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Direct Material Variance Formulas

In conclusion, both Material Price Variance (MPV) and Material Quantity Variance (MQV) play crucial roles in cost management by identifying different aspects of material cost deviations. A company has a standard material requirement of 2 pounds of material per unit of product. For a production run of 1,000 units, the standard quantity expected is 2,000 pounds. Direct material variance analysis is a vital tool in cost accounting and management. It provides a detailed understanding of where deviations from expected material costs occur and why, enabling businesses to take proactive steps to manage and control their production costs effectively.


The difference between this actual expenditure and the actual expenditure on direct material is the direct materials price variance. Figure 10.35 shows the connection between the direct materials price variance and direct materials quantity variance to total direct materials cost variance. Figure 8.3 shows the connection between the direct materials price variance and direct materials quantity variance to total direct materials cost variance. With either of these formulas, the actual quantity purchased refers to the actual amount of materials bought during the period. If there is no difference between the standard price and the actual price paid, the outcome will be zero, and no price variance exists. Materials price variance (or direct materials price variance) is the part of materials cost variance that is attributable to the difference between the actual price paid and the standard price specified for direct materials.

Example of Direct Materials Price Variance

Our selling price is higher than the competitors and for sure it will impact the sale quantity. However, someone other than purchasing manager could be responsible for materials price variance. For example, production is scheduled in such a way that the purchasing manager must request express delivery. In this situation the production manager should be held responsible for the resulting price variance. The standard quantity of 420,000 pounds is the quantity of materials allowed given actual production.

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The difference in the quantity is multiplied by the standard price to determine that there was a $1,200 favorable direct materials quantity variance. This is offset by a larger unfavorable direct materials price variance of $2,520. The net direct materials cost variance is still $1,320 (unfavorable), but this additional analysis shows how the quantity and price differences contributed to the overall variance.

Direct Material Variance Formulas

Indirect materials include nails, screws, glue, and other small or immaterial items. As you can see from the list of variance causes, different people may be responsible for an unfavorable variance. For example, a rush order is probably caused by an incorrect inventory record that is the responsibility of the warehouse manager. As another example, the decision to buy in different volumes may be caused by an incorrect sales estimate, which is the responsibility of the sales manager. In most other cases, the purchasing manager is considered to be responsible.

Direct Materials Cost Variance

The materials price variance is the difference between the actual and budgeted cost to acquire materials, multiplied by the total number of units purchased. The variance is used to spot instances in which a business may be overpaying for raw materials and components. However, it is only useful if the budgeted cost in the calculation has a reasonable basis. With either of these formulas, the actual quantity used refers to the actual amount of materials used at the actual production output.

The following sections explain how management can assess potential causes for a favorable or adverse material price variance and devise a suitable response to the variation. The total price variance during January is $ 200 ($ 400 – $ 300  + $ 100), and it will impact the cost of goods sold in statement of profit and lose. Knowledge of this variance may prompt a company’s management team to increase product prices, use substitute materials, or find other offsetting sources of cost reduction.

Materials price variance represents the difference between the standard cost of the actual quantity purchased and the actual cost of these materials. The materials quantity variance calculation presented previously shows the actual quantity used in production of 399,000 pounds is lower than the expected (budgeted) quantity of 420,000 pounds. Clearly, this is favorable because the actual quantity used was lower than the expected (budgeted) quantity. Material Quantity Variance (MQV) refers to the difference between the actual quantity of materials used in production and the standard quantity expected, adjusted by the standard price.

The purchasing department and production manager need to do proper inspect all the material during delivery. Note 10.26 “Business in Action 10.2” illustrates just how important it is to track direct materials variances accurately. Effective cost management is essential for manufacturing businesses to remain competitive and profitable.

Market price fluctuations due to seasonal changes, demand and supply dynamics, or economic factors can also cause MPV. For example, prices of raw materials like metals or agricultural products can vary significantly based on market conditions, affecting the actual price paid compared to the standard price. is the difference between the actual price paid for purchased materials and their standard cost at the actual direct material purchased amount.

The standard price is the price the company’s purchasing staff assumes it should pay for direct materials after undertaking predefined quality, speed of delivery, and standard purchasing quantity. The purchasing staff of ABC Manufacturing estimates that the budgeted cost of a palladium component should be set at $10.00 per pound, which is based on an estimated purchasing volume of 50,000 pounds per year. This creates a materials price variance of $2.50 per pound, and a variance of $62,500 for all of the 25,000 pounds that ABC purchases.

However, a favorable direct material price variance is not always good; it should be analyzed in the context of direct material quantity variance and other relevant factors. It is quite possible that the purchasing department may purchase low quality raw material to generate a favorable direct material price variance. Such a favorable material price variance will be offset by an unfavorable direct material quantity variance due to wastage of low quality direct material. Direct material price variance is the difference between actual cost of direct material and the standard cost.

In this case, the actual quantity of materials used is 0.20 pounds, the standard price per unit of materials is $7.00, and the standard quantity used is 0.25 pounds. This is a favorable outcome because the actual quantity of materials used was less than the standard quantity expected at the actual production output level. As a result of this favorable outcome information, the company may consider continuing operations as they exist, or could change future budget projections to reflect higher profit margins, among other things. A favorable DM price variance occurs when the actual price paid for raw materials is less than the estimated standard price. It could mean that the firm’s purchasing department was able to negotiate or find materials with lower cost.

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  2. This creates a direct material price variance of $2.50 per pound, and a variance of $62,500 for all of the 25,000 pounds that ABC purchases.
  3. With either of these formulas, the actual quantity used refers to the actual amount of materials used to create one unit of product.
  4. An unfavorable outcome means the actual costs related to materials were more than the expected (standard) costs.

Therefore, the purchase cost of the entire quantity must be compared with the standard cost of the actual quantity. A reasonable best practice to consider when using the materials price variance is to ensure that it is being properly calculated. This means defining each element of the calculation, to ensure that the same information is used in each subsequent calculation. In addition, be sure to pull the baseline data from the same database each time for each calculation. In addition, run the calculation as soon as possible after a purchase has been made, since this makes it easier to track down the causes of any resulting variances.

If the total actual cost is higher than the total standard cost, the variance is unfavorable since the company paid more than what it expected to pay. If the total actual cost incurred is less than the total standard cost, the variance is favorable. For Boulevard Blanks, let’s assume that the standard cost of lumber is set at $6 per board foot and the standard quantity for each blank is four board feet.

Due to bulk purchasing discounts, the actual price paid was $3.50 per unit. The producer must be aware that the difference between what it expects to happen and what actually happens will affect all of the goods produced using these particular materials. Therefore, the sooner management is aware of a problem, the sooner they can fix it.

For that reason, the material price variance is computed at the time of purchase and not when the material is used in production. Since the price paid by the company for the purchase of direct material exceeds the standard price by $120, the statement of comprehensive income example is unfavorable. Calculate the direct material price variance if the standard price and actual unit price per unit of direct material are $4.00 and $4.10 respectively; and actual units of direct material used during the period are 1,200. The direct material price variance can be meaningless or even harmful in some circumstances. Consequently, the variance should only be used when there is evidence of a clear price increase that management should be made aware of.

Standard costing allows comparison between actual costs incurred and budgeted costs based on standards. In a manufacturing environment, variance analysis may be performed separately for the different components of costs, i.e. direct materials, direct labor, and factory overhead. The credit balance on the direct materials price variance account (400) splits between the raw materials inventory account (160) and the cost of goods sold account (240). This reduces both accounts by the appropriate amount, and clears the variance account balance.

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