Difference between Job Costing and Contract Costing

Difference between Job Costing and Contract Costing

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Chanchal
Chanchal Aggarwal
Senior Executive Content
Updated on May 14, 2024 13:14 IST

Job Costing is used for small-scale projects with distinct costs per job. On the other hand, Contract Costing applies to extended, larger projects, tracking comprehensive costs over the contract's duration. Let's understand the difference between these two significant cost accounting concepts.

 

Difference between Job Costing and Contract Costing

Job costing and contract costing are two distinct accounting methods used to track and manage costs in project-oriented businesses. They are specifically part of cost accounting, each tailored to different types of projects. Job costing is ideal for short-term, small-scale projects and is often applied in manufacturing or service industries where individual jobs or batches are distinct.

On the other hand, contract costing is designed for large, long-term projects, typically seen in the construction and civil engineering sectors, where a single contract spans a considerable period.

For example, a furniture manufacturer using job costing might track the costs of making a specific batch of chairs, focusing on materials, labour, and overheads. In contrast, a construction company employing contract costing would manage to build an apartment complex, considering expenses over months or years. It includes materials, labour, extensive overheads, and any sub-contracted work.

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Table of Content

Comparative Table: Job Costing vs Contract Costing

Criteria

Job Costing

Contract Costing

Scope

Used for small-scale, short-term projects.

Used for large-scale, long-term projects, often spanning years.

Industries

Common in manufacturing, services, and small-scale construction.

Predominantly used in construction and civil engineering.

Duration

Short duration, often completed within a financial year.

Long duration, often extending beyond a financial year.

Cost Allocation

Costs are tracked for each job or batch.

Costs are tracked for the entire contract.

Revenue Recognition

Revenue is recognised upon completion of each job or batch.

Revenue is often recognized progressively, in line with the percentage of completion.

Examples

Manufacturing a batch of furniture, small repair works.

Constructing a building, bridge, or highway.

Cost Elements

Direct labor, direct materials, and overheads are key cost elements.

In addition to direct labor and materials, extensive overheads, subcontractor, and site costs are included.

Billing

Billing is typically done upon job completion.

Billing can be periodic, based on contract terms or project milestones.

Cost Fluctuations

Less susceptible to cost fluctuations due to shorter duration.

More susceptible to cost fluctuations and environmental factors due to longer duration.

Profit Recognition

Profit is recognized upon the completion of each job.

Profit is recognised based on the completion stage, leading to work-in-progress assessments.

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What is Job Costing?

Job costing is an accounting method for tracking the costs associated with a specific job or project. This approach is particularly effective for businesses handling customized, individual orders, where each job has distinct cost elements —material, labour, and overhead requirements. By allocating costs to each unique job, job costing helps accurately determine the cost of production, aiding in pricing decisions and financial analysis for those specific jobs.

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What is Contract Costing?

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Difference Between Job and Contract Costing

Scope: Job costing is for small, individual projects; contract costing is for large, long-term contracts.
Industries: Job costing is common in manufacturing and services; contract costing is prevalent in construction and engineering.
Duration: Job costing suits short-term projects; contract costing covers extended periods, often years.
Cost Tracking: Job costing tracks costs per job; contract costing tracks cumulative costs over the contract's duration.
Billing: Job costing typically bills upon job completion; contract costing often involves progress billing over the contract term.
Profit Recognition: Profit in job costing is recognized per job; contract costing is recognized over the contract's life, usually based on completion percentage.
Cost Fluctuation Risk: Job costing is less risky due to its shorter duration, while contract costing is more risky due to its longer timelines.
Overheads Allocation: Job costing involves directly allocating jobs; contract costing allocates overheads over the entire contract period..

Conclusion!

Job and contract costing are essential in cost accounting for tracking and managing project costs. They cater to different project scopes and durations. Job costing is apt for smaller, shorter-term projects and focuses on individual or specific batches of products, making it ideal for customized orders in various industries. In contrast, contract costing is designed for larger, longer-term projects, such as those in the construction and civil engineering sectors, where costs are tracked over the life of a contract, reflecting its complexity and extended timeline.

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Top FAQs on the Difference Between Job Costing and Contract Costing

What is the primary difference between job costing and contract costing?

Job costing is used for short-term, smaller-scale projects with distinct costs for each job, common in manufacturing or services. In contrast, contract costing is for larger, long-term projects, like construction or civil engineering, where costs are tracked over the life of an extensive contract.

Which industries typically use job costing and contract costing?

Job costing is prevalent in manufacturing, bespoke product creation, and service industries. Contract costing is predominantly used in construction, civil engineering, and large-scale infrastructure projects.

How does the billing process differ in job costing and contract costing?

In job costing, billing is usually done after the completion of each job. However, in contract costing, billing can be periodic and based on contract terms or project milestones, reflecting the long-term nature of the projects.

Can job costing and contract costing be used interchangeably?

Generally, no. Each method is tailored to specific project types and scales. Using job costing for a large-scale construction project, for example, would be impractical due to its focus on individual or small-batch projects.

How do job costing and contract costing handle cost fluctuations?

Job costing, due to its shorter project duration, is less susceptible to cost fluctuations. Contract costing, with longer project timelines, must account for potential changes in material costs, labor rates, and other variables over time.

About the Author
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Chanchal Aggarwal
Senior Executive Content

Chanchal is a creative and enthusiastic content creator who enjoys writing research-driven, audience-specific and engaging content. Her curiosity for learning and exploring makes her a suitable writer for a variety ... Read Full Bio