This is defined as an actual amount paid or incurred, as opposed to estimated cost or standard cost. In contracting, actual costs amount includes direct labor, direct material, and other direct charges.
This is also known as the specific identification method where by the actual cost incurred relatively to the specific item of stock is allocated to that item. Many companies do not know when the units in stock at the end of an accounting period were purchased. Even if they could, many companies may not consider the cost involved in obtaining this information justified. Under these circumstances the valuation of stock becomes a matter of a policy as to which units of stock are consider or deemed to have been issued and consequently which units are deemed to remain.
The actual cost of a project represents the true total and final costs accrued during the process of completing all work during the pre-determined period of time allocated for all schedule activities as well as for all work breakdown structured components. Actual costs are primarily made up of a number of specific items including, but not limited to, cost in direct labor hours, direct costs alone, and also all costs including indirect costs. Actual costs, when possible, should be thoroughly itemized in detail throughout the project as opposed to merely compiled at the end as it is easier to accurately itemize costs when it is done as the expenditures occur. The term actual cost can also be referred to as actual costs of work performed (AWCP).