LEAST-SQUARED METHOD of approximating cost is a statistical approach that is both objective and considers all the data points. By using mathematical formulas to arrive at the best possible cost line (i.e., the regression line), it is more accurate than the methods mentioned previously. The regression line is in the form Y=a + bX, where X is the independent variable and Y is the dependent variable. The coefficient of determination (R2) can be used to judge the line's goodness of fit.

TRACEABILITY, COST is where businesses rely on linking or tracing costs to outputs; managerial or cost accounting provides managers this information. Management accountants strive to establish causal relationships between costs and cost objects to determine why costs were incurred. The process of tracing costs to cost objects forges a necessary link so that ultimately costs can be traced to outputs, even if at an aggregated level to their main categories: Direct Costs, Indirect Costs, and General and Administrative Costs.

REPORTING PERIOD see ACCOUNTING PERIOD.

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