Cost per unit

Ciaran Burke

Page written by AI. Reviewed by Ciaran Burke on February 7, 2024.

Definition

Cost per unit is a financial metric used to measure the average cost incurred by a company to produce a single unit of a product or service.

What is cost per unit?

Cost per unit is a fundamental concept in accounting and is key for assessing the profitability and efficiency of production processes.

The formula to calculate cost per unit is:

CPU = Total cost / Total units produced 

Cost per unit can vary depending on factors such as economies of scale, production volume, efficiency of operations, and fluctuations in input costs. Generally, as production volume increases, the cost per unit tends to decrease due to the spreading of fixed costs over a larger number of units.

Furthermore, cost per unit serves as a basis for setting product prices. Understanding the cost structure allows businesses to establish pricing strategies that ensure profitability while remaining competitive in the market.

By comparing the cost per unit with the selling price per unit, businesses can determine the profitability of their products or services. This analysis enables them to identify high-margin products or areas where costs need to be reduced to improve profitability.

Example of cost per unit

Let’s consider a manufacturing company that produces widgets. In a given month, the company incurs total production costs of £10,000, including raw materials, labour, and overhead expenses. During the same month, the company produces 1,000 widgets.

Using the formula for cost per unit:

CPU = £10,000 / 1,000 = £10

In this example, the cost per unit for the widgets produced by the company is £10. This means that on average, the company incurs £10 in production costs to manufacture each widget.

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