JOB ORDER COSTING: Examples, Features, Formula and Benefit

job order costing
Image Source: Coporate Finance Institute

If your company creates one-of-a-kind items on a regular basis for consumers, you might want a job order costing system and formula in order to keep accurate tabs on each order. Employing job order costing systems is one way to improve the likelihood that the investment of time and materials into producing a good or service will result in a profit for your company. It is necessary to incorporate a variety of components when developing systems for job order costing in order to guarantee that the costs associated with each job are calculated accurately. Job order costing examples, types, features, and benefits will be discussed in this article.

What is Job Order Costing?

Job order costing is a method used when a customer orders a one-of-a-kind or small quantity of a product. Using this method, we can set prices for each product in a way that allows us to turn a profit while still being competitive in the market.

Material costs, payroll records, supplier bills, and overhead allocations are just some of the sources of data that job order costing systems can gather and monitor. An accountant can use these tools to compile information and use a task cost sheet to calculate or keep tabs on expenses. Another option for keeping track of things is to use a job order database, giving each product its own distinct number.

Each manufactured good must have its own “job cost record” in the task order costing system, including not only what went into its production but also how many people were involved, how long it took, how much money was spent on manufacturing overhead, and so on. In addition, this helps accountants keep track of current inventories and costs to avoid unexpected losses.

What Are the 3 Components of Job Order Costing?

Companies need to know the total cost of production in order to charge a fair price for their goods. A business must give managerial decision-makers costing information, just as financial statement information is provided to external stakeholders. Every physical good has its own set of expenses, including the cost of raw materials, the cost of direct labor, and the cost of overhead, which may include indirect materials and indirect labor, as well as utilities and depreciation on production equipment. A cost accounting system tracks cost like this and provide decision-makers with pertinent data. Here are the three components of job order costing:

#1. Direct Materials

Direct materials are those that can be identified as having been used specifically in the production of the final good.

Companies require a supply of raw materials on hand so they can meet manufacturing demands swiftly. Although there may be a shift in production volume, management is reluctant to halt operations while they await the arrival of raw materials. Additionally, a business requires raw materials on hand for the current job and future jobs. As soon as a certain amount of material is needed for the manufacturing process, it is sent to the production section.

When materials are entered into the work-in-progress stock, the task officially begins. A materials request sheet lists what, how much, and how much it will cost for manufacturing materials. In addition, the requestor and budget manager both sign off on the finalized form.

#2. Direct Labour

The cost of direct labor is comprised of wages paid to workers who perform tasks directly related to making the product. Wages and other compensation for the time spent developing the product are included. Direct labor includes both the physical work of gathering raw materials like wood pulp and transporting it to be turned into paper and the mental work of keeping an eye on the entire production process to ensure quality control. In contrast, guards and janitors work in the production facility but are not considered part of the direct working force.

#3.  Factory Overhead

During the process of producing a good, a company will incur several extra costs in addition to those for direct labor and supplies. Manufacturing overhead is the term for these expenses. It takes into account costs such as the monthly electric bill, the cost of janitorial supplies, the depreciation of the equipment that is utilized, the depreciation of the land on which the manufacturing facility is situated, and the property taxes. The final cost sheet includes all production overhead costs, which are ultimately applied to the final piece.

Job Order Costing Examples

The application of job order costing might frequently be different based on the particular company that is utilizing this method. The following are some examples of the various sorts of businesses that use job order costing systems to track inventories, along with descriptions of how the process varies for each.

#1. Medical Services

Job order costing is a method that medical facilities like hospitals and clinics use to figure out how much money to charge each patient. When a patient comes into the clinic in need of a checkup, it is evident that they require less care than someone who needs extensive surgery that requires them to stay in the hospital for numerous nights. For each service, the hospital or clinic’s accounting department calculates a job order cost to safeguard the facility’s financial stability. This is necessary because the experience that each patient has can differ depending on their requirements.

#2. Film Studios

Job order costing is used in the film industry to keep tabs on the money spent on things like salaries and benefits as well as on things like sets, costumes, props, and cameras. Some production organizations use job sheets to estimate the cost of buying all the equipment and paying all the workers.

After a budget is set, the film’s crew, cast, and crew members can start assembling the necessary elements for production. To track assignment time, employees must fill out a time card each time they clock in and exit. In addition, the job sheet keeps tabs on all the filmmaking equipment and materials.

#3. Construction Companies

To meet the individual needs of each property owner or management, many construction workers create one-of-a-kind designs for each structure they construct. Costs for individual materials used in the structure or piece of land are commonly estimated. As soon as the estimate is complete on a job cost sheet, it will be given to the building’s manager or owner. The construction company will use the job order sheet to monitor the budget and costs if the proposal is accepted.

#4. Retail Companies

It is more economical to employ job order costs for one-off or low-volume production runs of a product than for mass production. Just to give one illustration:

Consider the case of a consumer who opted for cotton shoelaces rather than the standard nylon variety while purchasing a pair of shoes with their name embroidered on the side. Since this is a one-time purchase, the corporation will use job order expenses to price the shoes.

How Many Types of Job Costing Are There? 

There are just three types of job costing. Direct materials, direct labor, and overhead are the three types into which the costs associated with a specific job are grouped during job costing. As a rule of thumb, expenses are classified as work in process until the goods are finished, and then they are moved to the cost of goods sold.

