20+ difference between job order costing and process costing (Explained)

Companies can track the costs of the things they create using task order and process costing. However, there are significant distinctions between process costing and task order costing.

You can more successfully manage your company’s manufacturing expenses, make sure you’re making a profit, and examine other crucial financial data by being aware of the similarities and differences between the two. 

The critical distinctions between task order costing and process costing are covered in this article. Because Job Costing and Process Costing are employed in various businesses, there is no comparison between the two.

The two methods do differ from one another, however. One such distinction is that while each job requires a high level of monitoring and control, the process does not since it is standardized.


Key Differences:

Job Order Costing

  1. Work costing is the name of the costing technique that determines the price of each job.
  2. When customized items are manufactured, job costing is utilized.
  3. Each work’s cost is determined by job costing.
  4. The task itself serves as the cost center in job costing.
  5. Each work needs unique consideration when calculating job costs.
  6. In job costing, there is no cost transfer from one work to another.
  7. In job costing, there is virtually little room for cost reduction.
  8. Using job costing determines the cost after the task is finished.
  9. Losses in job costing are not separable.
  10. When task costing is used, work in progress (WIP) might or might not be present at the end of the fiscal year.

Process Costing

  1. We refer to the method of calculating each process’s cost as “process costing.”
  2. Where standardized items are created, process costing is applied.
  3. The cost of each process is first estimated in process costing and then distributed over the number of units produced.
  4. In the case of process costing, the process is the cost center.
  5. For each process in process costing, no such particular consideration is necessary.
  6. In process costing, the cost of the previous process is carried over to the following one.
  7. In contrast to Process Costing, there is a relatively large potential for cost reduction.
  8. Each job’s cost is calculated using process costing.
  9. In process costing, typical losses are carefully determined, while abnormal losses are split into two categories.
  10. Contrarily, WIP will always be present in process costing at the beginning or conclusion of the accounting period, regardless of size.

Comparison Between Job Order Costing And Process Costing

ParameterJob Order CostingProcess Costing
What it isJob costing is estimating the price of a unique contract or work order when work is carried out by the client’s or customer’s instructions.Process costing is a costing technique that determines the expenses attributed to specific activities and processes.
Cost calculationDetermining the cost of each project.The cost for the process is first calculated, and then it is divided among the finished products.
Special FeatureEvery job is distinct from the next.Products lose their uniqueness as a result of being created in succession.
IndustryJob costing is appropriate for enterprises that produce goods by client orders.For industries that engage in mass manufacturing, process costing is ideal.
LossLosses are typically not divided up.Determining normal losses is meticulous, and the bifurcation of anomalous losses.
WIPWIP might or might not be present at the start or the conclusion of the fiscal year.The beginning or the conclusion of the accounting period will always have WIP.

Major Differences Between Job Order Costing And Process Costing

What Exactly Is Job Order Costing?

In job costing, manufacturing expenses for individual units or groups of units are meticulously accumulated. For instance, a task costing system might be used to account for the creation of a piece of furniture that was specially designed.

A time sheet would be used to track the costs of all labor performed on that particular piece of furniture, and a cost sheet for the project would be created from that information. 

The manufacturing job associated with that piece of furniture would be charged for any wood or other materials utilized in its manufacture.

The consumer might then be charged for the labor and supplies used, or the firm could use this data to determine how much money was made in creating that particular piece of furniture.


Determining Job Order Costing:

  1. To calculate the profit for each task, job order costing is utilized to compare the revenue received with the costs paid during the manufacturing process. 
  2. Finding the job and its criteria is the first step. This is accomplished by examining the variables and results that will be impacted by accepting this position. 
  3. This is a crucial stage since it enables you to choose a cost estimate for the work you will be doing. The next step is to determine the expenses involved in doing this work. 
  4. For instance, your wood pulp, water, glue, bleaching chemicals, and the directly engaged factory staff are direct material and labor expenditures for producing paper. 
  5. Indirect material and labor expenses include the cost of the security staff stationed at the production facility and the oil and coolants needed to keep the machines running. 
  6. The incurred indirect expenses should be assigned to the work based on prior instances. You can use this page to see whether the job’s real cost and your estimate are different. 
  7. In other words, the price tag for this task is determined by the costs associated with similar work performed in the past. 
  8. They are given as estimates, and any additional indirect expenses during manufacturing should be considered when making final adjustments. 
  9. These expenses include the price of producing the equipment, the electricity needed to power it, utility fees, and machine depreciation. 
  10. After the direct and indirect expenses have been determined, they are combined and given to the client along with an estimate for the work. 
  11. Each task is given a special production number during the manufacturing process, which will be used to identify the job until it is finished. 
  12. You must keep a job cost sheet while the work is being done to record the materials and labor used. 
  13. You must update the actual cost by including any additional expenses that may have arisen in work relative to the estimate provided to the client. 

