Direct material price variance

Direct material price variance is the difference between actual cost of direct material and the standard cost which the company expected. The actual direct material cost is different from the standard cost due to the price change, and the quantity is still the same. It is one of the variances which company uses to monitor the direct material, while another one is direct material usage variance.

Material price variance formula

Material Price Variance

What is the process of material price variance calculation?

Process of material price variance
1.      Calculate the actual cost The company needs to calculate the actual direct material cost. Actual cost = actual quantity * actual price It could be done quarterly or annually, perform too often will be time-consuming.
2.      Calculate the Expected Cost It is the standard cost of the actual quantity. Expected Cost = Actual quantity * Standard Cost
3.      Compare and calculate variance We compare both figures and find the variance if any.

Material price variance example

Company A manufacture the shoes, the company has to calculate the standard cost the following:

Item Price
Leather $ 200
Rubber $ 150
Textiles $ 100

Step 1: Calculate the actual cost:

Due to the market fluctuates, the price of the three materials has changed. The quantity is still the same as expectation. During January 20X9, the company pay the following

Material Quantity Actual Price Amount
Leather 20 tons $ 220 4,400
Rubber 15 tons $ 130 1,950
Textiles 10 tons $ 110 1,100
  1. Calculate the standard cost

It is the multiplying of actual quantity with the standard price.

Material Quantity Standard cost Amount
Leather 20 tons $ 200 4,000
Rubber 15 tons $ 150 2,250
Textiles 10 tons $ 100 1,000

Calculate the variance

The difference between standard cost and actual cost

Material Standard Cost Actual Cost Variance
Leather 4,000 4,400 (400) unfavorable
Rubber 2,250 1,950 300 Favorable
Textiles 1,000 1,100 (100) unfavorable

Double entries:

Date Chart of Account Debit Credit
Inventory – DM – Leather 4,000
Direct Material Price Variance 400
       Account Payable 4,400
Inventory – DM – Rubber 2,250
       Direct Material Price Variance 300
       Account Payable 1,950
Inventory – DM – Textiles 1,000
Direct Material Price Variance 100
       Account Payable 1,100

Impact of direct material price variance to Financial Statement

The total price variance during January is $ 200 ($ 400 – $ 300  + $ 100), and it will impact the cost of goods sold in statement of profit and lose. It will reduce the net income for the period.

Material price variance favorable or unfavorable

The material price variance shows us two separate stories.

The standard cost is not reflected in the real situation. We need to do double-check the working paper of standard cost. The manager may try to increase it in order to protect himself from being punished if something goes wrong during the production (unexpected waste or error). However, setting too high standard costs will impact our selling price. Our selling price is higher than the competitors and for sure it will impact the quantity of our sales.

One more, the favorable variance may arise from the purchase of low-quality material. It will be impacted by our company’s long term reputation. The purchasing department and production manager need to do proper inspect all the material during delivery. The unqualify material must not accept.

For the unfavorable variance there is something happen as follows:

  • Standard cost set too low
  • The price in the market increase
  • Purchase high-quality material

How to reduce material price variance (unfavorable)

Reason Possible Solution
Increase in the market price The company should prepare a proper agreement with a specific price in order to prevent any price change in the future.
Change suppliers The company should have multiple suppliers which will help to balance risk if one them go bankrupt or facing any serious issue. It will increase our bargaining power toward them and prevent any unreasonable price increase.
Insufficient of purchasing department We need to provide them proper training to ensure that they can perform their job more efficient. The staff must be able to negotiate the price with suppliers.
Bulk discount Sometimes we cannot take advantage of bulk discounts due to our order quantity. If so, we have to check the production process and storage cost. We can compare them and apply bulk purchases if possible.
Standard Cost The standard cost of material must reflect the real situation in the company. Setting too low will demotivate the employee and cause adverse variance.