Controllable Costs/Non-Controllable Costs

A cost is considered controllable at a given level of managerial responsibility if that manager has the power to incur it within a given period of time. It follows that (1) most costs are controllable by top management because of the broad range of its activity; (2) fewer costs are controllable as one moves to lower levels of managerial responsibility because of the manager’s decreasing authority. In addition to costs that are noncontrollable due to lack of managerial authority, non-controllable costs may be incurred to meet unusual or unexpected circumstances. For example, provisions can be included in futures contracts in an effort to control such costs. However, a once in a hundred year hurricane would be viewed as creating non-controllable costs.