# Joint and By-Product Costing: Allocation Methods and Considerations

In the manufacturing industry, companies often produce multiple products from a common set of resources, resulting in joint and by-products. Joint products are two or more products that are produced simultaneously from a single process, while by-products are secondary products that are produced alongside the main product. Accurately allocating joint costs and accounting for by-products is crucial for inventory valuation, income measurement, and decision-making. This article explores the concepts of joint cost allocation and by-product accounting, highlighting the different methods used and their implications for cost-volume-profit (CVP) analysis.

### Key Facts

1. Joint costs are the costs incurred in the production of joint products, which are two or more products produced from a common process or set of resources.
2. By-products are products that are produced alongside the main product in the manufacturing process.
3. Joint costs are typically allocated to the main products, not the by-products.
4. There are different methods for allocating joint costs to joint products, such as the relative sales value, physical units, or net realizable value methods.
5. The sales value method allocates joint costs based on the sales value of each product at the split-off point.
6. The physical units method allocates joint costs based on the physical measure of each product, such as weight, volume, or units.
7. The net realizable value method allocates joint costs based on the estimated sales value of each product after deducting any further processing costs.
8. The choice of allocation method depends on the nature of the products and the industry.

## Joint Cost Allocation Methods

Joint costs are the costs incurred up to the point where joint products can be identified and separated. Allocating these costs to individual products poses a challenge, as there is no clear basis for assigning them directly. Several methods are commonly used for joint cost allocation, each with its advantages and disadvantages:

1. Sales Value Method: This method allocates joint costs based on the relative sales value of each product at the split-off point. The sales value of each product is determined by multiplying its unit sales price by the number of units produced. The joint costs are then allocated to each product in proportion to its sales value.

2. Physical Units Method: This method allocates joint costs based on the physical measure of each product, such as weight, volume, or units. The joint costs are allocated to each product in proportion to its physical measure. This method is simple to apply but may not accurately reflect the relative value of the products.

3. Net Realizable Value Method: This method allocates joint costs based on the estimated sales value of each product after deducting any further processing costs. The estimated sales value is determined by subtracting the estimated selling price of the product from the estimated cost of completing the product. The joint costs are then allocated to each product in proportion to its net realizable value.

## By-Product Accounting Methods

By-products are usually not allocated any joint costs because their sales value is typically insignificant compared to the main products. Instead, there are two main methods for accounting for by-products:

1. Sales Method: This method recognizes the sales value of the by-products as a reduction of the joint costs when they are sold. The sales value of the by-products is subtracted from the total joint costs to determine the net joint costs. The net joint costs are then allocated to the main products using one of the joint cost allocation methods discussed above.

2. Production Method: This method recognizes the sales value of the by-products as a separate income item when they are produced. The sales value of the by-products is credited to a separate income account, and the by-products are included in inventory at a nominal value. This method provides a more accurate picture of the profitability of the main products and the by-products.

## Implications for CVP Analysis

CVP analysis is a powerful tool for planning and decision-making in manufacturing. It helps determine the sales volume and product mix that will generate a target profit or breakeven point. When dealing with joint products or by-products, it is essential to adjust the contribution margin of each product based on the joint cost allocation and by-product accounting methods used.

For example, if the sales value method is used for joint cost allocation and the sales method is used for by-product accounting, the contribution margin of each product is calculated by subtracting the allocated joint costs from the sales price and adding the sales value of the by-products to the variable cost. This adjusted contribution margin is then used in CVP analysis to determine the sales volume and product mix that will achieve the desired profit or breakeven point.

### Conclusion

Joint cost allocation and by-product accounting are essential aspects of cost accounting in manufacturing. The choice of allocation method and accounting treatment for by-products can significantly impact inventory valuation, income measurement, and decision-making. By understanding the concepts and methods discussed in this article, manufacturers can accurately allocate joint costs, account for by-products, and perform CVP analysis to optimize their operations and achieve profitability.

References

1. California State University, Northridge. (n.d.). Joint Cost Allocation. Retrieved from http://www.csun.edu/~hcbus003/ACCT380Solutions/chapter07.doc
3. Accounting Professor. (2023). Joint and By-Product Costing – Explained With Examples. Retrieved from https://accountingprofessor.org/joint-and-by-product-costing-explained-with-examples/

## FAQs

### Are joint costs allocated to by-products?

Generally, joint costs are not allocated to by-products. This is because by-products are considered secondary products with a relatively low sales value compared to the main products. Allocating joint costs to by-products would distort the cost of the main products and potentially lead to inaccurate inventory valuation and income measurement.

### How are by-products accounted for?

There are two main methods for accounting for by-products: the sales method and the production method. The sales method recognizes the sales value of the by-products as a reduction of the joint costs when they are sold. The production method recognizes the sales value of the by-products as a separate income item when they are produced.

### What is the purpose of joint cost allocation?

Joint cost allocation aims to assign the joint costs incurred in the production of multiple products to each product in a fair and reasonable manner. This allows manufacturers to determine the cost of each product accurately, which is crucial for inventory valuation, income measurement, and decision-making.

### What are the different methods of joint cost allocation?

The three most common methods of joint cost allocation are:

• Sales Value Method: Allocates joint costs based on the relative sales value of each product at the split-off point.
• Physical Units Method: Allocates joint costs based on the physical measure of each product, such as weight, volume, or units.
• Net Realizable Value Method: Allocates joint costs based on the estimated sales value of each product after deducting any further processing costs.

### Which joint cost allocation method is most appropriate?

The choice of joint cost allocation method depends on the nature of the products and the industry. The sales value method is commonly used when the sales value of the products is a good indicator of their relative profitability. The physical units method is often used when the products are physically similar and have similar processing costs. The net realizable value method is used when the estimated sales value of the products after further processing is a more accurate measure of their relative profitability.

### How does joint cost allocation impact CVP analysis?

Joint cost allocation affects CVP analysis by influencing the contribution margin of each product. The contribution margin is the difference between the sales price and the variable cost of a product. When joint costs are allocated to products, the allocated joint costs become part of the variable cost. Therefore, the choice of joint cost allocation method can impact the contribution margin and, consequently, the breakeven point and target profit calculations in CVP analysis.

### What is the difference between joint products and by-products?

Joint products are two or more products that are produced simultaneously from a single process or set of resources. By-products are secondary products that are produced alongside the main product in the manufacturing process. Joint products typically have significant sales value and are considered the primary products of the process. By-products, on the other hand, have a relatively low sales value and are not the primary focus of the production process.

### How are joint costs treated in the income statement?

Joint costs are typically included in the cost of goods sold on the income statement. The allocated joint costs are added to the direct materials and direct labor costs to determine the total manufacturing cost of the products. The total manufacturing cost is then used to calculate the cost of goods sold, which is an expense on the income statement.