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Difference Between Marginal Costing vs Absorption Costing

Marginal costing creates a differentiation between product costs and period costs. The variable costs incurred on the products are treated as product costs and the fixed costs incurred by the entity during a particular period are considered as period costs. Thus, in the case of marginal costing, while variable costs are added to the cost of products, fixed costs are not added to the product cost, instead, they are deducted from the contribution to arrive at the value of operating profit. Absorption costing as the name suggests absorbs or charges the fixed costs as well to the product cost. Thus, absorption costing allocates fixed costs also in addition to the variable costs to each product based on an absorption rate.

Below are the top 6 differences between Marginal Costing vs Absorption Costing:

Key Differences between Marginal Costing vs Absorption Costing

The key differences between marginal costing and absorption costing are explained below:

1. Meaning

Marginal costing is a cost management technique that is used to determine the total cost of production. Absorption costing refers to the technique that allocates or apportions the total costs incurred to various cost centers to separately determine the cost of production in relation to each cost center.

2. Cost Treatment 3. Profitability Measurement

The profit volume (PV) ratio is used to measure the profits earned on products in marginal costing. PV Ratio gives the amount of contribution earned on products and fixed costs are reduced from the contribution to arrive at profits. Absorption costing appropriates a portion of fixed costs to products and as a result, the profitability of a product gets affected due to the inclusion of the fixed cost.

4. Effect on Change in Stock

In marginal costing, the cost per unit of a product doesn’t get affected due to variation in opening and closing stock. However, the difference in opening and closing inventory affects the cost per unit in absorption costing due to the effect of fixed costs.

5. Cost Per Unit

The cost per unit remains the same even if the level of production changes since only variable costs are included in product cost. In absorption costing, the cost per unit decreases as the production level increases due to the absorption of fixed costs. However, only the fixed cost reduces per unit and variable costs remain the same.

6. Cost Data Marginal Costing vs Absorption Costing Comparison Table

The differences between marginal costing and absorption costing are tabulated below for better understanding:

Basis of Difference

Marginal Costing

Absorption Costing

Meaning A technique used to determine the total cost of production. A technique used to apportion costs to each cost center and determine the total cost of production of each cost center.

Cost Treatment Variable costs are treated as product costs and fixed costs are treated as period costs. Both variable and fixed costs are treated as product costs.

Profitability Measurement The profit volume ratio reflects the profitability of the products by reflecting the contribution earned. Fixed costs are already included in product costs and thus profitability gets influenced.

Effect of Change in Stock The difference between the opening and closing stocks doesn’t impact the cost per unit. The difference between the opening and closing stocks impacts the cost per unit due to the presence of fixed costs.

Cost Per Unit The cost per unit remains the same irrespective of the level of production. Cost per unit reduces as the production increases since the fixed cost per unit reduces, but the variable cost proportion remains the same.

Cost Data Cost data represents the contribution per unit. Cost data represents net profit per unit.

Conclusion

Marginal and absorption costing provide different results in the income statement since both treat fixed costs differently. In marginal costing cost per unit doesn’t include the apportionment of fixed cost, while in absorption costing fixed costs are apportioned to each unit based on an absorption rate which is based on a budgeted production level.

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