Direct Allocation Method
The direct allocation method, also known as the direct method, is a cost allocation approach used in cost accounting and managerial accounting. It involves assigning each department’s total costs directly to the products, services, or other cost objects without distributing costs between different departments first.
In essence, it simplifies the allocation process by eliminating the need to share costs between different service or support departments that don’t directly contribute to the production or service provision but are essential for the business operations (like the HR department, IT services, etc.). The direct allocation method focuses only on those departments that have direct involvement with the production process or the service provided.
This method is straightforward and easier to implement compared to others, such as the step-down method or the reciprocal method. However, it may not accurately reflect the actual use of resources, especially in more complex organizations where support departments provide services to each other.
For example, let’s consider a factory with a production department and a maintenance department. With the direct allocation method, the costs of the maintenance department would be directly allocated to the products, not considering the services it provides to the production department. This simplification might be acceptable for some analyses, but it may not accurately represent the actual costs of producing each product, as it neglects the interdepartmental interactions and services.
Example of the Direct Allocation Method
Let’s use a hypothetical manufacturing company as an example to illustrate the direct allocation method.
Consider a company that manufactures two types of products: Product A and Product B. The company has three departments: a Production department, a Human Resources (HR) department, and an IT department.
In a given month, the costs of each department are as follows:
- Production Department: $50,000
- HR Department: $10,000
- IT Department: $15,000
Now, let’s say that the Production department produced 800 units of Product A and 200 units of Product B during that month.
Using the direct allocation method, we would ignore the costs of the HR and IT departments because they’re not directly involved in producing the products. We would allocate the Production department’s costs directly to the products, based on the number of units produced.
Given this, the cost per unit for each product would be:
- Product A: $50,000 / 800 units = $62.50 per unit
- Product B: $50,000 / 200 units = $250 per unit
So according to the direct allocation method, the cost per unit of Product A is $62.50, and the cost per unit of Product B is $250.
Remember that this is a simplified example. In a real-world setting, the direct allocation method may not fully reflect the true cost of producing a product, as it doesn’t account for the support services provided by departments like HR and IT. Therefore, this method is most suitable for companies with simple, direct production processes and minimal interdepartmental service sharing.