High-Low Method Definition, Formula, Calculate

It only requires the high and low points of the data and can be worked through with a simple calculator. Simply adding the fixed cost (Step 3) and variable cost (Step 4) gives us the total cost of factory overheads in April. High Low method will give us the estimation of fixed cost and variable cost, the result may be changed when the total what’s inside an oscar nominee’s swag bag unit and cost of both point change. High-low method accounting is used to calculate costs at the maximum (high) and minimum (low) levels of production. This makes it possible to calculate (or at least estimate), the break-even point. Businesses can then use this to forecast when and how they might benefit from economies of scale.

  • However, the reliability of the variable costs with two extreme activity levels poses questions over the effectiveness of the method.
  • For the last 12 months, you have noted the monthly cost and the number of burgers sold in the corresponding month.
  • The first step is to determine the highest and lowest levels of activities and the units produced against each of these levels.
  • It makes use of certain techniques to deduct an element of fixed cost from the total cost.
  • Variable costs are expenses that change depending on the quantity of production or number of units sold.
  • It considers the total dollars of the mixed costs at the highest volume of activity and the total dollars of the mixed costs at the lowest volume of activity.

So, the differential cost of USD 10,000 divided by differential units of 4,000 results in USD 2.5 per unit (10,000/4,000). Similarly, the variable cost of producing 10,000 units has been deducted from the total cost of USD 55,000 at the higher level of activity. Hence, the remaining balance of the numerator is the variable cost of differential 4,000 units. Simply multiplying the variable cost per unit (Step 2) by the number of units expected to be produced in April gives us the total variable cost for that month. Due to the simplicity of using the high-low method to gain insight into the cost-activity relationship, it does not consider small details such as variation in costs. The high-low method assumes that fixed and unit variable costs are constant, which is not the case in real life.

Create a Free Account and Ask Any Financial Question

In cost accounting, the high-low method is a way of attempting to separate out fixed and variable costs given a limited amount of data. The high-low method involves taking the highest level of activity and the lowest level of activity and comparing the total costs at each level. The biggest advantage of the High-Low method is that uses a simple mathematical equation to find out the variable cost per unit.

  • This article describes the high-low method formula and how to use the high-low cost method calculator to estimate any business or production cost per unit.
  • For instance, the factory got a monthly production capacity of 10,000 units and paid USD 10,000 per month.
  • ABC International produces 10,000 green widgets in June at a cost of $50,000, and 5,000 green widgets in July at a cost of $35,000.
  • Take your learning and productivity to the next level with our Premium Templates.
  • Once the variable cost per unit and the fixed costs are calculated, the future expected activity level costs can be determined using the same equation.

This is standard practice with costs that relate to contracts for goods or services. Hence, when we deduct USD 45,000 in USD 55,000, the fixed cost is net and the variable cost to the extent of equality in the level of production is eliminated. In other words, as fixed cost is the same in both months, the fixed cost has been eliminated by deduction. Consider the total production cost of February was USD 45,000 and the number of units produced was 10,000. Similarly, the cost of production was USD, 55,000 and the number of units produced was 14,000. In most real-world cases, it should be possible to obtain more information so the variable and fixed costs can be determined directly.

Variable Cost per Unit

The main disadvantage of the high-low method is that it oversimplifies the relationship between cost and production activity by only taking the highest and lowest data points into account. Regression analysis helps forecast costs as well, by comparing the influence of one predictive variable upon another value or criteria. However, regression analysis is only as good as the set of data points used, and the results suffer when the data set is incomplete. High Low Method is a mathematical technique used to determine the fixed and variable elements of a historical cost that is partially fixed and partially variable. So the highest activity happened in the month of Jun, and the lowest was in the month of March.

Is the high low method the only method for estimating fixed and variable costs?

The cost accounting technique of the high-low method is used to split the variable and fixed costs. The mathematical expression for the high-low method takes the highest and lowest activity levels from an accounting period. The activity levels are then apportioned against the highest and lowest number of units produced. The one element of the total cost then provides the second element by deducting it from the total costs. The Total cost refers to a summation of the fixed and variable costs of production. Suppose the variable cost per unit is fixed, and fixed costs at the highest and lowest production levels remain the same.

What is the High-Low Method in Accounting?

This is a very important concept in cost accounting and is very useful in determining fixed and variable costs related to the product, machinery, etc., and is also used in budgeting activities. It is a very simple method to analyze the cost without getting into complex calculations. The high-low method in accounting is used to separate the elements of variable and fixed costs from the total cost. It makes use of certain techniques to deduct an element of fixed cost from the total cost. The method makes use of two different levels of activities and related costs. Let’s assume that the company is billed monthly for its electricity usage.

Using either the high or low activity cost should yield approximately the same fixed cost value. Note that our fixed cost differs by $6.35 depending on whether we use the high or low activity cost. It is a nominal difference, and choosing either fixed cost for our cost model will suffice. However, suppose both levels of activities remain under the threshold of customarily fixed cost. In that case, there is no need to consider step fixed cost in calculating the high low method.

Which activity is most important to you during retirement?

If it’s higher, then it could make sense to apply the high-low calculation to each tier as well as to the overall maximum and minimum points. The main benefit of the high-low method is that it is simple to implement. Cost accounting is used for several purposes, such as standard costing, activity-based costing, lean accounting, and marginal costing.



Identify your gaps. Start scaling your campaigns and business.