Variable vs Fixed Cost
Absorption vs Variable Costing
Product Costs vs Period Costs
How to Estimate Expenses for an Annual Budget
Semi Variable Costs
Semi-variable costs are costs that include both a fixed and a variable component. Semi-variable costs are also called mixed costs.Semi-Variable Cost Example 1
Here is an example of a semi-variable cost. Let’s say you subscribe to a phone service that charges $40 dollars per month, plus $0.10 per minute for each additional minute beyond 500 minutes per month.
If you talk for less than 500 minutes per month, the cost is $40 dollars per month. Beyond 500 minutes, the cost increases. This is an example of a semi-variable cost. The flat rate of $40 dollars for 500 minutes is the fixed cost
component. The additional $0.10 per minute for each additional minute beyond 500 minutes is the variable cost
component. Semi-Variable Cost Example 2
Here is an example of a slightly different type of semi-variable cost. Let’s say a manufacturing company has an electric bill that uses semi-variable cost, including a fixed cost component and a variable cost component.
The electric company charges the manufacturing company a flat monthly rate of $300 dollars per month for basic electricity service, and then charges $0.015 per kilowatt hour (kwh). In this example, the flat rate of $300 dollars per month is the fixed cost component and the $0.015 per kwh is the variable cost component.
If the manufacturing company uses 50,000 kwhs of electricity in a particular month, its electric bill would be $1,050 dollars. ($1,050 = $300 + ($0.015 x 50,000kwhs)). And if the manufacturing company uses 100,000 kwhs of electricity the following month, its electric bill would be $1,800 dollars. ($1,800 = $300 + ($0.015 x 100,000kwhs)). Accounting Treatment
Cost accountants typically separate semi-variable costs into their two distinct components – the fixed cost component and the variable cost component – when dealing with semi-variable costs. The fixed cost component is treated separately as a fixed cost; the variable cost component is treated separately as a variable cost. This may cause a differentiation of cost that does not reflect economic reality, but it makes it easier to handle and examine the effects of semi-variable costs. Source:
Barfield, Jesse T., Michael R. Kinney, Cecily A. Raiborn. “Cost Accounting Traditions and Innovations,” West Publishing Company, St. Paul, MN, 1994.