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CHAPTER 9 INVENTORY COSTING AND CAPACITY ANALYSIS 9-1 No. Differences in operating income between variable costing and absorption costing are due to accounting for fixed manufacturing costs. Under variable costing only variable manufacturing costs are included as inventoriable costs. Under absorption costing both variable and fixed manufacturing costs are included as inventoriable costs. Fixed marketing and distribution costs are not accounted for differently under variable costing and absorption costing. 9-4 The main issue between variable costing and absorption costing is the proper timing of the release of fixed manufacturing costs as costs of the period: a. at the time of incurrence, or b. at the time the finished units to which the fixed overhead relates are sold. Variable costing uses (a) and absorption costing uses (b). 9-6 Variable costing does not view fixed costs as unimportant or irrelevant, but it maintains that the distinction between behaviors of different costs is crucial for certain decisions. The planning and management of fixed costs is critical, irrespective of what inventory costing method is used. 9-9 Examples of dysfunctional decisions managers may make to increase reported operating income are: a. Plant managers may switch production to those orders that absorb the highest amount of fixed manufacturing overhead, irrespective of the demand by customers. b. Plant managers may accept a particular order to increase production even though another plant in the same company is better suited to handle that order. c. Plant managers may defer maintenance beyond the current period to free up more time for production. 9-10 Approaches used to reduce the negative aspects associated with using absorption costing include: a. Change the accounting system: Adopt either variable or throughput costing, both of which reduce the incentives of managers to produce for inventory. Adopt an inventory holding charge for managers who tie up funds in inventory. b. Extend the time period used to evaluate performance. By evaluating performance over a longer time period (say, 3 to 5 years), the incentive to take short-run actions that reduce long-term income is lessened. c. Include nonfinancial as well as financial variables in the measures used to evaluate performance. 9-11 The theoretical capacity and practical capacity denominator-level concepts emphasize what a plant can supply. The normal capacity utilization and master-budget capacity utilization concepts emphasize what customers demand for products produced by a plant. 9-12 The downward demand spiral is the continuing reduction in demand for a company’s product that occurs when the prices of competitors’ products are not met and (as demand drops 1
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further), higher and higher unit costs result in more and more reluctance to meet competitors’ prices. Pricing decisions need to consider competitors and customers as well as costs.
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