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Compare Process Costing And Job Order Costing

August 24, 2023
Bill Kimball

Overhead costs cannot be directly traced to a product or service. Process costing is easier for the owner, because the business only has to track costs for a particular batch of combs. Job costing, on the other hand, requires the owner to manage dozens, or even hundreds of individual projects.

job order costing vs process costing

People who work in the trades, such as carpenters, plumbers, and tree services companies use job costing, and they provide each customer with a job estimate. A lot of record keeping is required for job costing since time and material must be charged to specific jobs. Process costing on the other hand, aggregates costs and so requires less record keeping. Job order costing is suitable for industries where orders need to be completed for an individual customer such as investment companies, hospitals, firms or fashion industry. In these companies, an individual customer represents a single job and each job needs to be carved for each individual customer. At this point, Hannah’s company needs to precisely track the material cost and labor costs that are needed to make a batch of shirts. When an employee pulls a new roll of cotton fabric from the shelf to make the shirts , the cost has to be moved out of material control and into work in process.

More Useful Accounting Guides And Resources

In job costing, WIP may or may or may not be present at the end of the financial year. As against this, WIP will always be present, irrespective of the quantity, in the beginning, or at the end of the accounting period, in process costing. Both job order and process costing have the same cost flows and thus inventory accounts used for recording accounting entries are almost the same. This applies to products that are produced in small volumes, whereas, process costing is used for the costing of more standardized products that are usually produced in large volumes. XYZ Company estimates that for the current year, it will work 75,000 machine hours and incur $450,000 in manufacturing overhead costs.

Once products are delivered to retail stores, product costs are transferred from finished goods inventory to cost of goods sold. The actual costing system, like the name implies, is a costing system that traces direct and indirect costs to a cost object by using the actual costs incurred in the job. Job CostingJob costing is the process of determining the cost of a job or work, which helps in the analysis of the applicable per unit cost of each job in the overall production. A job can be defined as a specified task, contract, or batch that is completed to achieve a specific goal. Special treatment is required for each job in job costing, whereas in process costing, there is no need for special treatment for each process. In job costing, WIP may or may not be present, but for process costing, WIP may be present at the beginning and end of the period.

Budget For Direct Costs

Though it’s not a perfect allocation, it’s an accepted approach many companies use. Job order costing as per the name, involves costing for individual job orders. This means that for every job completed by a factory direct costs can be directly attributable to each individual job. Process costing on the other hand is the costing for larger volumes. The costing is done for a huge process and costs are allocated to process rather than individual jobs. The job order costing system is a costing method that is used to calculate the costs attached to an individual job or order.

The process can be defined as a separate stage where the raw material is converted to another form. Susie may also list all of her overhead as a single dollar amount on the customer’s job estimate. To create a budget, start by reviewing your income statement for the prior year. Scan the expense categories and note each overhead cost, and the amount you spent in the prior year.

job order costing vs process costing

Job order and process costing have unique advantages and disadvantages that make them best suited for specific situations. A process costing system is used by companies that produce similar or identical units of product in batches employing a consistent process. A job costing system is used by companies that produce unique products or jobs. Process costing systems track costs by processing department, whereas job costing systems track costs by job. To make the most of your costing system, create an annual budget and cost for both direct and overhead costs.

This data is utilized by the management of the business for decision-making purposes. If the Johnson kitchen addition, as mentioned above, requires 50 labor hours, and Susie needs to decide on a labor rate per hour.


Process costing aggregates costs, and so requires less record keeping. While the overhead allocation process is the same, the types of overhead costs differ by company. Alpine, for example, allocates the cost to lease its manufacturing facility based on the number of total clothing units (shirts, pants, etc.) produced. A carpenter or plumber, on the other hand, must allocate overhead costs for mileage driven to work for clients.

  • Accounting software packages allow you to input your budget assumptions, post your actual costs, and keep track of any differences.
  • If you use process costing review your cost by batch instead of individual job.
  • Process costing on the other hand is the costing for larger volumes.
  • There are various cost accounting techniques used to measure the cost of the product.
  • If you make mistakes and lose money, you have less cash to operate, and finding additional capital is even more difficult.
  • Both the costing systems use basic accounts like materials, work-in-progress (in the case of job costing; if any) etc.

