# Cost Variance fields

The Cost Variance assignment fields show the difference between the baseline cost (baseline cost: The original project, resource, and assignment cost as shown in the baseline plan. The baseline cost is a snapshot of the cost at the time when the baseline plan was saved.) and total cost (total cost: The calculated cost of a project, task, resource, or assignment over the life of the project.) for a task, resource, or assignment. The total cost is the current estimate of costs based on actual costs and remaining costs.

There are several categories of Cost Variance fields.

**How Calculated** Microsoft Office Project calculates the cost variance as follows:

Cost Variance = Cost - Baseline Cost

**Best Uses** Add the Cost Variance field to a task sheet when you want to see whether you're under, over, or exactly within your budget for a task. During a project, use this field to assess budgetary performance to date. At the end of a project, use this field to help with cost analysis and future project planning.

**Example** The baseline cost for a task is $500 because you had originally estimated that it would take your $50 per hour resource 10 hours to complete. If your resource only takes 5 hours to complete the task, the baseline cost is $500 and the cost is updated to $250. Therefore, the cost variance shows -$250, indicating that you're under budget on the task by $250.

**Remarks** If the cost variance is negative, the cost for the task is currently under the budgeted, or baseline, amount. If the cost variance is positive, the cost for the task is currently over budget. When the task is complete, this field shows the difference between baseline costs and actual costs.

Cost Variance (resource field)

**How Calculated** Microsoft Office Project calculates the cost variance as follows:

Cost Variance = Cost - Baseline Cost

**Best Uses** Add the Cost Variance field to a resource view when you want to see whether you're under, over, or exactly within your budget for a resource. During a project, use this field to assess budgetary performance to date. At the end of a project, use this field to help with cost analysis and future project planning.

**Example** Your baseline cost for a resource is $5,000, and your cost (total cost) is $4,500. Your cost variance is -$500, meaning you're $500 under budget.

**Remarks** If the cost variance is negative, the cost for the resource is currently under the budgeted, or baseline, amount. If the cost variance is positive, the cost for the resource is currently over budget.

Cost Variance (assignment field)

**How Calculated** Microsoft Office Project calculates the cost variance as follows:

Cost Variance = Cost - Baseline Cost

**Best Uses** Add the Cost Variance field to the sheet portion of the Task Usage or Resource Usage view when you want to see whether you're under, over, or exactly within your budget for an assignment. During a project, use this field to assess budgetary performance to date. At the end of a project, use this field to help with cost analysis and future project planning.

**Example** If your baseline cost for an assignment is $500, and your cost (total cost) is $400, your cost variance is -$100, meaning you're $100 under budget.

**Remarks** If the cost variance is negative, the cost for the assignment is currently under the budgeted, or baseline, amount. If the cost variance is positive, the cost for the assignment is currently over budget. When the assignment is complete, this field shows the difference between baseline costs and actual costs.