Cost accounting: what is it, what are its objectives and types?

Cost accounting

share this content

Reading Time: 6 minutes

When we talk about cost accounting, many people take a dry and boring view, centered around numbers and complex equations, but let me tell you a secret: There is an amazing story woven into this dark and abstract field. It is a story about money and costs, but it is also a story about creativity and impact. Imagine if you were able to understand the secret of the mechanism of transforming resources and efforts into products and services that achieve tremendous success, or that you have the power to turn ideas into reality, grow businesses, and achieve huge profits. This is the story of cost accounting. Therefore, in this article, we will learn about what cost accounting is, its types, and the difference between it and financial accounting. So, follow along with us.

Definition of cost accounting

It is an important branch of management accounting that is concerned with analyzing and recording costs that arise in institutions and facilities. It aims to provide the information necessary to make effective decisions on how to control and improve costs. It is worth noting that it helps in understanding the structure of costs and how to distribute them among the products or services provided.

What are the objectives of cost accounting?

Cost accounting aims to determine the cost of each unit of products manufactured or services provided and to provide accurate and reliable information to management. To make appropriate strategic and tactical decisions, below we review some of the most important objectives of cost accounting:

Calculate the cost per unit.

This goal relates to calculating the actual cost of producing each unit of product or providing services. This is done by analyzing and allocating the direct and indirect costs associated with the production or service process, such as labor costs, raw materials, energy, and equipment.

Preparing the organization’s budget

This goal includes identifying cost items and the organization’s expected expenses over a specific period of time and estimating future costs based on the company’s strategic plans and objectives. This helps determine the required financial resources and allocate them effectively.

Identify the sources of wasted materials and wasted time.

This goal aims to identify and analyze the sources that lead to the waste of materials and time during the production process or the provision of services, and through analyzing these sources, companies can take action to improve material use efficiency and reduce wasted time, which contributes to reducing overall costs and increasing profitability.

Control of inventory and workers

By analyzing inventory costs and determining the working hours used, companies can improve inventory management and allocate human resources effectively. This goal also allows for maintaining optimal inventory levels and achieving a balance between labor costs and production requirements.

Determine the profits of each product.

This goal helps in analyzing and determining the profits of each product or service individually, and by analyzing the costs associated with each product or service, businesses can determine the actual profits generated from each product or service.

This information can be used in the process of pricing the product or service correctly, as the price can be determined to cover the costs and achieve the desired profitability.

Types of cost accounting

Cost accounting is an essential tool for companies to understand and analyze production costs and costs related to practical activities, and its types include the following:

Activity-based accounting

This method relies on allocating costs to the actual activities that lead to the production of products or the provision of services. It analyzes processes and identifies the main activities, then allocates costs based on the actual consumption of resources in each activity.

Activity-based accounting helps determine the true costs of products or services, providing a better view of the costs charged to each activity.

Lean accounting

It aims to improve efficiency and quality and reduce waste in production processes.

Lean accounting aims to provide an accounting system that is compatible with lean production principles, as it focuses on identifying basic costs, analyzing waste, quality costs, maintenance costs, etc., and other factors related to production processes.

Standard accounting

Standard accounting relies on determining the costs of resources and operations based on predetermined standard rates. Specific cost standards are created for each unit of resources or operations, and actual costs are compared with ideal standards.

Standard accounting helps identify differences between actual costs and standards, provides valuable information for managing cost control, and improves efficiency.

Marginal accounting

Marginal accounting focuses on analyzing costs that change with the level of production. Variable costs, such as raw material costs and direct labor, are the main components of marginal accounting.

This method is useful in making decisions regarding determining the best point for production and determining expected profits if additional decisions are made.

What are the elements of cost accounting?

Cost elements contribute to the analysis and classification of the various costs that arise in production and business operations. The elements are classified as follows:

Direct costs

Direct costs are those costs that can be directly attributed to a specific product or service, and such costs include the cost of raw materials and the cost of direct labor that is used in manufacturing the finished products.

Fixed costs

Fixed costs are one of the elements of cost accounting, and they are those costs that do not change based on the level of production or the volume of activities. They include the cost of rent, the salaries of administrative employees, and also periodic maintenance costs.

Indirect costs

Indirect costs are those costs that cannot be directly attributed to a specific product or service and include general management, marketing, advertising, and publicity costs.

Variable costs

These are costs that change based on the level of production or the volume of activities and include the cost of consumables, electrical energy, and additional direct labor.

Zero costs

Bad costs are those costs that are ignored in decision-making processes because they do not have a tangible impact on the financial results. They include fixed costs that cannot be avoided at the present time or variable costs that are considered unnecessary at the present time.

The difference between financial accounting and cost accounting

Cost accounting and financial accounting are among the most important accounting methods used by accountants to achieve their goals of providing the necessary financial and administrative information. To make the right decisions, although both rely on basic accounting principles, they differ in the purpose and main focus of their use, and here is the difference between them:

Cost accounting

Its purpose

Cost accounting is concerned with providing the information necessary to manage, analyze, and control costs. It is worth noting that this accounting is used within the organization. To assist in making tactical and strategic decisions, achieve continuous improvement in the efficiency of operations, and determine detailed costs of products and services.

The main users of information

It targets the internal management of the organization, as it helps in making decisions and improving performance and efficiency.

Financial Accounting

Its purpose

On the other hand, financial accounting is concerned with preparing the facility’s official financial reports, providing accurate and reliable information about the company’s financial performance, and is used for external reports, such as annual reports, reports to shareholders, and reports to other external parties.

Financial accounting aims to provide a comprehensive picture of the facility and provide information that helps investors and interested parties understand the company’s overall financial position and make informed decisions.

The main users of information

On the other hand, financial accounting uses information for financial reports and financial statements for third parties, such as investors, banks, suppliers, and customers.


Cost accounting is not just a recording of expenses and revenues but rather a limitless creative force capable of achieving change and real impact, and when you use it creatively, you will find yourself able to analyze data and extract strategic insights. Therefore, this gives you the power to make informed decisions that lead to improved operations and increased profitability. You will also be able to guide the company towards competitive superiority and innovation and achieve your financial and strategic goals. So let’s lift the curtain on the potential of cost accounting and go beyond the usual limits; let’s use creativity to overcome routine and tradition; and let’s use the power of numbers and analysis to achieve success and actual impact. Let us use this type of accounting to discover more opportunities and achieve sustainable growth.

Go now and use this inherent power in cost accounting through the Qoyod program to achieve your dreams and countless achievements. It is worth noting that the program also provides all its customers with the electronic invoice, as well as the point of sale system, customers, warehouses, and so on.

After learning what cost accounting is and its types, try Qoyod now for free for 14 days, and remember that you are capable of creativity and influence, and cost accounting through this program is the key to achieving this.

Join our inspiring community! Subscribe to our LinkedIn page and Twitter to be the first to know about the latest articles and updates. An opportunity for learning and development in the world of accounting and finance. Don’t miss out, join us today!


Register in Newsletter !

The most important news and stories for entrepreneurs

More contents from qoyod

Point of sale device
Points of sale (POS)

Point of sale device

In the modern age of technology, businesses cannot achieve success and sustainability without taking advantage of the latest tools and technologies available. Among those tools that play a crucial role in improving sales processes and the customer experience, the POS device

اقراء المزيد

Start your Free Trial !

Easier accounting