Cost Account Codes

Since project managers control resources through the line managers rather than directly, project managers end up controlling direct labor costs by opening and closing work orders. Work orders define the charge numbers for each cost account. By definition, a cost account is an identified level at a natural intersection point of the work breakdown structure and the organizational breakdown structure (OBS) at which functional responsibility for the work is assigned, and actual direct labor, material, and other direct costs are compared with actual work performed for management control purposes.

Cost accounts are the focal point of the MCCS and may comprise several work packages, as shown in Figure 15-4. Work packages are detailed short-span job or material items identified for the accomplishment of required work. To illustrate this, consider the cost account code breakdown shown in Figure 15-5 and the work authorization form shown in Figure 15-6. The work authorization form specifically identifies the cost centers that are "open" for this charge number, the man-hours available for each cost center, and the operational time period for the charge number. Because the exact dates of operation are completely defined, the charge number can be assigned perhaps as much as a year in advance of the work-begin date. This can be shown pictorially, as in Figure 15-7.

If the man-hours are assigned to Cost Center 2400, then any 24xx cost center can use this charge number. If the work authorization form specifies Cost Center 2610, then any 261x cost center can use the charge number. However, if Cost Center 2623 is specified, then no lower cost accounts exist, and this is the only cost center that can use this work order charge number. In other words, if a charge number is opened up at the department level, then the department manager has the right to subdivide the assigned man-hours among the various sections and subsections. Company policy usually identifies the permissible cost center levels that can be assigned in the work authorization form. These permissible levels are related to the work breakdown structure level. For example, Cost Center 5000 (i.e., divisional) can be assigned at the project level of the work breakdown structure, but only department, sectional, or subsectional cost accounts can be assigned at the task level of the work breakdown structure.

If a cost center needs additional time or additional man-hours, then a cost account change notice form must be initiated, usually by the requesting cost center, and approved by the project office. Figure 15-8 shows a typical cost account change notice form.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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