Predetermined Overhead Rate Top 5 Components Examples



It’s called predetermined because both of the figures used in the process are budgeted. The production hasn’t taken place and is completely based on forecasts or previous accounting records, and the actual overheads incurred could turn out to be way different than the estimate. Company B wants a predetermined rate for a new product that it will be launching soon.

It’s calculated by dividing the estimated cost of overheads by the estimated/budgeted level of activity. It’s useful in cost accounting as product costing can only be obtained once overheads are absorbed in the cost of the product. That is, a certain amount of manufacturing overhead is applied to job orders or products which is used to estimate future manufacturing costs. Predetermined Overhead Rate Calculators are essential tools for cost accountants, financial analysts, and business managers. They play a crucial role in assigning indirect costs to products or projects for the purpose of cost allocation, pricing decisions, and performance evaluation.

It’s also important to note that budgeted figures in calculating overhead rates are used due to seasonal fluctuation/expected changes in the external environment. Companies need to make certain the sales price is higher than the prime costs and the overhead costs. In some industries, the company has no control over the costs it must pay, like tire disposal fees. To ensure that the company is profitable, an additional cost is added and the price is modified as necessary. In this example, the guarantee offered by Discount Tire does not include the disposal fee in overhead and increases that fee as necessary. The estimate is made at the beginning of an accounting period, before the commencement of any projects or specific jobs for which the rate is needed.

  • Businesses normally face fluctuation in product demand due to seasonal variations.
  • Overhead costs are expenses that are not directly tied to production such as the cost of the corporate office.
  • It is very important to understand the purpose for which the predetermined overhead is being used.
  • Manufacturing overhead costs include all manufacturing costs except for direct materials and direct labor.

With 150,000 units, the direct material cost is $525,000; the direct labor cost is $1,500,000; and the manufacturing overhead applied is $750,000 for a total Cost of Goods Sold of $2,775,000. There are concerns that the rate may not be accurate, as it is based on estimates rather than actual data. In addition, changes in prices and industry trends can make historical data an unreliable predictor of future overhead costs. Finally, using a predetermined overhead rate can result in inaccurate decision-making if the rate is significantly different from the actual overhead cost. The predetermined overhead rate formula can be used to balance expenses with production costs and sales. For businesses in manufacturing, establishing and monitoring an overhead rate can help keep expenses proportional to production volumes and sales.


As you’ve learned, understanding the cost needed to manufacture a product is critical to making many management decisions (Figure 6.2). Knowing the total and component costs of the product is necessary for price setting and for measuring the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization. Remember that product costs consist of direct materials, direct labor, and manufacturing overhead. A company’s manufacturing overhead costs are all costs other than direct material, direct labor, or selling and administrative costs. Once a company has determined the overhead, it must establish how to allocate the cost. This allocation can come in the form of the traditional overhead allocation method or activity-based costing..

  • Direct costs include direct labor, direct materials, manufacturing supplies, and wages tied to production.
  • The formula for a predetermined overhead rate is expressed as a ratio of the estimated amount of manufacturing overhead to be incurred in a period to the estimated activity base for the period.
  • Implementation of ABC requires identification and record maintenance for various overheads.
  • It’s calculated by obtaining budgeted cost and level of activity, and it’s preferred over actual overheads because estimates can include seasonal variations and other estimates.

Larger organizations may employ a different predetermined overhead rate in each production department, which tends to improve the accuracy of overhead application by employing a higher level of precision. However, the use of multiple predetermined overhead rates also increases the amount of required accounting labor. To calculate a predetermined overhead rate, divide the manufacturing overhead cost by the units of allocation. Budgeted level of activity and other details are used in the calculation of the overhead rate. So, if a higher activity level is forecasted in the accounting period, lower overheads can be estimated and vice versa.

Limitations of the POHR formula

To account for these changes in technology and production, many organizations today have adopted an overhead allocation method known as activity-based costing (ABC). This chapter will explain the transition to ABC and provide a foundation in its mechanics. Direct labor standard rate, machine hours standard rate, and direct labor hours standard rate are some methods of factory overhead absorption. This is related to an activity rate which is a similar calculation used in Activity-based costing. A pre-determined overhead rate is normally the term when using a single, plant-wide base to calculate and apply overhead. Overhead is then applied by multiplying the pre-determined overhead rate by the actual driver units.

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Often, the actual overhead costs experienced in the coming period are higher or lower than those budgeted when the estimated overhead rate or rates were determined. At this point, do not be concerned about the accuracy of the future financial statements that will be created using these estimated overhead allocation rates. You will learn in Determine and Disposed of Underapplied or Overapplied Overhead how to adjust for the difference between the allocated amount and the actual amount. The production manager has told us that the manufacturing overhead will be $ 500,000 for the whole year and the company expected to spend 20,000 hours on direct labor.

What Is the Overhead Rate?

With this information in mind, it pays to take some time to calculate your own predetermined overhead rate so that you can manage expenses with confidence. The controller of the Gertrude Radio Company wants to develop a predetermined overhead rate, which she can use to introduction to total return swaps apply overhead more quickly in each reporting period, thereby allowing for a faster closing process. A later analysis reveals that the actual amount that should have been assigned to inventory is $48,000, so the $2,000 difference is charged to the cost of goods sold.

Prior to the start of the accounting year, JKL Corp calculates the predetermined annual overhead rate to be used in the new year. JKL’s profit plan for the new year includes $1,200,000 as the budgeted amount of manufacturing overhead. JKL allocates the manufacturing overhead based on the normal and expected number of production machine hours which are 20,000 for the new year. Therefore, the JKL’s predetermined manufacturing overhead rate for the new year will be $60 ($1,200,000/20,000) per production machine hour. As you have learned, the overhead needs to be allocated to the manufactured product in a systematic and rational manner. This allocation process depends on the use of a cost driver, which drives the production activity’s cost.

Estimated Total Manufacturing Overhead Costs

This rate is used to allocate these costs to the various products and services that the company produces. The goal is to have a more accurate understanding of the true cost of each product or service. The common allocation bases are direct labor hours, direct labor cost, machine hours, and direct materials.

In the coming year, the company expects the total overheads to be $100,000 and expects that there will be 25,000 machine hours worked. Unexpected expenses can be a result of a big difference between actual and estimated overheads. Different businesses have different ways of costing; some use the single rate, others use multiple rates, and the rest use activity-based costing. The predetermined overhead rate calculation shown in the example above is known as the single predetermined overhead rate or plant-wide overhead rate. There are several concerns with using a predetermined overhead rate, which include are noted below. Following are some of the disadvantages of using a predetermined overhead rate.


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