The difference between direct costs and indirect costs

indirect materials

In manufacturing, costs not directly assignable to the end product or process are indirect. These may be costs for management, insurance, taxes, or maintenance, for example. Indirect costs are those for activities or services that benefit more than one project.

What is direct and indirect material?

Direct material are those material which are easily identified, conveniently measured and directly charged to the cost of production. Indirect Material are those materials which cannot be conveniently identified & allocated to the cost centre or cost unit. It does also not form part of the finished product.

Examples of direct costs are direct labor, direct materials, commissions, piece rate wages, and manufacturing supplies. Examples of indirect costs are production supervision salaries, quality control costs, insurance, and depreciation. Direct costs are directly attributable to the object and it is financially feasible to do so.

Indirect materials also have a materials requisition form, but the costs are recorded differently. They are first transferred into manufacturing overhead and then allocated to work in process. The entry to record the indirect material is to debit manufacturing overhead and credit raw materials inventory. Since product costs include manufacturing overhead that is required by both GAAP and IFRS, product costs should appear on financial statements.

Unlike a direct cost, a variable cost does not have to be easily traceable to a cost object. An indirect variable cost is an expense directly related to a cost object, or a product. The total cost associated with the cost object changes as the production level changes. For example, suppose the company uses multiple production machines to produce the new technology device.


The treatment of depreciation as an indirect cost is the most common treatment within a business. Direct costs are expenses that can be accurately and easily traced to cost objects.

What Are Raw Materials?

It is an expense, which is included in Overhead Cost of manufacturing cost, and consists of subsidiary material cost, shop supplies cost, perishable tools and equipment cost. Here the material means the one indirectly or supplementarily consumed. In addition, perishable tools and equipment cost refers to consumption costs of tools, devices, and equipment with a useful life-span of one year or less.

The costs involved in creating a product are called Product Costs. These costs include materials, labor, production supplies and factory overhead. The cost of the labor required to deliver a service to a customer is also considered a product cost. Product costs related to services should include things like compensation, payroll taxes and employee benefits.

Product costs are costs that are incurred to create a product that is intended for sale to customers. Product costs include direct material (DM), direct labor (DL), and manufacturing overhead (MOH). The essential difference between direct costs and indirect costs is that only direct costs can be traced to specific cost objects. A cost object is something for which a cost is compiled, such as a product, service, customer, project, or activity. These costs are usually only classified as direct or indirect costs if they are for production activities, not for administrative activities (which are considered period costs).

This is an indirect cost because it is very difficult to trace the electricity expense back to the department and the production machines. However, the cost of the electricity is considered a variable cost, because as more products are produced, the total electricity consumption is increased, thereby increasing costs.

  • In accounting, all costs can be described as either fixed costs or variable costs.

What are examples of indirect materials?

Indirect materials are materials that a company uses in the production process. However, it cannot link them to a specific job or product. They belong to a category of indirect costs. In accounting, we treat indirect materials as overhead costs (or operating expenses) and treat them accordingly.

In manufacturing or other non-construction industries the portion of operating costs that is directly assignable to a specific product or process is a direct cost. Direct costs are those for activities or services that benefit specific projects, for example salaries for project staff and materials required for a particular project. Because these activities are easily traced to projects, their costs are usually charged to projects on an item-by-item basis.

Direct Raw Materials Budget

These are those costs which are not directly related to production. But some overhead costs can be directly attributed to a project and are direct costs. Product cost appears in the financial statements since it includes the manufacturing overhead that is required by both GAAP and IFRS. However, managers may modify product cost to strip out the overhead component when making short-term production and sale-price decisions.

Indirect costs are costs that are not directly accountable to a cost object (such as a particular project, facility, function or product). Indirect costs include administration, personnel and security costs.

Be sure to think about your use of direct and indirect objects in your writing. If you do, then your sentence structure will allow your writing to effectively communicate. It is possible to justify the handling of almost any kind of cost as either direct or indirect. Labor costs, for example, can be indirect, as in the case of maintenance personnel and executive officers; or they can be direct, as in the case of project staff members.

Work in Progress vs. Work in Process: What’s the Difference?

In accounting, all costs can be described as either fixed costs or variable costs. Variable costs are inventoriable costs – they are allocated to units of production and recorded in inventory accounts, such as cost of goods sold. Fixed costs, on the other hand, are all costs that are not inventoriable costs. All costs that do not fluctuate directly with production volume are fixed costs.

Fixed costs include various indirect costs and fixed manufacturing overhead costs. Variable costs include direct labor, direct materials, and variable overhead. Indirect costs are, but not necessarily, not directly attributable to a cost object. Indirect costs are typically allocated to a cost object on some basis. In construction, all costs which are required for completion of the installation, but are not directly attributable to the cost object are indirect, such as overhead.

Direct materials cost the cost of direct materials which can be easily identified with the unit of production. For example, the cost of glass is a direct materials cost in light bulb manufacturing. In this way, direct and indirect objects are important in order to build your sentences for full comprehension. You cannot have a direct object in the position of the subject and vice versa.

Cost objects may be goods or services, departments or projects. Direct fixed costs can be easily traced to cost objects and do not vary with the level of production. Direct raw materials are materials that companies directly use in the manufacturing of a finished product, such as wood for a chair. Indirect raw materials are not part of the final product but are instead used comprehensively in the production process.

Their precise benefits to a specific project are often difficult or impossible to trace. For example, it may be difficult to determine precisely how the activities of the director of an organization benefit a specific project. Indirect costs do not vary substantially within certain production volumes or other indicators of activity, and so they may sometimes be considered to be fixed costs.

To eliminate overhead costs, a manager may modify product cost when making short-term product and unit pricing decisions. A manufacturer’s product costs are the direct materials, direct labor, and manufacturing overhead used in making its products.