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# How to Calculate Predetermined Overhead Rate: Formula & Uses

August 14, 2024
Bill Kimball

The overhead will be allocated to the product units at the rate of 10.00 for each machine hour used. After reviewing the product cost and consulting with the marketing department, the sales prices were set. The sales price, cost of each product, and resulting gross profit are shown in Figure 6.6. Finance Strategists has an advertising relationship with some of the companies included on this website. We may earn a commission when you click on a link or make a purchase through the links on our site.

## Which activity is most important to you during retirement?

This chapter will explain the transition to ABC and provide a foundation in its mechanics. Small companies tend to use activity-based costing, whereas in larger companies, each department in which different processes of production take place typically computes its own predetermined overhead rate. For example, overhead costs may be applied at a set rate based on the number of machine hours or labor hours required for the product. In order to find the overhead rate we will use the same basis that we have chosen by multiplying this basis by the calculated rate. For example, if we choose the labor hours to be the basis then we will multiply the rate by the direct labor hours in each task during the manufacturing process.

## Contents

If you’re trying to make an estimate of manufacturing costs, you’re probably wondering how to determine predetermined overhead rate. That amount is added to the cost of the job, and the amount in the manufacturing overhead account is reduced by the same amount. At the end of the year, the amount of overhead estimated and applied should be close, although it is rare for the applied amount to exactly equal the actual overhead. For example, Figure 4.18 shows the monthly costs, the annual actual cost, and the estimated overhead for Dinosaur Vinyl for the year.

## Guide to Predetermined Overhead Rate Formula

You will learn in Determine and Disposed of Underapplied or Overapplied Overhead how to adjust for the difference between the allocated amount and the actual amount. The manufacturing overhead costs are applied to the product based on the actual number of activity base units used during the accounting period. The predetermined overhead rate formula is calculated by dividing the total estimated overhead costs for the period by the estimated activity base. Sales of each product have been strong, and the total gross profit for each product is shown in Figure 6.7. Using the Solo product as an example, 150,000 units are sold at a price of \$20 per unit resulting in sales of \$3,000,000. The cost of goods sold consists of direct materials of \$3.50 per unit, direct labor of \$10 per unit, and manufacturing overhead of \$5.00 per unit.

The predetermined rate is based on estimates before the accounting period begins and is held constant throughout the period. Understanding your company’s finances is an essential part of running a successful business. That’s why it’s important to get to know all of the different terminology relating to accounting, and how these financial metrics can be used to assess the financial health of your business. Company B wants a predetermined rate for a new product that it will be launching soon. Its production department comes up with the details of how much the overheads will be and what other costs will be incurred. At the end of the accounting period the applied overhead is compared to the actual overhead and any difference is posted to the cost of goods sold or, if significant, to work in process.

## Do you own a business?

The concept is much easier to understand with an example of predetermined overhead rate. For instance, imagine that your company has a new job coming up, and you need to calculate predetermined overhead rate for an estimate of manufacturing costs. For example, the recipe for shea butter has easily identifiable quantities of shea nuts and other ingredients.

It’s a good way to close your books quickly, since you don’t have to compile actual manufacturing overhead costs when you get to the end of the period. Keep reading to learn about how to find the predetermined overhead rate and what this means. Management analyzes the costs and selects the activity as the estimated activity base because it drives the overhead costs of the unit.

1. As you’ve learned, understanding the cost needed to manufacture a product is critical to making many management decisions (Figure 6.2).
2. He has been a manager and an auditor with Deloitte, a big 4 accountancy firm, and holds a degree from Loughborough University.
3. As you have learned, the overhead needs to be allocated to the manufactured product in a systematic and rational manner.
4. A large company with a corporate office, a benefits department, and a human resources division will have a higher overhead rate than a company that’s far smaller and with fewer indirect costs.