Features of Job Order Costing 

Job costing is a form of pre-order pricing methodology. The primary characteristics of this pricing strategy are as follows:

Features of Job Order Costing

  1. No two jobs are the same; they are all different and require different skills.
  2. Every order is made to order and not bulk for circulation.
  3. There is a separate expense with each task in this system. Therefore, money is tracked and assessed per project.
  4. The average duration of an individual assignment is rather brief.
  5. It is possible to track each individual task throughout the entire manufacturing process. This means that individual work costs for things like materials, labor, and overhead may be broken down precisely.
  6. Whenever a job is ordered, it is assigned a special job order number.
  7. The transfer of output from one division to another is highly inefficient.
  8. The task order number is used as a direct identifier for the accounting of all direct costs, such as supplies, labor, and other miscellaneous expenditures.
  9. The overhead costs are calculated based on a set rate per job.
  10. Job costing helps businesses quote jobs by calculating their entire cost.

Job Order Costing Formula 

Here is the formula for a job order costing, Total job cost = Direct materials + direct labor + applied overhead.  

How to use the job cost formula. Here are the measures you’ll take to determine a project’s final price:

#1. Determining the Role

Step one is to define the role and its prerequisites. To achieve this, you consider all of the potential influences and outcomes of taking on this role. This is a crucial stage since it allows you to settle on a budget for the work you will be doing. To make paper, for instance, one must calculate not only how many trees must be felled but also how long it will take, how many workers will be needed, how much power would be needed to run the equipment, and how many sheets of paper the client will need.

#2. Decide the Set Rate for Administrative Costs

When determining a job’s total cost, it is necessary to have a few numbers, such as your overhead rate, set in stone ahead of time. You keep a running tally of direct labor hours and direct material costs.

You probably approximated your overhead and activity levels at the start of the year, and those two values are the basis for your predetermined overhead rate. Most businesses calculate these figures by projecting their expected expenditures on things like materials and other expenses (estimated overhead) and the number of hours their staff will put in each week (estimated activity). Using the following formula, you can calculate your fixed overhead cost:

Budgeted overhead cost ratio = expected costs / expected output

The answer to this equation is a numeric value, expressed in dollars and cents. Step three involves determining the applied overhead rate, and this monetary value is used then.

#3. Determining the Allocations Foundation

Prior instances can be used to determine how much of the indirect costs should be charged to the project. That is to say, we’ve assigned a price tag to this task based on what we paid to complete comparable tasks in the past. As such, they should be revised during post-production to account for any additional indirect costs that may have accrued. Equipment production expenses, electricity used to power equipment, utility bills, and machine depreciation are all included here.

#4. Keeping Track of Job Expenditures

You need to keep a job cost sheet updated as the work progresses so that you can keep tabs on how much money is being spent on supplies and labor. To determine if the final cost of the project was higher or lower than expected, use this spreadsheet as a guide. If there is a large disparity, it suggests that either your estimation or production methods need tweaking. This may occur because of faulty planning or ineffective execution of the task. In the event of an error or waste, it will be easy to trace the problem back to its original funding source and implement a solution.

What Are the Benefits of Job Order Costing?

#1. Profitability

Using a job costing order, you may break down expenses by activity and estimate your profit margin for each project individually. You may then determine which processes are the most cost-effective for making a given item. Although this feature suggests the system is best suited to businesses that deal with custom orders, it may be utilized by any company interested in obtaining data specific to each step in the production process. This is one of the top benefits of job order costing.

#2. Flexibility

Because of the system’s adaptability, it is possible to use the job order costing method to determine indirect expenses like manufacturing overhead. This cost might include a wide variety of things, from the wages of specific workers to the grease used in machinery, making it extremely challenging to estimate without the system. Thanks to the job costing system’s sophisticated algorithm, what would otherwise be an extremely time-consuming and difficult computation assignment is now a straightforward procedure by tracking all the things that contribute to manufacturing overhead.

#3. Scalability

The job costing order system is very flexible, allowing for customization to meet the needs of any business, from those with basic processes like advertising agencies and legal firms to those with complicated industrial operations. This means that businesses of any size can benefit from using the job order costing method. Also, read PROCESS COSTING: Definition, Types, and How To Use It.

#4. Performance

One more benefit of implementing a job order costing system is the ability to evaluate worker productivity. Job order costing helps you examine individual performance data in terms of productivity, efficiency, and cost control, in contrast, to process costing, which assesses the attributes of a complete workgroup or department. Employees who fall short of the mark in terms of performance might be singled out with the use of this instrument.

#5. Accessibility

The technology allows users to view job-specific costs at any point in the production cycle. By doing so, you can examine expenditures item by item and learn more about their causes. To better control your future costs, you can utilize this data to create strategies that are specific to your situation.

What Are the Disadvantages of Job Order Costing?

The following are some of Job Costing’s disadvantages:

  1. Jobs are priced according to current market conditions and not on the basis of historical data.
  2. Job costing order does not involve any sort of standardization of tasks. Therefore, strict monitoring is required.
  3. If the job’s real profit is lower than the estimate, you can’t do anything about it.
  4. During an inflationary period, comparing the cost of doing the same job to doing the same thing elsewhere is pointless.
  5. The process of job costing order systems can be quite pricey.


The only businesses that can use job order costing successfully are those that tailor their operations to meet the needs of their customers, and in which the requirements of each project are distinct enough to warrant their own cost estimates. Expertise and understanding in a specific field are necessary to adequately discover, evaluate, and manage expenses, which increases the total price. The need to account for every dime spent on an undertaking remains. If costs incurred on one project cannot be allocated to another, the company risks losing the contract.

Job Order Costing FAQs

What is managerial accounting?

Accounting for managers, or managerial accounting, covers similar ground to cost accounting and goes by a variety of names.

What are 3 good weaknesses?

You can use your impatience, ability to multitask, self-criticism, and procrastination as strengths.

How do you handle stress?

  • Take a break from news coverage, in any form, including television, radio, and social media.
  • Mind your own business.
  • Take good care of your physique.
  • Relax and enjoy some downtime.
  • Interact with other people.

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  3. MANAGING COST: 5 best keys for cost management.


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