INDIRECT LABOR: Definition, Examples and Costs

12 نوفمبر 2021

INDIRECT LABOR: Definition, Examples and Costs

The requisition is recorded on the job cost sheet along with the cost of the materials transferred. The costs assigned to job MAC001 are $300 in vinyl, $100 in black ink, $60 in red ink, and $60 in gold ink. During the finishing stages, $120 in grommets and $60 in wood are requisitioned and put into work in process inventory. The costs are tracked from the materials requisition form to the work in process inventory and noted specifically as part of Job MAC001 on the preceding job order cost sheet. Direct materials are those materials that can be directly traced to the manufacturing of the product.

As you can see from the chart above, an accountant at a manufacturing company is considered indirect labor because they have no direct involvement in the production of a product. According to C.I.M.A. London, Indirect labor cost means “wages cost other than direct wages”. In other words, indirect labor expenses are those that cannot be directly linked to cost units. The indirect labor cost generally includes Fixed Indirect Labor Cost and Variable Indirect Labor Cost. A good first step is for a company to calculate its own indirect labor cost. Fixed manufacturing overhead costs include expenses that stay relatively the same regardless of the project.

A corporation may need to raise the price of a product in order to compensate for all indirect labor employees. Indirect labor costs are included in overheads, such as administrative overhead, factory overheads, or sales and distribution overhead. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between indirect and direct labor costs. A company may incur some labor costs during the production process. Indirect labor refers to employees who support the production process. However, they do not play an active part in the conversion of materials into finished goods.

The accounting system will track direct materials, such as lumber, and direct labor, such as the wages paid to the carpenters constructing the home. Along with these direct materials and labor, the project will incur manufacturing overhead costs, such as indirect materials, indirect labor, and other miscellaneous overhead costs. They are typically divided into direct and indirect labor costs based on the worker’s contribution to the manufacturing process. While direct labor refers to work performed on specific items or services, indirect labor refers to employee effort that cannot be linked back or billed to services or things produced. Indirect labor is defined as workers who perform tasks that contribute to the company’s overall performance outside of the production of goods and services. They include individuals who have not been allocated a specific task in the company.

  1. Looking at the chart above, you’ll see that an accountant at a manufacturing company would be considered indirect labor, as they have no direct role in producing a product.
  2. Direct labor costs can be traced to the specific production process, products, or services.
  3. Multiply the number of hours worked by an hourly employee in a year by their hourly wage.
  4. Security guards, janitors, and accountants, for example, are part of indirect labor.

The typical billboard sign is 14 feet high by 48 feet wide, and Dinosaur Vinyl incurs a vinyl cost of $300 per billboard. The total cost of direct materials is $700, as shown in Figure 4.9. Once you’ve completed those processes, you may compare them to your overhead costs to see whether you need to change your spending. Determine the number of paid employees in the organization to determine how many salaries to add to the hourly employee computation. Tracking direct labor costs will help you understand how efficiently your people are working and how quickly they can manufacture a product.

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But note that while production facility electricity costs are treated as overhead, the organization’s administrative facility electrical costs are not included as overhead costs. Instead, they are treated as period costs, as office rent or insurance would be. Examples of indirect labor are wages paid to workers for sweeping, cleaning, supervising, inspecting, and issuing raw materials.

They can establish if a company is functioning successfully and provide advice on how to proceed with spending after documenting all transactions from all divisions. Accountants- Accountants are needed to handle the financial aspect of businesses. Without them, a business may not be able to properly budget their money, which could cause the company to close or stop production.

The word ‘labor costs’ refers to the overall cost of all labor, which is a crucial aspect of any business. Furthermore, labor costs work as one of the main significant operating costs. Indirect labor is a category of indirect cost and refers to those employees that assist the direct labor in the performance of their work. They are not involved directly in the service or production process.

Direct labor cost and bad debt expense journal entry cost is one such quintessential fields for a small business to optimize their manufacturing process. For similar cost and management accounting knowledge, visit Akounto Blog and keep yourself updated. To begin your computation, find out how many hours each indirect labor employee worked. The number of hours worked by employees reveals how much time they spent on tasks other than production. Accountants can use their accounting software and records to determine how many hours each department’s employees worked.

What Is the Distinction Between Direct and Indirect Labor?

The issue of direct vs. indirect labor depends upon the business and industry type. Accounting for direct and indirect labor is essential because they contribute to the final cost of production and impact the pricing decision. The classification into direct and indirect labor differs from one organization to another. Direct and indirect labor classification is important for making the right accounting decisions and controlling cost and resource optimization. Total labor hours are the hours spent on producing a specific product. The entity must decide a particular rate beneficial for the entity and the employees.

The articles and research support materials available on this site are educational and are not intended to be investment or tax advice. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly. The salaries of certain employees such as hourly-paid administrative assistant may be variable i.e. they may increase or decrease during certain times in a year. Labor costs refer to remuneration paid to the employees by the business in the form of wages, salary bonus, allowances etc. for their time and effort. Indirect materials include construction materials that are too much of a hassle to bother keeping track of. For example, counting the number of nails and staples required for a project would take more time than it would be worth.

What are some examples of how to use indirect labor cost in a business?

They can distinguish between employees who worked in production and those who worked in other departments in order to calculate the number of indirect labor hours accurately. Sue and Tammy work for a T-shirt company that places logos on t-shirts. Sue goes to work and uses a sewing machine to attach logos to the shirts. Tammy has her own office where she works as the company’s accountant.


Labor is the physical and mental effort put into producing goods and services in an economy. encompasses employees who are critical in supporting the production process, although they do not directly engage in producing goods and services. They perform tasks that promote the company’s overall performance outside of production. Indirect labor plays an important role in an organization’s success. They help determine a company’s performance and set product prices to ensure profitability. Examples of staff in indirect labor are accountants, supervisors, and quality assurance officers.


If your business manufactures bicycles, the employees producing the bicycles are considered direct labor. When both administrative and production activities occur in a common building, the production and period costs would be allocated in some predetermined manner. Returning to the example of Dinosaur Vinyl’s order for Macs & Cheese’s stadium sign, Figure 4.7 shows the materials requisition form for Job MAC001. This form indicates the quantity and specific items to be put into the work in process. It also transfers the cost of those items to the work in process inventory and decreases the raw materials inventory by the same amount. The raw materials inventory department maintains a copy to document the change in inventory levels, and the accounting department maintains a copy to properly assign the costs to the particular job.

In the production department, two individuals each work one hour at a rate of $15 per hour, including taxes and benefits. The finishing department’s direct labor involves two individuals working one hour each at a rate of $18 per hour. A company’s office rent, utilities, and property taxes are examples of fixed indirect labor costs because they do not fluctuate when the number of employees working in a factory changes. Remember, even service businesses can benefit from keeping track of direct and indirect labor costs. While it may seem like a lot of extra work, particularly for a small business, you’ll have a much clearer picture of the financial health of your business by managing these costs properly.

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