Only when they are used to produce and sell goods are they moved to cost of goods sold, which is located on the income statement. When the raw materials are brought in they will sit on the balance sheet. When the product is manufactured and then sold a corresponding amount from the inventory account will be moved to the income statement. So if you sell a widget for $20 that had $10 worth of raw materials, you would record the sale as a credit (increasing) to sales and a debit (increasing) either cash or accounts receivable.

This inventory remains as an asset until the goods are sold, at which point the inventory is gone, and the cost of the inventory is transferred to cost of goods sold on the income statement. In a manufacturing company, overhead is generally called manufacturing overhead. (You may also see other names for manufacturing overhead, such as factory overhead, factory indirect costs, or factory burden). Service companies use service overhead, and construction companies use construction overhead. Any of these types of companies may just use the term overhead rather than specifying it as manufacturing overhead, service overhead, or construction overhead.

What are Product Costs?

But let’s delve a little deeper into the specific differences and why they are so important. GoCardless is a global payments solution that helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments. Someone on our team will connect you with a financial professional in our network holding the correct designation and expertise.

Period costs are selling and administrative expenses, not related to creating a product, that are shown in the income statement in the period in which they are incurred. In managerial and cost accounting, period costs refer to costs that are not tied to or related to the production of inventory. Examples include selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses, marketing expenses, CEO salary, and rent expense relating to a corporate office. The costs are not related to the production of inventory and are therefore expensed in the period incurred. In short, all costs that are not involved in the production of a product (product costs) are period costs.

Understanding product vs. period cost

Product costs are treated as inventory (an asset) on the balance sheet and do not appear on the income statement as costs of goods sold until the product is sold. This article looks at meaning of and main differences between the two such cost bifurcations – product cost and period cost. In other words, period costs are related to the services consumed over the period in question.

Conversion costs, in turn, include direct labour and factory overheads. Usually, companies capitalize product costs as a part of the inventory or stock balances. The main difference between product and period costs is that the former is only counted when products are produced or acquired and the latter accrue over time.

In a nutshell, we can say that all the costs which are not product costs are period costs. The simple difference between the two is that Product Cost is a part of Cost of Production (COP) because it can be attributable to the products. On the other hand Period, the cost is not a part of the manufacturing process, and that is why the cost cannot be assigned to the products.

Product costs are costs necessary to manufacture a product, while period costs are non-manufacturing costs that are expensed within an accounting period. When preparing financial statements, companies need to classify costs as either product costs or period costs. We need to first revisit the concept of the matching principle from financial accounting.

Product Cost vs. Period Costs: What Are the Differences?

While their bifurcation is important to reveal gross and net margins, it also assists in cost analysis and control. Management can identify cost overrun areas by periodically analyzing both product costs and period costs. This can eventually help the entity take corrective action to lower costs and improve profitability. Product costs are crucial in managerial accounting to establish the cost of producing a single product unit. Once the company sells the underlying products, it can transfer those costs to the income statement for that period. Product costs are variable and fluctuate as the activity levels within a company increase or decrease.

Per-unit cost is calculated by dividing your costs by the number of units produced. It is an important metric, particularly when determining product pricing. A period cost is any cost consumed during a reporting period that has not been capitalized into inventory, fixed assets, or prepaid expenses. When inventory is purchased, it constitutes an asset on the balance sheet (i.e., “inventory”).

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Product costs include any items directly related to acquiring or manufacturing products. Product costs usually include material costs, labour costs, and factory overheads. On the other hand, period costs include administrative, selling, offices, and the effects of underapplied overhead similar expenses. Product costs are any costs incurred in the manufacture of a product. These costs include direct materials, direct labor, and factory overhead. Products costs refer to costs the companies incur on acquiring or producing a product.

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An example of such cost is the cost of material, labour, and overheads employed in manufacturing a table. It is better to relate period costs to presently incurred expenditures that relate to SG&A activities. These costs do not logically attach to inventory and should be expensed in the period incurred. Under one school of thought, period costs are any costs that are not product costs.

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