Difference between Conversion Cost and Prime Cost

While both types of costs are important for calculating the total cost of production, they differ in terms of what expenses they include. Prime costs ignore manufacturing overhead, while conversion costs leave out direct materials. Businesses use both cost formulas to assess profitability and labor efficiency. Consider the same woodworker who constructed and sold a new hand-crafted table for $250. The cost of the raw materials was $200, and it took him three hours to construct.

  • The objective of calculating prime costs and conversion costs are also different.
  • Knowing your prime costs and conversion costs is the first step to getting a better sense of how your company operates and how you can improve your spending, pricing, and general operations.
  • Prime Cost, on the other hand, refers to the direct costs directly attributable to the production of a product or service.
  • Direct work or direct labour costs incorporate the compensation, wages, or benefits paid to a worker or an employee on the fulfilment of every single completed item or product.
  • Prime Cost is the foundation of Conversion Cost, as it forms the basis for the calculation of direct labor costs.
  • Cost classified by their nature are grouped together on the basis of their relationship to the production process of the business.

Factory overhead refers to costs incurred in production other than direct materials and direct labor. Conversion costs include direct labor and overhead expenses incurred due to the transformation or conversion of raw materials into finished goods. Calculating Conversion Cost involves adding up the direct labor costs and manufacturing overhead costs.

Which Costs Are Both Prime and Conversion Costs?

For example, if a company incurs $10,000 in direct labor costs and $5,000 in manufacturing overhead costs during a specific period, the Conversion Cost would be $15,000. On the other hand, calculating Prime Cost involves adding up the cost of raw materials and direct labor. For instance, if a company spends $8,000 on raw materials and $12,000 on direct labor during a specific period, the Prime Cost would be $20,000. Conversion costs include the direct labor and overhead expenses incurred as raw materials are transformed into finished products. The estimation for prime expenses or prime cost incorporates the sum spent on both direct materials and direct work or direct labour. Substantial parts and tangible components, for example, unrefined components or raw materials important to make a finished item, are incorporated as a piece of direct materials.

To produce these bicycles, a frame is purchased from a supplier costing $10. These are the materials that go directly into the production of the bicycle. Other materials are also purchased for $7 but they do not contribute directly to the production of the bicycle. Overhead costs are incurred to keep operations running and include elements like electricity, telephone, and postage.

  • In a restaurant, the cooks, servers, busboys, and other staff are included in labor because the end product consists of the dining experience as well as the prepared meal.
  • Prime expenses incorporate the expense of direct materials utilised and the expense of direct work or labour utilised.
  • Timber, glue, nails, glass and finishing materials have been treated as direct materials because they all become part of finished and ready to sell table.
  • Calculating Conversion Cost involves adding up the direct labor costs and manufacturing overhead costs.

After business generate revenues, all the costs related to the products that are sold are subtracted from the revenues, to determine the profit that is generated by the business. Subsequently, all other expenses are subtracted from the gross profit to calculate the net profit of the business. In this article, we will cover the prime and conversion costs of a business. This includes the key definitions, examples and key differences between the tow costs. First, let’s understand some overview of the basic costs structures as below.

Managerial Accounting

All these expenditures are aggregated and divided on the number of units produced to find the cost per unit of a single product. For complex production setups, other methods such as batch costing and process costing may be used to determine the cost per unit produced. Examples of direct labor workers include welders, machine operators, assemblers and painters etc. A woodworker manufacturing a chair would count lumber and fabric as direct materials. These prime costs are the essential expenses required to make your products. Assume that direct materials cost $700, direct labor is $500, and factory overhead is $300 for cabinets that have been manufactured.

It’s the sum of the labour (which falls into both categories, prime and conversion) and the overhead costs that go into making your products. Your labour costs 9 things new parents need to know before filing their taxes in 2020 are the compensation you pay the employees who make your products. Overhead costs are your expenses that don’t directly relate to any single product.

Traceability to final product

Since the company produced 500 units of chairs per month, the conversion cost per unit of a single chair will be $6. Both prime costs and conversion costs are sub-categorizations of product or manufacturing costs. These cost concepts are primarily found in manufacturing entities as other entities such as trading entities and service entities do not deploy direct materials and labor to produce finished goods. Direct labor, as mentioned above, refers to the salaries of production workers.

Calculation and Examples

The next element to calculate is direct labor, or the compensation of factory workers. When costs are classified by whether they relate to the production of the product or are simply non-production expenses, it is known as classification by function. This classification by cost is used to categorize costs into different functions such as the cost of sales, operating expenses, etc. for financial reporting purposes. Reusable tableware isn’t considered direct material; as a general rule, direct material must be something the customer can (legally) leave with.

By contrast, overhead costs refer to costs that are indirectly related to production, which include electricity, rent, or salaries, among others. Prime expenses and transformation costs are depended upon intensely in the assembling area or the manufacturing industry as a measurement to decide proficiency in the development of a particular item. Prime costs are generally direct material and direct labor that goes into the development and preparation of the materials used in the manufacturing process. It is generally all costs incurred that do not contribute to the conversion of direct materials into the final product.

Conversion costs are mainly calculated to identify any inefficiencies or wastages within the production process. Finally, the factory overheads are also considered when calculating the conversion cost of the chair. The total conversion cost for the chair production process is $3,000 which includes $1,000 electricity expense and $2,000 rent expense attributed to the chair production.

As a result, the prime cost calculation can be misleading if indirect costs are relatively large. A company likely incurs several other expenses that would not be included in the calculation of the prime cost, such as manager salaries or expenses for additional supplies needed to keep the factory running. These other expenses are considered manufacturing overhead expenses and are included in the calculation of the conversion cost.

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