a year electric bill by the 2,500 hours, yielding a cost driver rate of $20. One way to use activity-based management is to determine the total profitability of a customer, based on its purchases, sales returns, and use of the time of the customer service department. Another possible use is to determine the total profitability of a new product, based on its sales, warranty claims, and repair time required for returned goods. A third option is to determine the total profitability of the R&D department, based on the funds invested and outcome of new products developed. A fourth possible use is to carry the information derived from an ABM analysis into a company’s forecasting models and budgets, which gives management a better idea of the future prospects of the business.

Value-added and Non-value added:

Together, these activities consume 65% of the resources of the customer care department. The cost accountant has gathered information for the customer care department in Table 2 from interviews with the finance and customer care staff. She has used this information to correctly calculate the total costs of each activity. ABC is most useful in organisations with a wider range of products, as it is these organisations that will have the most difficulty in allocating overhead costs among different products. As far as establishing priorities is concerned, ABM enables management to identify which activities or processes it is spending the most on, and where the biggest financial savings can be made. It can also identify activities where management believe big improvements can be made.

Activity-Based Management ABM Definition, Analysis & Costing

This is an important stage of activity-based management and probably the most difficult in a real situation. The trouble with ABM is its underlying assumption that all of the benefits and costs of a cost object can be translated into monetary terms. This is done by means of Activity Based Costing (ABC, Kaplan and Cooper) in which by using a Value Chain Analysis or Service Profit Chain the strategic and operational decisions within an organization can be improved. This management method has proved its value in reducing wastage, improving the (process) quality, shortening of lead times and introducing new products faster.

First, it expands the number of cost pools that can be used to assemble overhead costs. Instead of accumulating all costs in one company-wide pool, it pools costs by activity. Value-added activity is an activity that customers perceive as adding users to the product or service they purchase. A non-value-added activity where there is an opportunity for cost reduction without reducing the product’s service potential to the customer. Activities Based Management focuses on managing the business on the organization’s activities. It does this by identifying which activities can be performed more efficiently, which activities can be eliminated, how changing the design of a product can lower costs and improve relationships with customers and suppliers.

Activity-based management (ABM) and activity-based costing (ABC) are two related but distinct concepts that are often used together in the field of accounting and management. Learn about Activity-Based Management (ABM) in finance and gain insights through examples. Understand how ABM can optimize financial processes and drive better decision making. A risk with this management method is that some activities have implicit values, so that they are not immediately identifiable as a financial added value. Through the management method all activities within an organization can be identified and evaluated.

Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets. ABC is used to get a better grasp on costs, allowing companies to form a more appropriate pricing strategy. Then you will know which product you spend a high cost and which product you spend a low cost. By knowing this, you could manage the activities by making sure that those activities run more efficiently.

The intent is to achieve a more fine-tuned organization with a higher level of profitability. The information used in an ABM analysis is derived from activity-based costing, where general overhead costs are assigned to cost objects based on their use of activity drivers. A cost object is anything about which a business wants to collect cost information, such as processes, customers, products, product lines, and geographic sales regions. Activity-based costing is when a company assigns indirect costs to specific goods and services.

Strategic Activity Based Management

In Hometown, there are several providers of electricity, and domestic consumers can easily switch from one provider to another. The company recently had an aggressive advertising campaign and increased its customer base from 30,000 users to 40,000. ABM models also provide information about cost incurred on the various activities, so it is easier to monitor how much the costs of an activity have been cut by a particular project. Activity-based management (ABM) can be defined as the entire set of actions that can be taken on a better informed basis using ABC information.

However, since the company used a traditional cost accounting system, the only visible cost relating to this was the cost of transport – this was $200,000 per year. A solution to redesign the storage process in the South Street factory for the fast moving goods, and to move the slow moving inventory to Elmore Street (or destroy it entirely) was estimated to cost $600,000. It did not seem worth investing in this, given that the annual saving would be only $200,000. Many business improvement projects may require considerable capital expenditure, and it will be necessary therefore to do a cost benefit analysis to establish whether it is worthwhile going ahead.

Activity-based management (ABM) is a decision-making process that uses activity-based costing to break down the costs of specific activities. For example, if upper management at a large insurance corporation utilizes activity-based costing to make budget decisions about individual insurance agencies, they would first conduct an analysis of positions. All personnel would be required to track their activities and the amount of time spent on each task during the workday. A sales manager might spend 30% of their time assisting agents on calls, 20% of their time on paperwork, and 50% of their time training new employees. The primary objective of activity-based management (ABM) is to improve organizational performance by identifying and managing the activities that create value for customers. ABM establishes relationships between overhead costs and activities so that the costs of products, services or customer segments can be calculated more accurately.

ABM analyzes the costs of employees, equipment, facilities, distribution, overhead, and other factors in business to determine and allocate activity costs. Strategic ABM
Strategic ABM uses activity-based costing to analyze the profitability of an activity – which may even be the unrolling of a new product or acquiring a new customer. It allows the company to obtain a strategic picture of which products and customers to develop and/or pursue in order to boost sales and profitability. The formula for activity-based costing is the cost pool total divided by cost driver, which yields the cost driver rate. The cost driver rate is used in activity-based costing to calculate the amount of overhead and indirect costs related to a particular activity.

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