When there is not an obvious connection to an activity level, companies often use direct labor hours worked. In job order costing, the probability of work-in-progress arising is very small and if it arises it is for a specific job and not for the entire production line. A system of assigning costs used by companies that produce unique products or jobs. This is best for businesses that do highly custom work, such as construction contractors and consultants.

The Role Of Work In Process Wip Inventory

To implement her process costing system, she computes the cost per specific unit produced. Each type of product produced will have a slightly different cost total. Other overhead costs have to be estimated for purposes of the budget.

Examples of these industries are – Furniture, Interior Decoration, and Shipbuilding. Jennifer owns and operates AAA Lawn Services, a business that provides landscaping and lawn care services. Making the budget change is worth the effort, because you’ll operate based on a budget assumption that is closer to reality, and that will help you make better management decisions. Each Sierra shirt is allocated overhead for the building lease, and other items, totaling $10 per shirt. Alpine purchases cotton fabric by the square yard, and each shirt also requires buttons and thread for assembly. Jill owns Alpine Clothing a business that makes apparel for hikers, bikers, and other outdoor activities.

On a monthly basis, if you use job costing review each completed job and compare the budgeted cost to your actual cost. If you use process costing review your cost by batch instead of individual job. If you find that actual costing more than 10% higher than your budget, revisit your budget to determine whether or not your assumptions are reasonable. In process costing, no job cost sheets are maintained as the production focus in this method relies upon the output of departments. A productions report is extracted which shows the work performed by each department during the manufacturing process.

As an example, law firms or accounting firms use job order costing because every client is different and unique. Many of your competitors may not have a handle on their true costs, and they may be losing money- without knowing it. Owners that don’t use cost accounting often get to the end of the month and wonder why they operated at a loss.

Gaap Guidelines For Direct Labor Costs

AAA must also assign overhead costs such as the costs related to running the office, insurance premiums, and building lease. Accumulates costs incurred to produce a product according to the processes or departments a product goes through on its way to completion. Companies making paint, gasoline, steel, rubber, plastic, and similar products using process costing. In these types of operations, accountants must accumulate costs for each process or department involved in making the product.

When a batch of shirts is finished, the total cost to move from work in process inventory to finished goods inventory, which indicates the products are ready for sale. Staff time cards can be used to track labor costs until they are assigned to production.

One of Jill’s most popular items is the Sierra line of men’s shirts. These cotton shirts are made with reinforced stitching and extra layers of fabric to prevent tearing. In Job Costing, the cost is ascertained after the completion of the job, but in Process Costing, the cost of each job is determined. Process Costing is best suited for large-scale production is done as well as where there are multiple levels of producing a product. Some example of such industries is steel, soap, paper, cold drink, paints, etc.

The job order costing is used for the costing of products that are more unique and customizable. The process costing is used for the costing of more standardized products that are usually produced in large volumes. To create a budget for direct costs, Susie should review prior year jobs and note the labor rates paid and the costs she incurred for specific materials. Direct costs are budgeted based on rates, such as a labor rate, or a rate paid per square feet of material. The two big direct costs for a contractor are direct labor and direct materials.


As a small-business owner, Ingram regularly confronts modern issues in management, marketing, finance and business law. He has earned a Bachelor of Arts in management from Walsh University. No job is the same and is heterogeneous, and each job will have to be done in a manner required to satisfy each job.

All the jobs heterogeneous in many respects and each job require separate treatment. The execution of the jobs is on the basis of client’s specification. Is used for industries where a vast volume of similar products is made. Hannah’s staff runs machinery to cut the fabric, so the shirts, and a package of the shirts when they are finished. Hannah owns ABC Clothing, a company that makes apparel for sports and outdoor activities.

The logic is that a business incurs costs based on activities like the number of labor hours worked, the total units produced, or the total miles driven. If Jennifer’s company doesn’t produce or sell anything during a particular month, many of our costs would not be incurred.