What is relevant cost? How to measure and weigh business decisions

If incremental cost leads to an increase in product cost per unit, a company may choose to raise product price to maintain its return on investment (ROI) and to increase profit. Conversely, if incremental cost leads to a decrease in product cost per unit, a company can choose to reduce product price and increase profit by selling more units. In contrast, irrelevant costs are costs that will not change after a decision is made. No matter what you decide, these costs will still be there, they are not “relevant” to the decision at hand. The book value of fixed assets like machinery, equipment, and inventory is another example of irrelevant sunk costs.

Classifying costs as either irrelevant or relevant is useful for managers making decisions about the profitability of different alternatives. Costs that stay the same, regardless of which alternative is chosen, are irrelevant to the decision https://1investing.in/ being made. For example, the skilled labour which may be needed on a new project might have to be withdrawn from normal production. This withdrawal would cause a loss in contribution which is obviously relevant to the project appraisal.

THE MAKE OR BUY DECISIONS: At Managerial level

In other words, it’s a cost that will change depending on whether you take a particular course of action or not. The cash flows of a single department or division cannot be looked at in isolation. It is always the effects on cash flows of the whole organisation which must be considered.

They are future costs and revenues – as it is not possible to change what has happened in the past, then relevant costs and revenues must be future costs and revenues. In short, relevant costs are expenses that change when a decision is made. Relevant costing attempts to determine the objective cost of a business decision. An objective measure of the cost of a business decision is the extent of cash outflows that shall result from its implementation. Relevant costing focuses on just that and ignores other costs which do not affect the future cash flows.

The long-run incremental cost for lithium, nickel, cobalt, and graphite as critical raw materials for making electric vehicles are a good example. If the long-run predicted cost of the raw materials is expected to rise, then electric vehicle prices will likely be higher in the future. The attempt to calculate and accurately predict such costs assist a company in making future investment decisions that can increase revenue and reduce costs.

If the vendor can provide the component part at a lower cost, the furniture manufacturer outsources the work. Additionally, sunk costs – expenses that have already been incurred and cannot be recovered -are irrelevant when it comes to making future business decisions as there’s no way around them. One primary characteristic of irrelevant costs is that they cannot be avoided even if a specific decision is taken or not. For example, rent expenses for an office space would remain constant regardless of whether the company chooses to launch a new product line or not.

Relevant costs are those that directly impact a decision, while irrelevant costs do not. Costs are determined differently by each organization according to its overhead cost structure. The separation of fixed costs and variable costs and determination of raw material and labor costs also differs from organization to organization. Incremental cost is the additional cost incurred by a company if it produces one extra unit of output.


For example, if a company has two year lease for piece of machinery, that cost will not be relevant to a decision on whether to use that machinery on a new project which will last for the next month. Committed costs are costs that would be incurred in the future but they cannot be avoided because the company has already committed to them through another decision which has been made. The primary goal of FinOps is to enable organizations to achieve maximum value from their cloud investment while ensuring cost-effectiveness. It involves collaboration among teams such as finance, operations, and development to achieve this objective. Relevant cost refers to any expense that affects the decision-making process of an individual or a company.

Relevant Costing and short-term decisions

If the costs to be eliminated are greater than the revenue lost, the outdoor stores should be closed. If the LRIC increases, it means a company will likely raise product prices to cover the costs; the opposite is also true. Forecast LRIC is evident on the income statement where revenues, cost of goods sold, and operational expenses will be affected, which impacts the overall long-term profitability of the company.

Relevant Insights

On the other hand, irrelevant costs do not vary based on the choices made by management. Examples of these include sunk costs – past expenses already spent on previous actions – fixed overheads such as rent or salaries unrelated to any specific project or product line. One way of identifying relevant costs is by analyzing each cost item and evaluating its influence on the final outcome. Relevant costs are those that will change as a result of a specific decision or action taken by the business. These may include direct material and labor expenses, variable overheads, and any additional expenses incurred due to changes in production or operations.

The calculation of incremental cost shows a change in costs as production expands. Incremental cost is usually computed by manufacturing entities as a process in short-term decision-making. It is calculated to assist in sales promotion and product pricing decisions and deciding on alternative production methods. Incremental cost determines the change in costs if a manufacturer decides to expand production. Incremental cost is important because it affects product pricing decisions.

Incremental revenue is compared to baseline revenue to determine a company’s return on investment. The two calculations for incremental revenue and incremental cost are thus essential to determine the company’s profitability when production output is expanded. The calculation of incremental cost needs to be automated at every level of production to make decision-making more efficient. There is a need to prepare a spreadsheet that tracks costs and production output. This is in contrast to an irrelevant cost, or sunk cost, which is any expense that already exists and will not change, regardless of the decision at hand.

Example of Relevant Cost

The additional cost comprises relevant costs that only change in line with the decision to produce extra units. Opposite of relevant costs are irrelevant costs, i.e. the costs that will not be affected by any decision. Purchase of property, machinery, and hired staff are all decisions taken and hence are considered irrelevant costs for any future decision making. They are incremental – relevant costs are incremental costs and it is the increase in costs and revenues that occurs as a direct result of a decision taken that is relevant.

Strategic Partners

Understanding which expenses are relevant or irrelevant could help businesses make better financial decisions by minimizing unnecessary expenditure while maximizing profits. Another helpful tool when determining relevant cost involves looking at opportunity cost — what must you give up if you choose one option over another? This analysis helps managers compare options more clearly since they understand both sides’ trade-offs fully. Irrelevant cost, as the name suggests, is a cost that holds no significance in decision-making for a business.

The order would require 3000 units of electricity which is expected to cost $8,000. This represents the share of lease rentals of the factory plant for the number of days in which production for the order will take place. This represents the share of factory supervisor’s salary for the number of days in which production for the order will take place.

Leave a comment

Su dirección de correo no se hará público. Los campos requeridos están marcados *