Prime Cost

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Prime Cost'

A business's expenses for the materials and labor it uses in production. Prime cost is a way of measuring the total cost of the production inputs needed to create a given output. By analyzing its prime costs, a company can determine how much it must charge for its finished product in order to make a profit. By lowering its prime costs, a company can increase its profit margin and/or undercut its competitors' prices.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Prime Cost'

For example, the prime costs for creating a can of soda would include raw materials such as the aluminum needed for the cans, ink to customize the cans with the product's brand name and logo, soda ingredients (i.e. carbonated water, caramel coloring, caffeine, sugar or aspartame and preservatives), freight charges to transport the raw materials to the manufacturing plant and the wages, taxes and benefits paid to or on behalf of the employees involved in the soda manufacturing process.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Cash Flow From Operating Activities ...

    An accounting item indicating the cash a company brings in from ...
  2. Continuing Operations

    Continuing operations is a business term used to describe the ...
  3. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a ...
  4. Operating Income

    The amount of profit realized from a business's operations after ...
  5. Operating Expense

    A category of expenditure that a business incurs as a result ...
  6. Profit Margin

    A ratio of profitability calculated as net income divided by ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. How are contingent liabilities reflected on a balance sheet

    Contingent liabilities need to pass two thresholds before they can be reported in the financial statements. First, it must ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How do businesses determine if an asset may be impaired?

    In the United States, assets are considered impaired when net carrying value (book value) exceeds expected future cash flows. ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How can I set up an accrual accounting system for a small business?

    First, determine whether accrual accounting makes the most sense practically and financially. If the small business is also ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Why is work in progress (WIP) considered a current asset in accounting?

    Accountants consider work in progress (WIP) to be a current asset because it is a type of inventory asset. Accountants consider ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What exactly does EBITDA margin tell investors about a company?

    EBITDA stands for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. EBITDA margins provide investors a snapshot ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How can you use a cash flow statement to make a budget?

    To use the cash flow statement to make a budget, a company needs to combine the operating cash flow portion of its cash flow ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Active Trading

    An Introduction To Depreciation

    Companies make choices and assumptions in calculating depreciation, and you need to know how these affect the bottom line.
  2. Retirement

    The Essentials Of Corporate Cash Flow

    Tune out the accounting noise and see whether a company is generating the stuff it needs to sustain itself.
  3. Investing

    Off-Balance-Sheet Entities: An Introduction

    The theory and practice of these entities varies greatly. Investors need to learn what they're getting into.
  4. Investing

    The Ins and Outs Of In-Process R&D Expenses

    Are these charge-offs fair accounting or earnings manipulation? Learn more here.
  5. Options & Futures

    Starting A Small Business In Tough Economic Times

    We provide 6 tips for creating a winning business in a losing economy.
  6. Fundamental Analysis

    What is Quantitative Analysis?

    Quantitative analysis refers to the use of mathematical computations to analyze markets and investments.
  7. Economics

    Explaining Residual Value

    Residual value is a measurement of how much a fixed asset is worth at the end of its lease, or at the end of its useful life.
  8. Fundamental Analysis

    Why Last In First Out Is Banned Under IFRS

    We explain why Last-In-First-Out is banned under IFRS
  9. Economics

    Understanding Carrying Value

    Carrying value is the value of an asset as listed on a company’s balance sheet. Carrying value is the same as book value.
  10. Economics

    International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)

    International Financial Reporting Standards are accounting rules and guidelines governing the reporting of different types of accounting transactions.

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Fiduciary

    1. A person legally appointed and authorized to hold assets in trust for another person. The fiduciary manages the assets ...
  2. Expected Return

    The amount one would anticipate receiving on an investment that has various known or expected rates of return. For example, ...
  3. Carrying Value

    An accounting measure of value, where the value of an asset or a company is based on the figures in the company's balance ...
  4. Capital Account

    A national account that shows the net change in asset ownership for a nation. The capital account is the net result of public ...
  5. Brand Equity

    The value premium that a company realizes from a product with a recognizable name as compared to its generic equivalent. ...
Trading Center