What Exactly Is Process Costing?

Businesses use process costing, similar to task order costing, to monitor production. Process costing, however, places more of an emphasis on mass-produced goods and overall production department expenses than on tracking one-of-a-kind products.

Many major corporations employ process costing to consider variables like the number of finished goods. 

A process costing system starts with inventory analysis and cost calculation. After that, you determine the cost per unit and apply it to both finished and unfinished goods.

A corporation can select from several different processes and costing methodologies depending on its requirements.

Process costing can be helpful for any company that manufactures several same or comparable items in huge quantities, including the petroleum, processed food, pharmaceutical, paint, and plastics sectors.


Elements of Process Costing:

  1. Process costing accounts for work in progress or things that have started the manufacturing process but haven’t finished it. 
  2. At the beginning and end of each period, precisely estimate the cost of creating each unit. 
  3. Determine the quantity of inventory at the beginning of the period, the number of things that were begun throughout the period, the number that was finished and moved out, and the number that remained unfinished at the conclusion of the period by analyzing the flow of the goods during the period. 
  4. The idea of comparable units is used in process costing to account for items that remain incomplete at the conclusion of each period. 
  5. Multiply the number of unfinished units at the conclusion of the period by a percentage that represents how far along the production process they are. 
  6. For process costing reasons, 2,000 pieces of inventory that are still in progress and are 75% complete are comparable to 1,500 units (2,000 x.75% = 1,500). 
  7. Add up all production-related expenses, including those for direct materials and conversion. By the number of units, divide the overall cost. 
  8. Both finished units and comparable units are included in this computation. Therefore, the appropriate expenses would be split by 4,000 + (1,000/2) = 4,500 units. 
  9. If a company produced 4,000 goods and another 1,000 units were halfway through production. 
  10. Divide the cost by the number of units created to arrive at $3.75 per unit produced if the total cost to produce those units across all departments was $16,875. 
  11. Costs for the finished and finished work-in-progress inventory should be allocated to the respective accounts. 
  12. This makes it easier to calculate how much cash is locked up in the present inventory of work-in-progress. 

Contrast Between Job Order Costing And Process Costing


  • Job Order Costing- For small quantities of items that may be customized or are one-of-a-kind, as well as for single work orders, firms utilize job order costing; for mass-produced or standardized products, they use process costing. For a retail business manufacturing a customer’s order of personalized pens, for instance, task order costs may be helpful.
  • Process Costing- In process pricing, the manufactured goods are frequently the same or quite comparable. Process costing might be more appropriate if the business manufactured pens in large quantities.


  • Job Order Costing- Job order pricing is generally used in industries like retail and healthcare that manufacture one-of-a-kind or custom orders for particular consumers.
  • Process Costing- Process costing is generally used in industries that create huge quantities of a single product or comparable items, such as producers of a single product.


  • Job Order Costing- Larger production projects often call for the use of process costing, whereas smaller works or orders typically call for the use of job order costing. For instance, a company may utilize work order pricing to estimate a minor project like a customer’s bespoke furniture order.
  • Process Costing- To monitor the expenses of mass-producing a sizable order of furniture, a company may employ process costing.


Importance of Job Order Costing:

  1. To figure out whether the job will be profitable. The profitability of a task may be ascertained via job order costing. 
  2. It aids the business in estimating the cost of the supplies, labor, and overhead that will be incurred when carrying out that specific task. 
  3. Effective task order costing enables businesses to provide quotations that are affordable enough to be appealing to customers while maintaining a profit margin. 
  4. To make judgments based on data. A job order costing system develops into a useful database that contains the specifics and expenses associated with jobs throughout time. 
  5. The information that is kept can be utilized as empirical data to assess the company’s efficiency and find cost-saving opportunities by altering practices, processes, or staffing. 
  6. To keep track of equipment use. Job order costing enables businesses to monitor their use of fixed assets, such as manufacturing machinery. 
  7. Since machine costs vary depending on the work, it’s crucial to identify these expenses in order to understand the project’s cost. 
  8. This makes it easier to allocate overhead equally among the tasks inside the organization and determine how much is assigned to each asset.

Cost Calculation: 

  • Job Order Costing- Costs are accumulated by separate jobs in work order costing. Task costing sometimes involves customer billing to specify the precise costs associated with each stage of the completion of a certain job or order.
  • Process Costing- Process costing does not always concentrate on the precise cost of each component of the process; instead, expenses build up by each process or processing department.

Modifying Profits: 

  • Job Order Costing- Job costing often provides fewer options for cost reduction.
  • Process Costing- Companies may reduce costs in a variety of ways by using process costing.

