New IFAC Publication Explains How Better Costing Can Result in Better Management Decision-Making

Jul 23, 2009 | New York | English

The Professional Accountants in Business (PAIB) Committee of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has released a new International Good Practice Guidance publication, Evaluating and Improving Costing in Organizations, which establishes six fundamental principles that can help professional accountants and their organizations to evaluate and improve their approach to costing. The guidance recognizes the importance of distinguishing between the purposes and information needs of cost accounting to meet the demands of external reporting, cost measurement, and reporting for internal decision support. A companion document, Costing Levels Maturity Model, has also been published to help professional accountants decide what level of costing sophistication to use given organizational requirements and the needs of managers and employees.

"Professional accountants have a significant role to play in ensuring that they, and the costing models and systems they use, provide relevant information and analysis to support performance evaluation and planning and management decisions," says Roger Tabor, Chair of the PAIB Committee. "Good costing information is essential to interpret and analyze past performance. And it can be used predictively to guide decisions about many aspects of an organization's future operations. These activities are different, and the guidance is designed to help professional accountants provide valuable information to their management customers."

This IFAC guidance is targeted to professionals working in commerce and industry, as well as the public sector, education, and the not-for-profit sector. It recognizes that, when used effectively, costing can provide clear and timely information. The guidance cautions, however, that all cost information is not created equal: Highly aggregated cost information, for example, which is compiled for external reporting purposes, may not reflect such relationships closely enough to support future strategic and operational decisions.    

The new Costing Levels Maturity Model can also help professional accountants exercise professional judgment to assess their organization's existing costing capability for supporting internal managerial analysis and decisions. The PAIB Committee seeks comments from professional accountants and IFAC member bodies on the model to help its continued development.

Evaluating and Improving Costing in Organizations and Costing Levels Maturity Model can be downloaded free of charge from the PAIB section of the IFAC online bookstore at The PAIB Committee welcomes all feedback, which can be emailed to

About IFAC

IFAC ( is the global organization for the accountancy profession dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. IFAC is comprised of 157 members and associates in 123 countries and jurisdictions, representing more than 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce.


Primary tabs

Thank you for your interest in our publications. These valuable works are the product of substantial time, effort and resources, which you acknowledge by accepting the following terms of use. You may not reproduce, store, transmit in any form or by any means, with the exception of non-commercial use (e.g., professional and personal reference and research work), translate, modify or create derivative works or adaptations based on such publications, or any part thereof, without the prior written permission of IFAC.

Our reproduction and translation policies, as well as our online permission request and inquiry system, are accessible on the Permissions Information web page.

For additional information, please read our website Terms of Use. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.