Bookkeeping What Is an Unfavorable Variance and How to Avoid...

What Is an Unfavorable Variance and How to Avoid It?


Angro Limited, a single product American company, employs a proper standard costing system. The normal wastage and inefficiencies are taken into account while setting direct materials price and quantity standards. Variances are calculated and reported at regular intervals to ensure the quick remedial actions against any unfavorable occurrence. Publicly-traded companies with stocks listed on exchanges, such as the NewYork Stock Exchange (NYSE) typically forecast earnings or net income quarterly or annually.

An unfavorable variance is when costs are greater than what has been budgeted. Similarly, if expenses were projected to be $200,000 for the period but were actually $250,000, there would be an unfavorable variance of $50,000, or 25%. However, an unfavorable variance doesn’t necessarily mean the company took a loss.

  • Connie’s Candy paid $2.00 per pound more for materials than expected and used 0.25 pounds more of materials than expected to make one box of candy.
  • The impact of an unfavorable material quantity variance can be seen on the income statement in two ways.
  • The standard price of materials purchased by Angro is $2.00 per kg and standard quantity of materials allowed to produce a unit of product is 1.5kg.

Uncontrollable expenses most likely occur in the marketplace when a company’s supply is greater than their projected demand from customers. This can result in the reported revenue varying greatly from the expectation of the forecasted budget. The sooner these variances can be detected, the sooner management can address the problem and avoid a loss of profit. Unfavorable variances often indicate that something did not go according to plan, financially. The company will need to either increase prices or find ways to reduce material costs to correct this issue.

How Can a Material Quantity Variance Be Investigated?

If the final number is positive, less material was used than expected, which is good. If the number is negative, it is an unfavorable variance, meaning more material was used than desired. Budget variance is the difference between expenses and revenue in your financial budget and the actual costs.

This can help to improve financial performance and ensure operations are running smoothly.

Example of Unfavorable Variance

When a company experiences an unfavorable materials quantity variance, there are likely a variety of reasons for this. The purchasing department may be responsible for the difference, or the production manager may not have properly set up the production equipment. Regardless of the reason, it’s important to take action quickly to correct any issues.

Why Is There an Unfavorable Variance?

The cost of raw materials will affect this amount, and an unfavorable variance means that the actual cost is lower than the estimated price. In addition, poor quality materials can contribute to a material price variance. The impact of an unfavorable material quantity variance can be seen on the income statement in two ways. If the production and materials management teams talk to each other often, they can avoid problems with material shortages or surpluses.

How to Prevent Unfavorable Material Quantity Variance?

This might happen when an invoice has not been received or a payment was made earlier or later than expected. If an invoice is not entered during the correct time period, it can throw off your whole monthly budget and cause unexpected variances. Using these tips, you can help keep your business from having an unfavorable difference in the number of materials. Once you understand the root of your budget variance, you can create a variance analysis report to advise your next steps. Sometimes, there could be a discrepancy in your data accuracy simply because of a typo during entry.

Causes of Unfavorable Variances

Good labor or overhead variances cannot balance unfavorable material quantity variances. Materials quantity variance is the difference between the actual quantity of materials used and the standard quantity of materials that should have been used. If the actual quantity of materials used is less than the standard quantity used at the actual production output level, the variance will be a favorable variance. A favorable outcome means you used fewer materials than anticipated, to make the actual number of production units.

Another way to investigate a material quantity variance is to look at the prices of purchased materials. This can help to identify if there are any issues with the prices that were paid for materials. Other types are price variance (the difference between actual and expected prices) and mix variance (the difference between the exact mix of products or services produced and the expected mix). Either way, managing material quantity variance is essential for keeping a company’s finances in order.

Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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