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Standard Costing, Ethical Behavior, Usefulness of Costing


In the current competitive environment, standard costing, a commonly employed strategy in manufacturing, has come under fire for perceived shortcomings in delivering continuous improvement. This essay addresses standard costing’s function and importance in the current manufacturing environment and the main objections to it. Despite the objections, standard pricing is still widely used, raising concerns about its flexibility and adaptability.

One of its main criticisms is the need for more flexibility in standard costing in the modern production environment (Tuck et al., 2016). Standard costing uses preset standards based on previous data and hypotheses and assumes a steady and predictable operational environment. This strategy, however, might need to adequately reflect the reality of shifting demand, increasing technology, and changing production processes in today’s dynamic and often changing markets. Standard costing may thus be perceived as rigid and incapable of accommodating variances and adjusting to the constantly shifting corporate environment.

The overemphasis on cost-cutting is a different point of contention. While cost control is unquestionably crucial, others contend that standard costing might have unexpected implications if cost reduction is overemphasized as the primary goal. Companies must focus on cutting costs before overlooking other important factors like quality, innovation, and customer pleasure. The quest for continual development and a company’s capacity to achieve a competitive edge in the market may need to be improved by this restricted focus. According to critics, standard costing may need to accurately reflect the complexity of contemporary production processes (Smith et al., 2019). Combining costs into predetermined categories and averages simplifies cost evaluation while ignoring the nuances and complexities of the production process. This simplicity may make making informed decisions and cost analyses more challenging, which could result in less-than-ideal results.

Standard costing may also foster a complacent and change-resistant culture. Relying on predetermined criteria can inhibit workers from seeking novel solutions or challenging accepted norms. This prevents the adoption of new, more effective and efficient techniques and the possibility of continual improvement. The main complaints of standard costing in today’s manufacturing environment include its need for more flexibility, overemphasis on cost savings at the expense of other crucial considerations, simplification of cost analysis, and potential obstruction to continuous development (Tuck et al., 2016). Companies could consider supplementing standard costing with other performance measurement techniques and adopting a more comprehensive strategy that considers elements other than cost reduction, such as quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction, to solve these challenges.

Standard costing’s utility has been questioned recently, yet it is unlikely to vanish from the manufacturing environment completely. Despite critiques, albeit with several modifications and considerations, standard costing still has a place in today’s manufacturing environment. Serving as a baseline for performance evaluation is one of the standard costing’s primary functions. Companies can identify variances and deviations by comparing actual costs to predetermined standards, enabling cost control and analysis. A foundation for efficiency measurement, highlighting areas for improvement, and locating possible cost-saving opportunities is provided by standard pricing.

It can be used to evaluate how well various divisions, goods, or procedures function within an organization. Additionally, uniform costing makes forecasting and budgeting easier. It enables businesses to define goals and allocate resources following anticipated costs, assisting in creating realistic financial plans and tracking progress toward those plans. Standard costing aids in the financial management and planning of industrial activities by offering a uniform framework. Standard costing still applies in several areas where cost management is essential (Johnson et al., 2016). The capacity to effectively control costs can substantially impact a company’s viability and profitability, especially for companies that compete in marketplaces with narrow profit margins.

Companies may identify cost drivers, examine variances, and make educated decisions to optimize their cost structure thanks to standard costing, which offers a systematic approach to cost management. In the modern industrial environment, it is crucial to understand that standard costing shouldn’t be the only factor considered when making decisions. It should be combined with other performance evaluation techniques, such as activity-based costing or lean manufacturing concepts, to capture a complete picture of costs, quality, and customer value. Instead of concentrating exclusively on cost reduction, the function of standard costing should expand to incorporate continuous improvement, innovation, and customer-centricity.

Despite potential changes and adaptations, standard costing still has a place in the modern production environment. It serves as a standard for assessing performance, supports budgeting and forecasting, and is still relevant in fields where cost management is essential. Other techniques and factors should be added to its role to obtain a more comprehensive picture of industrial operations and promote continuous improvement. Even though standard costing has been criticized, it is still widely used for some reasons. First, standard costing offers a simple and approachable cost evaluation and control strategy.

Many firms, especially smaller ones with limited resources and accounting knowledge, find it a realistic solution because of its simplicity and ease of implementation. By comparing actual prices to set standards, standard costing makes it easier to analyze expenditures and find areas for improvement (Banerjee et al., 2017). Conventional accounting processes and systems are heavily reliant on standard costing. Budgeting, variance analysis, and performance evaluation are just a few established procedures and structures many organizations have developed around standard costing. Changing current processes would take a lot of time, effort, and money. Due to its familiarity and stability, businesses may utilize standard costing.

Standard costing also fits with the financial-focused mindset that many firms have. The emphasis on cost containment and financial performance as crucial success indicators reinforces standard costing. Standard costing is a desirable cost control and monitoring alternative since financial measures frequently precede decision-making and performance evaluation. It is crucial to understand that the application of standard costing is dynamic and subject to change in the future (Tuck et al., 2016). Organizations are becoming more aware of the limitations of traditional costing as the business environment changes, particularly its failure to capture non-financial elements like customer satisfaction, quality, and sustainability. Alternative costing techniques are becoming increasingly popular because they provide a more thorough and complex understanding of expenses and value generation. Examples include activity-based costing and lean accounting.

Standard costing may become less prevalent if performance evaluation approaches become more comprehensive and non-financial variables are included. Organizations are likely to investigate and incorporate various costing methodologies and performance indicators to match current business realities and stakeholder expectations better. Because of its familiarity, simplicity, and conformity with financial-oriented procedures, standard costing is widely used now, although this may alter in the future (Banerjee et al., 2017). Organizations are becoming more aware of the need for frameworks for performance evaluation that are more thorough and include non-financial criteria. The development of alternative costing techniques and shifting business needs are expected to influence how conventional costing is used. This will encourage businesses to adopt more inclusive and pertinent cost management and performance evaluation strategies.


In conclusion, despite recent criticism, standard costing continues to be widely used in the manufacturing industry today. Its sustained usage is facilitated by its ease of use, familiarity, and connection with financial measures. The function of standard costing may vary when business dynamics change and companies work toward holistic performance evaluation, which necessitates the incorporation of alternative costing methodologies and a broader view of cost management and decision-making.


Baumers, M., Dickens, P., Tuck, C., & Hague, R. (2016). The cost of additive manufacturing: machine productivity, economies of scale and technology-push. Technological forecasting and social change102, 193-201.

Blocher, E. J., Stout, D. E., Juras, P. E., & Smith, S. (2019). Cost Management (A Strategic Emphasis) 8e. McGraw-Hill Education.

Blocher, E. J., Stout, D. E., Juras, P. E., & Smith, S. (2019). Cost Management (A Strategic Emphasis) 8e. McGraw-Hill Education.

Lin, S. H. J., Ma, J., & Johnson, R. E. (2016). When ethical leader behaviour breaks bad: How ethical leader behaviour can turn abusive via ego depletion and moral licensing—Journal of Applied Psychology101(6), 815.

Martínez-Ferrero, J., Banerjee, S., & García-Sánchez, I. M. (2017). Corporate social responsibility as a strategic shield against costs of earnings management practices. Journal of Business Ethics133, 305-324.


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