What is Actual Cost in Accounting?

Actual Cost

Share This...

Actual Cost

In accounting, actual cost refers to the documented, historical amount of money spent on a specific item, service, or activity. It represents the real expense incurred, as opposed to budgeted or estimated costs. Actual costs are used for various purposes, such as financial reporting, variance analysis, and performance evaluation. They serve as a basis for comparing with budgeted or estimated costs to determine the efficiency and effectiveness of business operations, cost control measures, and financial planning.

Example of an Actual Cost

Here’s an example of actual cost in accounting:

Suppose a company had budgeted $20,000 for the purchase of raw materials in the month of June. At the end of the month, the company’s accounting records indicate that it spent $22,000 on raw materials. In this case, the actual cost for raw materials in June is $22,000.

Comparing the actual cost ($22,000) with the budgeted cost ($20,000), management can analyze the variance and determine the reasons for the discrepancy, such as an increase in material prices, higher-than-expected demand, or inefficiencies in procurement. This information can be used to adjust future budgeting and cost-control strategies.

Other Posts You'll Like...

Want to Pass as Fast as Possible?

(and avoid failing sections?)

Watch one of our free "Study Hacks" trainings for a free walkthrough of the SuperfastCPA study methods that have helped so many candidates pass their sections faster and avoid failing scores...