Absorption Costing

Knowledge Center

Summary, forum, best practices, expert tips and information sources.

40 items • 474.121 visits


The Absorption Costing method (also: Full Costing) is an inventory valuation and costing model that includes all manufacturing costs:

  • Direct materials. Those materials that become an integral part of a finished product, and which can be easily traced back into the finished product.
  • Direct labor. Those factory labor costs that can be easily traced back to individual units of product. Also known as touch labor.
  • Both variable and fixed manufacturing overhead.

in the cost of a unit of product. As a result, under absorption costing, fixed overhead is a product cost until the products are sold.

Absorption costing is also known as the full cost method.

Should Fixed Manufacturing Costs be Included in Inventories?

Advocates of Absorption Costing say that it should, because all of the production costs are needed to create the products. Thus, they have "future economic benefits."

Advocates of Variable Costing argue that for a fixed manufacturing-cost to be an asset, it has to meet a future cost avoidance criterion. Much in the same way as prepaid insurance. In the case of fixed manufacturing costs, they do not meet this criterion because they are incurred each time the production line opens. Thus, they should be regarded as expenses in that period, and only the variances in expenses should be inventoried.

Problems with absorption costing also include potential manipulations by plant managers, such as increasing production regardless of sales levels. In this way costs can be deferred to the next year, and a higher current profit can be shown for the sake of bonuses and promotions.

Consequences of using Absorption Costing for Profit calculation

The difference is important for calculating profit when the beginning inventory level and the ending inventory level are different:

  • If beginning & ending inventory levels are equal: absorption costing profit = variable costing profit;
  • If inventory levels are run down over the period: variable costing profit will be higher than absorption costing profit;
  • If inventory levels are increased over the period: absorption costing profit will be higher than variable costing profit.

Special Interest Group

Absorption Costing Special Interest Group.

Special Interest Group (1121 members)


Forum discussions about Absorption Costing. Below you can ask a question about this topic, share your experiences, report a new development, or explain something.

Start a new topic about Absorption Costing


Normal Production Levels Under FAS 151
FAS 151 says judgment needs to be used to determine inventory costs under absorption costing. Could you please tell me how would you determine "normal production levels"? Thanks....
Fixed Overhead in Full Costing
What does "fixed overhead is a product cost until the products are sold" mean?...
Marketing Overheads in Absorption costing?
Are marketing overheads also direct labour cost? Meaning: should I include them in doing the calculation?...
Difference Absorption Costing versus Full Costing?
Aren't Absorption costing and Full costing different?...
Absorption Cost Frequency
How often (what frequency) should we calculate absorption cost?...
🔥 NEW Assessing Cost Absorption of Underperforming Business Units
Please share any absorption cost models you have to assist with assessing cost absorption in cases where underperforming business units may need to be disposed of. thank you....

Best Practices

The best, top-rated topics about Absorption Costing. Here you will find the most valuable ideas and practical suggestions.

🥇 Absorption of Fixed Costs
How does production affect the absorption of fixed costs?...

🥈 Absorption Costing Converts Fixed Production Overheads into Product Cost
Absorption Costing is a tool which converts fixed production overheads, which are period based expenses, into product cost on a per unit basis. As a result of which one is able to determine the produc...

Expert Tips

Advanced insights about Absorption Costing. Here you will find professional advices by experts.

Weaknesses of Absorption Cost

Budgeting, Controlling
One of the main weaknesses of the absorption costing method is that costs are allocated to cost units irrespective of th...
Information Sources

Various sources of information regarding Absorption Costing. Here you will find powerpoints, videos, news, etc. to use in your own lectures and workshops.

Overhead Costs and Absorption Costing

Absorption Costing, Overhead, Indirect materials, Indirect labour, Indirect expenses, Allocation, Apportionment, Absorpt
This presentation focuses on absorption costing and overheads, and includes the following sections: 1. Overheads 2. In...

Absorption versus Marginal Costing

Accounting, Controlling, Budgeting
Presentation that compares Absorption Costing with Marginal Costing, thereby explaining the concept of both methods in d...

Absorption versus Variable Costing

Accounting Controlling, Bugeting
Presentation comparing Absorption Costing with Varibale Costing. In the presentation the comparison is made on the follo...

Hybrid Costing

Managerial accounting
Paper by Tim M. Lowder introduces the historical development of concepts and techniques in managerial accounting that ha...

Research Links

Jump to further research sources regarding Absorption Costing.








Compare with: Variable Costing  |  Activity Based Costing

Return to Management Hub: Decision-making & Valuation  |  Finance & Investing  |  Supply Chain & Quality

More Management Methods, Models and Theory

Special Interest Group

Do you know a lot about Absorption Costing? Become our SIG Leader and gain worldwide recognition as an expert.

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
© 2023 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V16.1 - Last updated: 2-6-2023. All names ™ of their owners.