# Accounting Cost Behavior: Online Accounting Tutorial & Questions

The scattergraph method is not an overly precise approach for determining cost levels since it does not include the impact of step costing points, where costs change dramatically at certain activity levels. The method is also not useful when there is little correlation between the costs incurred and the related activity level because projecting costs into the future is difficult. Actual costs incurred in future periods might vary from the scattergraph method’s projections.

• The method is also not useful when there is little correlation between the costs incurred and the related activity level because projecting costs into the future is difficult.
• With this method, the mixed cost is separated into a fixed and variable costs.
• Plot activity level (i.e. number of units, labor hours etc.) along x-axis and total mixed cost along y-axis.

But it’s nonetheless a good formula to have an idea about the operating leverage of a company, which is the percentage of fixed cost versus variable cost. The desired company is one with a low level of fixed cost so that it can manage through crisis phases where demand and activity level are low. Actual costs incurred in future periods might vary substantially from what the scattergraph method projects will happen. The following data was gathered for five production runs of ABC Company.

## Scattergraph Method in Managerial Accounting

By plotting data points on a graph, we can determine the cost function line; whereby the fixed and variable cost values can easily be derived. For the above scatter graph, the activity level or production in units is presented on x-axis and the related costs are presented on y-axis. A regression line is drawn which extends from left to right to show an increase in cost as the level of activity increases. Start a scatter graph by creating an x-axis with the activity data, and a y-axis with the total cost data. Instead, look at the points as a whole, and try to mentally split them in half.

• A scatter graph splits the cost into fixed and variable portions.
• The visual inspection helps to put a regression line on the graph.
• Scatter graph method is a visual representation used to divide fixed and variable cost components from a mixed cost figure.
• \$14,000 is fixed and \$72,000 is variable, for a total of \$86,000 (\$14,000 + \$72,000).
• Start a scatter graph by creating an x-axis with the activity data, and a y-axis with the total cost data.

Scatter graph method is a graphical technique of separating fixed and variable components of mixed cost by plotting activity level along x-axis and corresponding total cost (i.e. mixed cost) along y-axis. A regression line is then drawn on the graph by visual inspection. The line thus drawn is used to estimate the total fixed cost and variable cost per unit. The point where the line intercepts y-axis is the estimated fixed cost and the slope of the line is the average variable cost per unit. Since the visual inspection does not involve any mathematical testing therefore this method should be applied with great care.

The scattergraph method is not an overly precise method for determining cost levels, since it does not factor in the impact of step costing points, where costs change dramatically at certain activity levels. A semi-variable expense is more complicated to analyze since it is made up of both fixed and variable factors. A scatter graph method is one method used to separate the mixed cost into different components.

## Steps in Performing the Scatter Graph Method

Estimate the cost function using the scatter graph method. Company α decides to use scatter graph method to split its factory overhead (FOH) into variable and fixed components. A scattergraph uses a horizontal x-axis that represents a firm’s production activity and a vertical y-axis that represents its cost.

The rest of the cost depends on how much of the service that you use; the more you use of the utility, the higher the bill. When you’re calculating a budget, it can be difficult to estimate how much to allocate for this type of cost. The plotted points are the amounts of gallons used in each month. \$14,000 is fixed and \$72,000 is variable, for a total of \$86,000 (\$14,000 + \$72,000). The Cannon Company provides you the following overhead cost data for eight production runs. Nova has taught accounting and business courses at a community college for 17 years.

## Costs and Scatter Graphs

The cost equation will provide you with fixed and variable estimates for each mixed cost. You will need historical data to create the scatter graph; one year’s worth is the minimum to get a good approximation of the expense. For each month, you need the total of the cost and the total of the activity. The activity for utilities could be kilowatts used, gallons used, hours used, etc. The scatter graph is a great tool for estimating mixed costs. It uses historical data to develop a regression line that reveals the total and fixed cost at a certain activity level.

Also known as a semi-fixed cost, this refers to a cost composed of a mixture of both fixed and variable components. Costs are fixed for a set level of production or consumption, and become variable after this production level is exceeded. If no production occurs, a fixed cost is often still incurred. The scatter graph method is used to segregate mixed costs and is more accurate than the high-low method. By plotting the relevant data, the fixed and variable cost components can be determined from specific points on the graph.

## Scattergraph method

With this method, the mixed cost is separated into a fixed and variable costs. Scatter graph method is a visual representation used to divide fixed and variable cost components from a mixed cost figure. This is done by plotting the points at which the cost on one axis and activity on another axis meet to find out the correlation between these two variable. The graphical method of separating the mixed cost into the fixed cost and the variable cost is known as the scatter graph method. Based on the graph above, the line of best fit crosses the y-axis at approximately \$12,000, hence total fixed costs is equal to \$12,000. Plot activity level (i.e. number of units, labor hours etc.) along x-axis and total mixed cost along y-axis.

Data are plotted as points on the graph, and a regression line that runs through the dots represents the best fit of the relationship between the variables. Have you noticed that your electricity bill fluctuates with the different seasons? Have you also noticed that even when you use very little, or no electricity, you will still owe a flat fee just for having the electricity connected to your house? This type of cost is a mixed cost; it has two components that are added together to get the total. A utility bill is a common expense that is considered a mixed cost; each month you’re charged a base amount that you will owe even if you don’t use that utility, like electricity or water.

The method derives its name from the overall image of the graph, which consists of many scattered dots. Ideally, the result of a scattergraph analysis is a formula with the total amount of fixed cost and the variable cost per unit of activity. The scatter-graph method is a graphical approach in calculating fixed and variable costs.

She has a master’s degree in Workforce Education and Development, with specializations in Electronic Distance Education and Accounting.