All -- I have a quick question on setting up a homework problem for graduate level accounting. A group member and I are coming up with different answers to how to do the costing systems. Basically, the question is how much does each product cost, given Labor (1000 employees) 90,000,000 Overhead Equipment 190,000,000 Engineering 30,000,000 for a total of 300,000,000. I broke it down by how much each employee cost (90,000,000 / (num of employees * available employee hours), which I came up with $45 an hour. Then, I broke down the equipment & engineering seperately by the amount of avialble machines (19) and the amount of operational hours (6000). I thought I was doing it by function, my group thinks I'm doing it by activity. My group member took the total hours to make a product like I did,(10 hours), but he took the entire 300,000,000 / (num of employees * num of available hours), which gave him $145 an hour. The problem states the company charges a combined labor and overhead by hour laber plus the amount of materials. Isn't' this more ABC? I'm not an accountant either, so any help would be appreciated. I don't want anyone to do our homework for us, just give us a push in the right direction. Thanks!

You're doing it by "Function" or "Cost Center". ABC determines "Cost" ( A relative term) by allocating costs to activities, regardless of labor costs. It's not process costing, it's activity costing and many activities a product goes through have little or no labor. Develop an activity map, for a product, determine the metric, the driver, then cost the activities. There is no "True Cost", only best cost. Read: "Relevance Lost", Harvard Business School, H. Thomas Johnson, author, with Robin Cooper and Robert Kaplan as c0-authors.