Accounting students often have great difficulty in comprehending standard cost overhead variance analysis. As a result, many students end up merely memorizing the formulas for calculating such variances and overlook an underlying unity. Accounting instructors also may feel frustration in teaching standard cost overhead variance analysis and may search for an easier approach to learning this important topic.
The Seiler Model presents a diagrammatic method of organizing the data needed for overhead variance calculation. Additionally, this simple diagram makes clear the underlying sources of overhead variances, thereby facilitating an understanding of their cause and meaning. There is no need for students to memorize the various calculation formulas. Even when encountering an extremely complex and detailed situation, calculation of overhead variances is straightforward.

This article is from the Accounting Instructors’ Report, an electronic journal that provides teaching tips and insights to those who teach accounting and other business courses.

Carl Brewer, Sam Houston State University
Gloria Grayless, Sam Houston State University
Linda Sweeney, Sam Houston State University