Period Costs Types and Examples of Period Costs


Most service businesses count only direct labor in their product costs. A web developer’s wage for building a client’s website is a product cost because a website is considered a product. There are many costs businesses incur that are not related directly to product manufacturing.

For How Long Are Period Costs Recorded?

A period cost corresponds with a particular accounting period. If that reporting period is over a fiscal quarter, then the period cost would also be three months. If the accounting period were instead a year, the period cost would encompass 12 months.

Product costs are those directly related to the production of a product or service intended for sale. For example a production supervisor that is responsible for instructing labour working on three different products, it is difficult to divide the supervision cost among three products. Period costs are usually fixed but they can sometimes be variable. Product costs only include the operating cost of the business . A business may spend money to acquire the materials it needs to produce a sellable product.

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This distinction is important, as it paves the way for relating to the financial statements of a product producing company. And, the relationship between these costs can vary considerably based upon the product produced. By analogy, a manufacturer pours money into direct materials, direct labor, and manufacturing overhead.

  • Product, or manufacturing costs, can be classified into direct materials , direct labor , and manufacturing overhead .
  • In other words manufacturing overheads is like a reserve where production cost are “binned” if they escape direct material, direct labour costs or direct expenses.
  • These two type of costs are significant in cost accounting, that most people don’t understand easily.
  • Period costs are calculated by identifying costs classified as period costs.
  • Therefore, period costs are listed as an expense in the accounting period in which they occurred.
  • The company rents offices for their executives and marketing team.

Stay updated on the latest and services anytime, anywhere. In addition to that, there’s also the cost of converting such materials into its product offerings.

Definition of Product Costs

Basically, any Period Costs that a retailer or wholesaler incurs to acquire the goods that it will sell are product costs. Depending on the type of business, the costs/expenses that are product costs will differ. Interest expense on debt and income tax are also period costs. As a general rule, costs are recognized as expenses on the income statement in the period that the benefit was derived from the cost. So if you pay for two years of liability insurance, it wouldn’t be good to claim all of that expense in the period the bill was paid. Since the expense covers a two year period, it should be recognized over both years.


Weighted-average costing mixes current period expenses with the costs from prior periods in the beginning inventory. This mixing makes it impossible for managers to know the current period expense of manufacturing the product. First-in, first-out costing addresses this problem by assuming that the first units worked on are the first units transferred out of a production department. Also termed as period expenses, time costs, capacity costs, etc these are apportioned as expenses against the revenue for the given tenure.

Classifying costs

Both product costs and period costs directly affect your balance sheet and income statement, but they are handled in different ways. Product costs are always considered variable costs, as they rise and fall according to production levels. For example under absorption costing all the manufacturing costs whether variable or fixed, direct or indirect are treated as product costs. Whereas under marginal costingtechnique, only variable manufacturing costs are treated as product costs and fixed production overheads are treated as period costs. In accounting, all costs incurred by a company can be categorized as either product costs or period costs.

  • Professional service fees, such as your lawyer and CPA fees, are administrative expenses.
  • Because product and period costs directly impact your financial statements, you need to properly categorize and record these costs in order to ensure accurate financial statements.
  • Anyone who touches the product in the manufacturing process generally has his or her wages counted.
  • Both period costs and product costs can be variable or fixed .
  • Indirect materials are the materials that are too hard to trace to the product to be direct materials.

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