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Unit of Production


The term ‘Unit of Production’ in finance refers to a measure of output from a production process. It’s often used as a basis to calculate depreciation in businesses, by focusing on actual usage or wear and tear. Essentially, a unit of production may vary by industry but generally represents the output produced by a company from one unit of input.


The phonetic spelling of the keyword “Unit of Production” is: /yoo-nit ʌv prəˈdʌkʃ(ə)n/

Key Takeaways

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  1. Unit of production is a method of calculating depreciation on an asset that is tied directly to how much it is used.
  2. This method is useful in scenarios where the wear and tear of an asset is more closely tied to production output instead of time, so the depreciation is in line with revenue generation.
  3. Calculation involves the cost of the asset, its estimated salvage value, and its estimated production capability. The depreciation expense is then derived by dividing the difference of original cost and salvage value by estimated production and multiplying by actual production.



The business/finance term “Unit of Production” is important as it represents a standard measure in cost accounting, which is extensively used to calculate costs related to production, pricing, and financial reporting. It allows businesses to determine the manufacturing cost per unit, further assisting them in setting appropriate retail prices, managing inventory, and assessing routine production costs. By monitoring the cost per unit, companies can identify inefficiencies, implement cost-saving measures, and improve profitability. Additionally, gauging cost on a unit-of-production basis is crucial for depreciation calculation of assets whose wear and tear is directly linked to the amount they are used, like manufacturing machinery. Thus, the concept of ‘Unit of Production’ is a crucial financial planning tool for businesses.


The unit of production is a vital component in financial and business calculations, primarily used in the analysis of productivity, efficiency, and operational costs. It measures the total quantity of product or service that a business produces in a given period of time. This concept aids in understanding and managing the efficiency of a business production process, as it provides a clear quantifiable measure that can be tracked and improved upon. Moreover, it can help in identifying bottlenecks, improving allocation of resources, and setting the right pricing strategy to maintain profitability. In the realm of accounting, the term unit of production is used in depreciating business assets over their ‘useful life’. Depreciation expense, calculated under the unit of production method, gives a more accurate representation of an asset’s usage and wear-and-tear, thereby enhancing the accuracy of financial statements. Here, the depreciation cost is directly associated with the number of units produced, which means the asset will depreciate faster when more units are produced and slower when less are produced. This provides flexibility and fairness in measuring asset depreciation, ultimately contributing to more sensible financial planning and strategic decision-making.


1. Manufacturing Industry: The term ‘unit of production’ is extensively used in the manufacturing industry. For example, a car manufacturing company would regard every car it produces as a unit of production. Therefore, if they manufacture 500 cars in a month, the total units of production would be 500 for that particular month.2. Textile Industry: Another example would be a textile industry that makes clothes. Here, each piece of clothing manufactured is a unit of production. If this industry produces 3000 shirts in a week, then the unit of production would be 3000 for that week.3. Oil Refineries: Oil refineries also use the term ‘unit of production’ extensively. In this instance, the unit of production often refers to the volume of oil products, like petrol or jet fuel, produced. For example, if a refinery refines 2 million barrels of crude oil in a year, their unit of production for that year would be 2 million barrels.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Unit of Production?

The Unit of Production is a measure of output or production from a business process or system. This could refer to any tangible output, such as a physical product or an intangible service.

Is the Unit of Production applicable only to the manufacturing industry?

No, the Unit of Production can apply to any business in any industry that creates output. It can be a service-based business, a retail company, a factory, etc.

How can the Unit of Production be calculated?

The Unit of Production can typically be calculated by dividing the total production (in terms of quantity) over a certain period by the total expenses or inputs required for production.

What is the significance of the Unit of Production in business?

The Unit of Production is crucial as it helps businesses evaluate their productivity levels, measure efficiency, identify areas for improvements and can be used in setting production targets.

What is the Unit of Production method of depreciation?

The Unit of Production method of depreciation is a way to calculate depreciation based on how much of an asset’s potential output has been used over its lifespan. This is often relevant in industries such as mining or manufacturing where equipment wears out based on use rather than time.

Is the Unit of Production the same as a Product Unit?

No, these terms refer to different concepts. While a Unit of Production refers to a measurement of output, a Product Unit refers to a single item or entity produced or service provided.

How does Unit of Production impact cost accounting?

The Unit of Production plays a significant role in cost accounting as it aids in the calculation of unit costs i.e., the cost of production per unit. This is critical for pricing strategies, cost control, and profitability analysis.

Can the Unit of Production vary in the same business?

Yes, the Unit of Production can vary based on different factors such as production capacity, machine efficiency, labor efforts, and resource availability. This resultantly impacts the cost of production and profit margins.

Is there any connection between the Unit of Production and economies of scale?

Yes, economies of scale can lower the cost per unit of production as the total quantity produced increases. When certain businesses increase their scale of operations, their unit cost tends to decrease due to better utilization of resources and efficiencies gained.

Related Finance Terms

  • Depreciation
  • Fixed Costs
  • Variable Costs
  • Production Capacity
  • Direct Labor Cost

Sources for More Information

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