Actual Cost (AC)

Actual Cost (AC) is an element of earned value management. Actual Cost is the total cost incurred for the actual work completed to date. Simply put, it is the amount of money you have spent to date. As per the PMBOK Guide, “Actual Cost (AC) is the total cost actually incurred in accomplishing work performed for an activity or WBS component.”

Actual Cost is also known as Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP).

The Formula for Actual Cost (AC)

Finding Actual Cost is the simplest of all.

There is no special formula to calculate Actual Cost. It is an amount that has been spent and you can find it easily in the question.

Example of Actual Cost (AC)

You have a project to be completed in 12 months. The budget of the project is 100,000 USD. Six months have passed and 60,000 USD has been spent, but on closer review, you find that only 40% of the work has been completed so far.

What is the project’s Actual Cost (AC)?

The Actual Cost is the amount of money that you have spent so far.

In the question, you have spent 60,000 USD on the project so far.


The project’s Actual Cost is 60,000 USD.

Application of Actual Cost (AC) Actual Cost is used to calculate Cost Variance and Cost Performance Index.