Relative unit cost accounting

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The relative cost calculation according to Paul Riebel criticizes the coding of all costs. For Riebel, the causation principle , in whatever form it is applied, is too imprecise and therefore not decision- oriented cost accounting .

The relative cost calculation according to Riebel understands operational decisions as the cause of costs, which are to be assigned to these according to the so-called identity principle . According to this, only costs on the one hand and services or the resulting revenues on the other hand that relate to the same decision or were caused by the identical decision. Riebel defines all costs as relative individual costs. Reference value hierarchies are formed in the Riebel cost accounting system. In the case of the relative direct cost calculation, all costs are to be recorded and shown in the places where they can just be shown as direct costs or as individual revenues. Reference values ​​can be both factual and time-related.

It should be noted in particular that some items are not taken into account in Riebel's annual result. On the one hand, there are period overheads that occur irregularly. The overhead costs of closed periods can only be clearly assigned to several billing periods. The overheads of open periods are goods whose use extends over several periods and whose useful life is not known ex ante . After all, relative direct cost accounting only records costs that affect expenditure. Imputed costs are not included in the calculation. Based on the revenue, the relative individual costs of successive reference levels are gradually deducted. This creates the corresponding contribution margins at the different levels.

Reference objects can be, for example, the following:

Manufactured product → Product group → Sales area → Division → Company.


  • Paul Riebel : Direct cost and contribution margin accounting. Basic questions of a market and decision-oriented corporate accounting. 7th edition. Gabler Verlag, Wiesbaden 1994, ISBN 3-409-26095-1