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The analysis and prediction of cost behavior is clearly relevant to accounting researchers, managers, financial analysts, and professional investors, since all these groups rely fundamentally on cost accounting data for their core work activities. According to traditional models of cost behavior, as presented in accounting textbooks, costs are considered to be either fixed or variable with respect to changes in the activity level of a firm. By definition, at least in the short run, fixed costs are independent of the level of activity. Variable costs, by contrast, are commonly considered to change symmetrically or even proportionally with changes in activity. This implies that the extent of a change in variable costs depends only on the extent of the simultaneous change in activity level and not on the direction of the change.
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