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What is the meaning of pro rata?

Harold Averkamp, CPA, MBA

Pro rata is a Latin term that means in proportion. Pro rata is related to prorate, a term used in cost accounting.

To illustrate the term pro rata, let’s assume that a company’s standard costing system has an unfavorable materials price variance of $400,000. If that amount is significant, the company will prorate the $400,000 to its inventory and to its cost of goods sold. Let’s also assume that the proration will be based on the company’s $1 million of standard materials costs in its inventories and $9 million of standard materials costs in its cost of goods sold. On this basis the inventories’ pro rata share of the variance will be $40,000 ($1 million divided by the total of $10 million = 10% times the $400,000 variance). The pro rata share of the variance assigned to the cost of goods sold will be $360,000 ($9 million divided by $10 million = 90% times the $400,000 variance).

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About the Author

Harold Averkamp

For the past 52 years, Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has
worked as an accounting supervisor, manager, consultant, university instructor, and innovator in teaching accounting online. He is the sole author of all the materials on

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