Cost type

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Cost types ( Engl. Cost element ) are in a business to cost resolution of the total costs incurred specific cost categories that can be subdivided according to specific criteria.


For the transparency of cost and performance accounting , it is necessary to know not only the amount and course of the costs, but also the type of costs. The breakdown into individual cost types is important for cost type accounting , the first of three levels of cost and performance accounting. The second level examines the costs according to what they were incurred for ( cost unit accounting ), while the third level asks where the costs were incurred ( cost center accounting). A certain cost type is the set of all costs for which a certain characteristic is equally pronounced. When creating cost types, the principles of complete recording, needs-based subdivision, avoidance of superfluous classification criteria, subdivision according to their further charging and the identification of imputed types of costs must be observed.

Classification criteria of the types of costs

Depending on the underlying criterion, there are 4 categories into which the types of costs can be divided:

If one examines the production factors used in the production process, then cost types can be divided into the four main criteria mentioned. A further refinement (e.g. the cost of capital in equity and debt capital costs ) brings more transparency to cost type accounting. When choosing classification criteria for the scope and depth of the breakdown of the types of costs, however, the principle of economic efficiency must be observed. The additional information obtained through a finer breakdown must be in a reasonable proportion to the administrative costs that it triggers.

Legal Requirements

For legal reasons, certain detailed structures are required. For example, certain types of costs according to Section 255 Paragraphs 2 and 3 of the German Commercial Code ( HGB) may not be taken into account in production costs, while others can be capitalized . In order to be able to identify these types of costs, every company needs appropriate transparency in accounting .

Cost type Section 255 HGB § 203 UGB IAS 2
material costs mandatory mandatory mandatory
Manufacturing material mandatory mandatory mandatory
Manufacturing wages mandatory mandatory mandatory
Special direct costs of production mandatory mandatory mandatory
Material overheads , provided there are no idle costs mandatory Suffrage mandatory
Production overheads , provided there are no idle costs mandatory Suffrage mandatory
voluntary social costs, expenses for social institutions, expenses for company pension schemes (production-related) Suffrage Suffrage mandatory
voluntary social costs, expenses for social institutions, expenses for company pension schemes (not production-related) Suffrage Suffrage Prohibition
General administrative costs attributable to production Suffrage Prohibition mandatory
General administration costs that are not allocated to production Suffrage Prohibition Prohibition
Interest on borrowed capital that was taken out for the production of the asset (qualified asset) Suffrage Suffrage mandatory
unscheduled depreciation Prohibition Prohibition Prohibition
Commitment interest for borrowed capital Prohibition Prohibition Prohibition
Research costs Prohibition Prohibition Prohibition
Imputed costs Prohibition Prohibition Prohibition
Idle costs Prohibition Prohibition Prohibition
Distribution costs Prohibition Prohibition Prohibition
Sales tax insofar as the company is entitled to deduct input tax Prohibition Prohibition Prohibition

In Section 275 (2) of the German Commercial Code (HGB), it is also required that the cost of materials is divided into at least the cost of raw materials and supplies and the cost of goods and services , and the cost of personnel in wages and salaries and social security contributions and expenses for Pension plan and break down for support . The depreciation is to be subdivided into intangible assets of the fixed assets and tangible assets and assets of the current assets, as far as these exceed the depreciation usual in the corporation .

Cost element plan

The cost type plan contains all the cost types incurred. The costs are divided according to the above criteria. As part of the internal accounting , the structure and level of structure of the cost type plan is only required by law in the above exceptional cases, otherwise it is largely left to the company .

One example of a cost type plan is DIN 276 for the building industry. This DIN divides the total construction costs of buildings into seven types of costs or numerical cost groups from one to seven. A distinction is made between the costs of land, preparation and development, building construction, building services, outdoor facilities, facilities and ancillary construction costs.

Chart of accounts

In order to be able to record the finely structured cost types in operational accounting and cost accounting , the chart of accounts must provide a corresponding structure. Then, for example, when assigning credit interest incurred, the expense account “Interest expense for loans taken out” can be addressed directly.


  • Ossadnik, Wolfgang: cost and performance accounting, Springer Berlin Heidelberg; Edition: 1 (September 22, 2008), pp. 54–117.

Web links

Wiktionary: cost type  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Johann Steger, Cost and Performance Accounting , 2010, p. 142
  2. Lothar Hans, Fundamentals of Cost Accounting , 2001, p. 70
  3. IAS 23.8; Coenenberg, et al. a .; Annual accounts and annual accounts analysis, 2012, page 109; IDW statement on accounting: Individual questions on accounting for borrowing costs in accordance with IAS 23 (IDW RS HFA 37), No. 2
  4. IDW statement on accounting: Capitalization of production costs (IDW RS HFA 31), No. 22
  5. IDW statement on accounting: Capitalization of production costs (IDW RS HFA 31), No. 26