Cost Accounting – What is it & Why Do You Care?

The Cost Accounting module within TOPAZ Elements is intended to help you determine what your per diem rates should be. By tracking the various costs of running your facility and then calculating a distribution of these costs based on census data, the module can provide unique insight into your costs in a variety of categories and over time.

The Cost Accounting module is used by a minority of our Elements customers, but many of these are rather passionate about it! The reason is that, for institutions who receive NIH funding, it is essential to comply with the principles as defined in the Cost Analysis and Rate Setting Manual.

These principles include, for example, that “billing rates should be based on costs”, “the objective should be to operate as closely as possible to a break-even basis”, and “revenue and costs should be compared at least annually.” As with all such federal regulations or guidelines, these facts should also be “justified and auditable”, and this is exactly what the Cost Accounting module is for!

In summation, using the Cost Accounting module can give you confidence that your rates are correct and that you are in compliance. It can help justify the rates when presenting this data annually to the institution’s hierarchy and can provide justification to the research community at the institution. In the next post, we’ll look in more detail at how the module achieves all this!

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