Activity Cost Driver

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DEFINITION of 'Activity Cost Driver'

A factor that influences or contributes to the expense of certain business operations. In activity based costing (ABC), an activity cost driver is something that drives the cost of a particular activity. A factory, for example, may have running machinery as an activity. The activity cost driver associated with running the machinery could be machine operating hours, which would drive the costs of labor, maintenance and power consumption of running the machinery activity.

BREAKING DOWN 'Activity Cost Driver'

Activity-based costing is a type of costing that identifies activities within the business and estimates the resources required to fulfill each activity. An activity cost driver is a factor that effects the costs associated with an activity. Activity-based costing allows managers to determine the costs to perform an activity as well as the costs associated with not performing the activity For example, when a production line has to wait for a certain part to arrive from an external distributor or other manufacturing line, the manager can quickly determine the true cost of waiting for the part. Activity cost drivers attempt to provide a more comprehensive view of the actual costs of an activity, such as a manufacturing process.

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