Use the High-Low Method to Separate Mixed Costs into Variable and Fixed Components

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  • Where T is the total cost, F is the fixed cost, V is the variable cost per unit, and N is the number of units to be produced.
  • You might consider the mixed cost as a wholly fixed or variable cost.
  • If you look at the graph above you can see how you apply this graph to our rent example.
  • See the graph to illustrate the point.
  • It also has a component that stays as-is no matter what the level of activity is.
  • Now it is possible to estimate total production costs given a certain level of production .
  • Harold Averkamp has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years.

This method can only be used if the scattergram that you used for your initial testing shows a linear correlation between the costs and the quantity! Also note that although this method is simple to apply it only uses the two points of data. Having only two points of data might produce results that are not accurate.

Formulas and Examples

Regression analysis is similar to the scattergraph approach in that both fit a straight line to a set of data points to estimate fixed and variable costs. Semi Variable Cost FormulaFixed and variable costs combine to form semi-variable costs. Because semi variable costs are influenced by both fixed and variable costs, they are also referred to as mixed costs. Variable Cost Per UnitVariable cost per unit refers to the cost of production of each unit produced, which changes when the output volume or the activity level changes. These are not committed costs as they occur only if there is production in the company. Corris Co. accumulates the following data concerning a mixed cost, using miles as the activity level. Compute the variable and fixed cost elements using the high-low method.

What is an example of the high-low method in accounting?

A company produces wooden tables. Based on the cost data of the year, the company produced the highest number of tables in July, and the lowest number of tables in November. The data for these two months are:

— Highest activity cost (July) equals $150,000;

— Highest activity units (July) equals 950;

— Lowest activity cost (November) equals $63,000;

— Lowest activity units (November) equals 290.

First, the variable cost per unit is calculated using the high-low formula:

Variable cost per unit = ($150,000 — $63,000)/(950 — 290) = $131.82 per table.

Second, the fixed cost using the highest unit cost is calculated using the high-low formula:

Fixed cost = $150,000 — (950 * 131.82) = $24,772.73.

Therefore, the cost model can be written as:

Cost model = $24,772.73 + $131.82 * Unit activity

Costs are estimated assuming that they are linear. Accountants who use this approach are looking for an approach that does not simply use the highest and lowest data points. Thinking deeper, begin with the characterization of a line. A straight line is a continuous extent of length passing through two points and can be defined on a graph by its intercept with the vertical axis and its slope along the horizontal axis. This millionaire calculator will help you determine how long it will take for you to reach a 7-figure saving or any financial goal you have.

Method Of Least Squares

Multiply the variable cost per unit by the highest activity unit. The high-low method involves three main steps to calculate the cost for any level of production.

Use the High-Low Method to Separate Mixed Costs into Variable and Fixed Components

A disadvantage of the high-low method is that the results are estimates, not exact numbers. An accountant Use the High-Low Method to Separate Mixed Costs into Variable and Fixed Components who needs to know the exact dollar amount of fixed expenses each month should contact a vendor directly.


What might be a mixed cost in a retail environment? Rent might be a mixed cost. In some leasing situations, there is a base rent, and then a percentage of sales on top of the base. Let’s imagine that you rent a space for a small retail location in your local mall. You are charged a base rent of $500 per month, plus 2% of sales. The fixed portion of this expense is $500, because you pay that amount even if your sales are zero. The variable portion of this expense will be the 2% of sales.

She then drew a regression line through the point she plotted for November when the supplies cost was $21,000 and 5,000 drum sets were produced. Least Squares Regression Method A rigorous, mathematical approach in which a series of data points are used to develop a regression line to predict total costs.

High low method

The manager of a hotel would like to develop a cost model to predict the future costs of running the hotel. Unfortunately, the only available data is the level of activity in a given month and the total costs incurred in each month. Being a new hire at the company, the manager assigns you the task of anticipating the costs that would be incurred in the following month . Calculating the outcome for the high-low method requires a few formula steps. First, you must calculate the variable cost component and then the fixed cost component, and then plug the results into the cost model formula.

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Posted: Thu, 09 Feb 2023 12:50:21 GMT [source]