Full Cost Accounting

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Definition

From the Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_cost_accounting:

"Full cost accounting (FCA) generally refers to the process of collecting and presenting information (costs as well as advantages) for each proposed alternative when a decision is necessary. A synonym, true cost accounting (TCA) is also often used. Experts consider both terms problematic as definitions of "true" and "full" are inherently subjective." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_cost_accounting)


Descripton

Basis of triple bottom line:

Since costs and advantages are usually considered in terms of environmental, economic and social impacts, full or true cost efforts are collectively called the "triple bottom line". A large number of standards now exist in this area including Ecological Footprint, eco-labels, and the United Nations International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives approach to triple bottom line using the ecoBudget metric. The International Organization for Standardization(ISO) has several accredited standards useful in FCA or TCA including ISO 14064 for greenhouse gases, the ISO 8000 series for corporate social responsibility, and the ISO 19011 standard for audits including all these.

Because of this evolution of terminology in public sector use especially, the term full-cost accounting is now more commonly used in management accounting, e.g. infrastructure management and finance. Use of the terms FCA or TCA usually indicate relatively conservative extensions of current management practices, and incremental improvements to GAAP to deal with waste output or resource input.

These have the advantage of avoiding the more contentious questions of social cost." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_cost_accounting)

Characteristics

Concepts:

Full cost accounting embodies several key concepts that distinguish it from standard accounting techniques. The following list highlights the basic tenets of FCA.

1. Accounting for costs rather than outlays

2. Accounting for hidden costs and externalities

3. Accounting for overhead and indirect costs

4. Accounting for past and future outlays

5. Accounting for costs according to lifecycle of the product

More details at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_cost_accounting