The cost structures of your firm are fundamental to its longevity. Understanding the link between more revenue and additional costs required (or the opposite), cost allocations, fixed or marginal costs has significant impact on profitability.
Understanding costs will make sure your business is spending in the right areas as costs are not only tide to profits of a stable business, they’re also tide to generating revenue to grow or maintain current levels. Below are some initial area relating costs to challenge your thoughts for your business.
Types of costs
When people think of costs, they generally lead towards Fixed Costs which are predominately linked to labour and the majority of overheads. Fixed costs are fixed for a known period of time and can only be broken with notice.
One of the biggest mistakes even accountants make is incorrectly allocating fixed direct and indirect costs to review a true reflection of the business to provide meaning.
Then you have Variable Costs. These are costs that increase or decrease with usage or outcomes. The majority of variable costs are related to costs such as direct costs (including labour or contractors), utilities or commissions.
You will also need to consider costs allocations in your business, especially at internal reporting levels. This will help identify profitability or team business units, service/product lines and even the success of projects. To have effective costs allocations, first you need to identify the nature of costs and how they are assigned to each area of your business.
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When applying economic principals to costs, there are a few key areas you need to understand. These are:
- Profits are maximised when marginal costs equal marginal revenue
- Shut down your business, business unit/service line or project when marginal and variable costs are equal
- There is profit produced if price and quantity meet above average total costs
Note – Economic principals assume there is perfect competition and no other factors come into play i.e. knowledge, location, relationship value. You need to apply additional factors that concern your business.
Where do you start?
If you’re unsure of where to start in your business, then simply start with identifying your firm’s cost structures. Assign responsibilities around costs moving forward and understand your cost links before performing a current cost structure review.