Cost resolution

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The goal of cost resolution (also cost splitting , cost breakdown ) in business administration is the division of the total costs into fixed costs and variable costs .


For cost accounting , a cost breakdown is necessary in order to be able to set up a cost function , for which the cost breakdown must separate the variable costs from the fixed costs. The determination of the variable and fixed costs means a division ("resolution") of the costs into these two components, which is why the term “cost resolution” is used. In 1956, Eugen Schmalenbach was the first to deal extensively with this topic.

The starting point is the total costs incurred at a certain level of employment , which are made up of variable overheads and fixed direct costs . Both types of costs behave differently when there is a change in employment, because variable costs depend on the employment , whereas fixed costs do not. If there are “spurious overheads” (variable, but not individually attributable costs), then the overheads contain variable and fixed cost components. It is also important to identify these through the cost resolution.


There are the following methods of cost resolution:

  • Analytical (mathematical) cost resolution : The difference between the different levels of employment and and the associated total costs and , so that the fixed total costs remain:
If you divide the cost difference by the employment difference, you get what is known as the proportional rate .
  • Statistical cost resolution :
    • Book-based cost resolution (synthetic method): it examines how costs have behaved in the past in the event of changes in employment.
    • Scatter point method (graphic method),
    • Row half method (method of half averages).

Procedures for the planned cost resolution investigate whether the planned costs are also incurred if the degree of employment is "zero", but operational readiness is maintained. The mathematical resolution of costs is now only of secondary importance.

economic aspects

The knowledge of the cost types fixed and variable costs determined by the cost resolution is the most important prerequisite for the entrepreneur in order to be able to assess the change in total costs triggered by changes in employment. In this way, the cost resolution is mostly used to determine the short-term lower price limit , for cost control within budgeted cost accounting and also to determine variable costing rates for marginal budgeted cost accounting in the context of partial cost accounting . It can also be used for the purposes of contribution margin accounting in the form of marginal cost accounting and for break-even analysis.

Costs can be released both for costs actually incurred in the past ( actual costs ) and for planned costs .

Individual evidence

  1. Walther Busse von Colbe / Nils Crasselt / Bernhard Pellens (eds.), Lexikon des Accounting , 2011, p. 331
  2. ^ Gerhard Mensch, Cost Controlling , 1998, p. 106
  3. Eugen Schmalenbach, cost accounting and pricing policy , 1956, p. 77 ff.
  4. Walther Busse von Colbe / Nils Crasselt / Bernhard Pellens (eds.), Lexikon des Accounting , 2011, p. 512
  5. Heinz Rittich, Overview of cost and performance accounting , 2015, p. 140
  6. Verlag Dr. Th. Gabler (ed.), Gablers Wirtschafts-Lexikon , Volume 3, 1984, Sp. 2522
  7. ^ Rainer Ostermann, Basic Knowledge of Internal Accounting , 2010, p. 219
  8. Martin Wördenweber, Key figures and methods of cost accounting , 2020, p. 151
  9. Walther Busse von Colbe / Nils Crasselt / Bernhard Pellens (eds.), Lexikon des Accounting , 2011, p. 331