Work In Progress: 

  • Job Order Costing- Businesses often don’t combine work-in-progress costing with task order costing.
  • Process Costing- However, as items move between divisions, organizations may record work in progress while using process pricing.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Process Costing:


  1. Process costing can be more user-friendly than other costing techniques and aid businesses in identifying possible cost-saving opportunities. 
  2. Process costing is more practical and user-friendly for businesses that produce many comparable things than other cost accounting techniques like job costing.
  3. It entails keeping track of the costs of each item and component part in addition to handling salary, other supplies, and overhead. 
  4. Process costing may assist businesses in streamlining their processes to cut expenses so they can sell their goods at more affordable pricing. 
  5. It exposes the costs associated with each stage of the production process, assisting businesses in identifying unnecessary, antiquated, or ineffective operations. 
  6. Process costing uses the same standardized costing methodology every time, allowing businesses to assess how expenses have changed over time. 
  7. This assists businesses in making sure costs are in line with planned expenditures and identifying potential problem areas.


  1. Accuracy is one of the process costing’s potential drawbacks. 
  2. Using process costing, each unit’s price is calculated based on the total costs of the many production departments and stages. 
  3. By including non-production expenditures, the computation may contain errors. 
  4. Calculations of comparable units, which are made by allocating costs to unfinished items at the beginning of an accounting period, are another foundational component of process costing. 
  5. Companies’ balance sheets reflect the value of this work-in-progress. 
  6. The actual cost of these unfinished items may differ, for instance, depending on how many raw materials change from month to month. 
  7. Companies will wind up with erroneous product pricing if they don’t correctly estimate the cost of work-in-progress products. 
  8. Equivalent unit calculations might take some time. 
  9. Management accountants must ascertain where these unfinished items are in the production process in order to assign costs appropriately.

Maintenance Of Documents: 

  • Job Order Costing- There is typically one inventory account for each individual work in systems that use job order costing. Because companies that use job order costing to track materials and other resources for each component of a task retain more records than those that use process costing, job order costing often necessitates greater record keeping.
  • Process Costing- In contrast, each production or process department has its own inventory account in process costing systems, which aggregates expenses.


  • Job Order Costing- For special items, job costing is employed.
  • Process Costing- Process costing is applied to items that are standardized.


  • Job Order Costing- Since job costing provides specific information about the expenses incurred by customer-commissioned projects, it is more likely to be utilized for charging consumers.
  • Process Costing- It is not used as much as job order costing.


Pros and Cons of Job Order Costing:


  1. It aids in the analysis by management of the material, labor, and overhead costs spent during manufacturing or task completion.
  2. It aids in determining the workforce’s and machines’ efficiency.
  3. The work order costing approach aids in cost management and improved resource allocation.
  4. The work order costing approach allows managers to identify which jobs are lucrative and which are not.
  5. It aids in comparing a job that will be performed similarly in the future and serve as the foundation for future employment.
  6. In addition, it aids in identifying and minimizing flaws and scrap that occur during task production or completion.


  1. Due to the daily and precise job-wise recording of materials, labor, and overhead, it is time-consuming and expensive.
  2. Because the cost sheet is created independently for each project using this approach in accordance with the specification, a cost comparison is hard.
  3. There is a possibility of publishing the cost of one position in another job if two or more jobs are running concurrently.
  4. Overhead expenses are estimated in task order costing. 
  5. The fact that most overhead facilities are utilized for several jobs makes it difficult to determine if a cost is directly related to a particular task. 
  6. There is, therefore, a possibility of excess or shortfall of cost allocation.
  7. It primarily depends on the production manager’s level of skill. As a result, it must be known to the person allocating expenses to a particular work. 
  8. The cost of the item might alter with a little error.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What is meant by manufacturing overhead?

The total of all indirect expenses spent during the manufacture of a product is known as manufacturing overhead (MOH) cost.

Along with the expenses of direct materials and direct labor, it is included in the price of the finished product.

The depreciation of equipment, salaries given to factory workers, and the power required to run the equipment are often included in manufacturing overhead expenses.

Q2. What are some of the special features of job order costing?

Each position in the work hierarchy has unique qualities. Each task is completed at this sort of cost only on the basis of client orders, not as a regular production. Each work is handled as a cost center in this pricing approach.

Q3. What is meant by standard costing?

The planned cost of a typical manufacturing process serves as a benchmark for an actual cost comparison.

Naturally, it will be necessary to estimate the first standard expenses if a new product, service, or process is to be implemented.

Q4. What is an inventory, and what is it used for?

The accounting of goods, components, and raw materials that a business either sells or utilizes in manufacturing is known as inventory.

You use inventory management as a company leader to make sure you have adequate goods on hand and to spot when there is a shortfall.

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