### Learning Outcomes

• Compute the variable overhead efficiency variance

As a formula, the Variable Overhead Efficiency Variance is similar to the direct materials efficiency variance and the direct labor efficiency variance. We use the actual quantity of the cost driver for Actual Quantity (AQ) and the expected quantify for the Standard Quantity (SQ), and the burden rate for Standard Cost (SC):

Variable Overhead Efficiency Variance = (AQ – SQ) x SC

Alternatively, the Variable Overhead Efficiency Variance could be calculated by multiplying Actual Quantity (AQ) by the Standard Cost (SC) which would give the total variable overhead without regard to the expected rate, and from that, subtracting from it the product of the Standard Quantity (SQ) multiplied by the Standard Cost (SC) which would give the total expected variable overhead if we’d predicted it accurately. By using standard cost against both the actual and expected quantity, we get the variance in dollars that is attributed to quantity only.

(AQ x SC) – (SQ x SC)

Boulevard Blanks has decided to allocate overhead based on direct labor hours (DLH).  The standard variable OH rate per DLH is $0.80 (calculated previously), and the actual variable overhead for the month was$1,395 for 2,325 actual direct labor hours, giving an actual rate of $0.60. It took our workers 2,325 hours to do what we expected them to do in 2,430 hours. Let’s do the calculation: (AQ – SQ) x SC (2,325 – 2,430) x$0.80 = -105 x $0.80 = -$84.00

Alternatively:

(AQ * SC) – (SQ * SC) = (2,325 * $0.80) – (2,430 *$0.80) = $1,860 –$1,944 = -\$84.00

Even though the answer is a negative number, the variance is favorable because we used less indirect materials than we budgeted.

Let’s look at the two variances together:

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And relate them back to the budget v. actual report:

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We can double-check our work by reconciling the two variances to the overall variance in the budget:
(actual quantity x actual cost) – (standard quantity x standard cost)

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Again, in reporting to our internal users, we would omit the parentheses that we use in accounting to show a negative amount, since that may confuse non-financial managers who are relying on the report. We would show the variances as follows:

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This shows that our VOH costs are under-budget. Remember that both the cost and efficiency variances, in this case, were negative showing that we were under budget, making the variance favorable.

Before we go on to explore the variances related to fixed indirect costs (fixed manufacturing overhead), check your understanding of the variable overhead efficiency variance.