The favorable and adverse variances shall be recorded in a general ledger account. Negative variance generally means production is not run effectively, and positive variance is normally favorable for management. This variance calculation is essential for management to assess if the current production system is running effectively or not. Before the year is out, you want to clear out all variance accounts to the cost of goods sold.

SQ is the standard quantity allowed,
AQ is the actual quantity of direct material used, and
SP is the standard price per unit of direct material. ABC International expects to use five yards of thread in its production of a tent, but actually uses seven yards. This results in an unfavorable direct material usage variance of two yards of thread. The concept of material usage variance refers to the difference between the actual usage of materials in the production process versus the standard usage based on the amount of output produced.

The variance is most commonly used in a production environment, but can also be used in a services business where hours worked can be compared to a budgeted level. Fortunately, consequences such as these will occur in the same period as the mix variance and are therefore more likely to be identified and the problem resolved. There are number of different ways to lay out a yield variance calculations. EXAMPLE
We will use this past exam question to demonstrate the calculation of the variances and analysis of performance. A good approach to analysing data such as this is to start off by taking some time to calculate your standards. If you calculate your standards now, then it helps when it comes to calculating the variances.

Direct Material Variances

Again, this should be considered where information concerning this has been provided in the question. Direct material usage variance is the difference between actual material usage and the budgeted material. The company has the standard cost of material used per unit, so the budget material equal to number of actual unit multiply by standard cost. The variance depends on how accurate we calculate the standard cost and waste control during production. Since the effect of any variation in material price from the standard is calculated in the material price variance, material usage variance is calculated using the standard price. The variance between actual and expected costs of materials used in production is measured using material cost variance and material usage variance in cost accounting.

  • The table shows output for one month, 1 unit of production is 1 teddy bear and the direct material is the fabric required to make the teddy bears.
  • This is an unfavorable outcome because the actual quantity of materials used was more than the standard quantity expected at the actual production output level.
  • While substituting lower quality or cheaper input materials may in some cases lead to yield volumes that are the same as those achieved with higher quality materials, the yield may not be of the same quality.
  • If purchasing department obtains
    inferior quality materials in effort to economize on price, the materials may be
    unsuitable for use and may result in excessive waste.
  • Material variance is the term used to describe the difference between the actual cost of materials used in production and the standard cost of materials.

For Kappa Co it is worth noting that the standards set are not the responsibility of the production manager. Also, as they are out of date (they were calculated five years ago), this could be contributing to the variances calculated. This completes the calculation of the mix variance, but remember, it is essential that, for every variance you calculate, to state whether it is favourable or adverse. Avoid leaving your calculations as simply positive and negative figures as this leads to confusion and may not be awarded marks.

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Favorable when the actual material used is less than standard while unfavorable is the other way around. The company must be investigated when the variance is significant and impact management decisions. It is normal to have variance but the should not be too big which can impact net profit. The debits and credits would be reversed for favorable materials quantity variances. As raw materials move into production, you record a transfer from the raw materials stage to the WIP stage.

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This is an unfavorable outcome because the actual price for materials was more than the standard price. As a result of this unfavorable outcome information, the company may consider using cheaper materials, changing suppliers, or increasing prices to cover costs. Direct material quantity variance is calculated to determine the efficiency of the production department in converting raw material to finished goods. A negative value of direct material quantity variance is generally unfavorable and it implies that more quantity of direct material has been used in the production process than actually needed.

Fundamentals of Direct Materials Variances

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Definition of Materials Usage Variance

Kappa Co has used relatively less of the more expensive material Beta, and relatively more of the cheaper material Alpha. Overall, the savings from using less Beta have outweighed the additional cost of the extra Alpha, thus resulting in a favourable total mix variance. The main differences to note is in cell E14 which is now the sum of cells B14 to D14 and the heading for Actual quantity in standard mix is now on the top row of the table in cell A13. The yield variance can be calculated using a similar table approach to the mix variance. To save time in the exam, copy down the mix variance table – but take care to make sure it is then set up correctly as there are some differences. The variance can be both favorable and unfavorable, where the actual can be higher or lower than the expected cost.

It would be easy to simply compare each row of data in terms of cost and assume this was the variance. This is not the case and it is imperative that you are well versed in analysing the data in a more detailed manner. Here is one way of systematically working through the data and calculating all the variances. Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years.