Saturday, February 20, 2010

Limitations and Uses of Breakeven Charts

A simple breakeven chart gives correct result as long as variable cost per unit, total fixed cost and sales price remain constant. In practice, all these facto$ may change and the original breakeven chart may give misleading results.

But then, if a company sells different products having different percentages of profit to turnover, the original combined breakeven chart fails to give a clear picture when the sales mix changes. In this case, it may be necessary to draw up a breakeven chart for each product or a group of products. A breakeven chart does not take into account capital employed which is a very important factor to measure the overall efficiency of business. Fixed costs may increase at some level whereas variable costs may sometimes start to decline. For example, with the help of quantity discount on materials purchased, the sales price may be reduced to sell the additional units produced etc. These changes may result in more than one breakeven point, or may indicate higher profit at lower volumes or lower profit at still higher levels of sales.
Nevertheless, a breakeven chart is used by management as an efficient tool in marginal costing, i.e. in forecasting, decision-making, long term profit planning and maintaining profitability. The margin of safety shows the soundness of business whereas the fixed cost line shows the degree of mechanization. The angle of incidence is an indicator of plant efficiency and profitability of the product or division under consideration. It also helps a monopolist to make price discrimination for maximization of profit.

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