Budget variance The difference between the budgeted and actual amounts of an item.

Contribution margin Sales revenues less variable expenses.

Contribution margin format An income statement format that shows the contribution margin (Sales
Variable expenses) for a segment.

Contribution to indirect expenses Sales revenue less all direct expenses of the segment.

Controllable profits of a segment Profit of a segment when expenses under a manager's control are deducted from revenues under that manager's control.

Cost object A segment, product, or other item for which costs may be accumulated.

Current replacement cost The cost of replacing the present assets with similar assets in the same condition as those now in use.

Decentralization The dispersion of decision-making authority among individuals at lower levels of the organization.

Direct cost (expense) A cost that is specifically traceable to a given cost object.

Expense center A responsibility center incurring only expense items and producing no direct revenue from the sale of goods or services. Examples include the accounting department and the maintenance department.

Indirect cost (expense) A cost that is not traceable to a given cost object but has been allocated to it.

Investment center A responsibility center having revenues, expenses, and an appropriate investment base.

Management by exception The principle that upper level management does not need to examine operating details at lower levels unless there appears to be a problem (an exception).

Margin (as used in ROI) The percentage relationship of income (or profits) to sales.


Original cost The price paid to acquire an asset.

Original cost less accumulated depreciation The book value of an asset—the amount paid less total depreciation taken.

Profit center A responsibility center having both revenues and expenses.

Residual income (RI), Economic Value Added The amount of income a segment has in excess of the investment base times the cost of capital percentage. Residual income is equal to
Income(Investment×Cost of capital percentage)\text{Income}-(\text{Investment}\times\text{Cost of capital percentage})\\

Responsibility accounting Refers to an accounting system that collects, summarizes, and reports accounting data relating to the responsibility of the individual managers. A responsibility accounting system provides information to evaluate each manager on revenue and expense items over which that manager has primary control.

Responsibility center A segment of an organization for which a particular executive is responsible.

Return on investment (ROI) Calculates the return (income) as a percentage of the assets employed (investment).

Return on investment=IncomeInvestmentorIncomeSales×SalesInvestment\text{Return on investment}=\frac{\text{Income}}{\text{Investment}}\text{or}\frac{\text{Income}}{\text{Sales}}\times\frac{\text{Sales}}{\text{Investment}}\\

Segment A fairly autonomous unit or division of a company defined according to function or product line.

Segmental net income The final total in the income statement; segmental revenues less all expenses (direct expenses and allocated indirect expenses).

Transfer price An artificial price used when goods or services are transferred from one segment to another segment within the same company.

Turnover (as used in ROI) The number of dollars of sales generated by each dollar of investment.


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