Knowing the total and component costs of the product is necessary for price setting and for measuring the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization. Remember that product costs consist of direct materials, direct labor, and manufacturing overhead. A company’s manufacturing overhead costs are all costs other than direct material, direct labor, or selling and administrative costs. Once a company has determined the overhead, it must establish how to allocate the cost. This allocation can come in the form of the traditional overhead allocation method or activity-based costing.. Added to these issues is the nature of establishing an overhead rate, which is often completed months before being applied to specific jobs.

For instance, assume the company is bidding on a job that will most likely take \$5,000 of labor costs. The management can estimate its overhead costs to be \$7,500 and include them in the total bid price. The predetermined rate is also used for preparing budgets and estimating jobs costs for future projects.

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Overhead is then applied by multiplying the pre-determined overhead rate by the actual driver units. Any difference between applied overhead and the amount of overhead actually incurred is called over- or under-applied overhead. The predetermined overhead rate is used to price new products and to calculate variances in overhead costs. A predetermined overhead rate is an allocation rate given for indirect manufacturing costs that are involved in the production of a product (or several products).

The overhead cost per unit from Figure 6.4 is combined with the direct material and direct labor costs as shown in Figure 6.3 to compute the total cost per unit as shown in Figure 6.5. The overhead rate has limitations when applying it to companies that have few overhead costs or when their costs are mostly tied to production. Also, it’s important to compare the overhead rate to companies within the same industry. A large company with a corporate office, a benefits department, and a human resources division will have a higher overhead rate than a company that’s far smaller and with fewer indirect costs. If the job in work in process has recorded actual material costs of 4,640 for the accounting period then the predetermined overhead applied to the job is calculated as follows.

A predetermined overhead rate, also known as a plant-wide overhead rate, is a calculation used to determine how much of the total manufacturing overhead cost will be attributed to each unit of product manufactured. The rate is determined by dividing the fixed overhead cost by the estimated number of direct labor hours. Suppose a business uses direct labor hours as the activity base for calculating the pre-determined rate. Figure 4.18 shows the monthly manufacturing actual overhead recorded by Dinosaur Vinyl. As explained previously, the overhead is allocated to the individual jobs at the predetermined overhead rate of \$2.50 per direct labor dollar when the jobs are complete.

Based on the manufacturing process, it is also easy to determine the direct labor cost. But determining the exact overhead costs is not easy, as the cost of electricity needed to dry, crush, and roast the nuts changes depending on the moisture content of the nuts upon arrival. The overhead rate is a cost added on to the direct costs of production in order to more accurately assess the profitability of each product. In more complicated cases, a combination of several cost drivers may be used to approximate overhead costs. A predetermined overhead rate (pohr) is use to calculate the amount of manufacturing overhead which is to be applied to the cost of a product.

Until now, you have learned to apply overhead to production based on a predetermined overhead rate typically using an activity base. An activity base is considered to be a primary driver of overhead costs, and traditionally, direct labor hours or machine hours were used for it. For example, a production facility that is fairly labor intensive would likely determine that the more labor hours worked, the higher the overhead will be. As a result, management would likely view labor hours as the activity base when applying overhead costs. Assume that management estimates that the labor costs for the next accounting period will be \$100,000 and the total overhead costs will be \$150,000.

With 150,000 units, the direct material cost is \$525,000; the direct labor cost is \$1,500,000; and the manufacturing overhead applied is \$750,000 for a total Cost of Goods Sold of \$2,775,000. For example, the total direct labor hours estimated for the solo product is 350,000 direct labor hours. With \$2.00 of overhead per direct hour, the Solo product is estimated to have \$700,000 of overhead applied. When the \$700,000 of overhead applied is divided by the estimated production of 140,000 units of the Solo product, the estimated overhead per product for the Solo product is \$5.00 per unit. The computation of the overhead cost per unit for all of the products is shown in Figure 6.4.

In some industries, the company has no control over the costs it must pay, like tire disposal fees. To ensure that the company is profitable, an additional cost is added and the price is modified as necessary. In this example, the guarantee offered by Discount Tire does not include the disposal fee in overhead and increases that fee as necessary.