HIGH-LOW METHOD Definition

HIGH-LOW METHOD of approximating cost behavior considers only two points of data, the highest and lowest, for activity within the relevant range. The method first focuses on cost changes, allowing an analyst to determine the presence of any variable cost. Next, fixed costs are determined by subtracting variable cost from the total cost at either of the two data points. The calculation is an algebraic procedure used to separate a semi-variable cost into the variable and fixed components. The method calls for using the extreme data points (highest and lowest x - y pairs) in the COST-VOLUME FORMULA y = a + bx; where a = fixed cost portion and b = the variable rate.

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