STANDARD COSTING AND BUDGETARY CONTROL
In practice, the terms standard cost and budgeted cost might be used interchangeably. Whereas it is possible to have budgeting without standard costs, it is not possible to have standard cost system without total cost budgeting system.
Standard costing and budgetary control are interlinked items. Once standard cost has been determined and is relatively easy to compute budgets for production costs and sales and, when actual figures differ from expected standards, to calculate variances, to provide a basis for control reporting.
A standard cost is an average predictable unit cost. It is set using the best available estimates and cannot be expected in practice that actual results will conform to standard. Variances must therefore be expected to fluctuate randomly within normal limits. Such random fluctuations need no investigation and tolerance limits are set (investigate only those variances which exceeds Sh.x or y% of the standard cost).
Standard costing is appropriate in any situation where the same resources are used over and over again in the same way. It is therefore particularly appropriate for manufacturing businesses producing large numbers of identical items, especially where the same operations are combined in different ways to produce different products. It also has applications in service businesses that involve repetitive operations.
Installing a standard costing system entails designing an information system that can collect and analyze details about activities in such a way that the standards can be set and applied. In effects this means collecting quantitative data about the use of resources.