What costs at Uber’s Manhattan office would be direct versus indirect for various cost objects?

Uber Technologies, Inc. (Uber) is a privately-held $66 billion ride-sharing company that has offices all over the world. Uber has over 8,000 employees, not counting the drivers who are categorized as independent contractors.

One of Uber’s offices is in Manhattan in New York City. The office is in an old freight warehouse and former nightclub, now called Chelsea Terminal Stores. Uber is on the third floor of the building, occupying 54,000 square feet.

The Manhattan office houses various Uber teams, including engineering, communications, IT, HR, business development and operations. Few individual offices exist at the Manhattan office; the layout is largely an open layout. Conference rooms are available when privacy is needed.

Employees at the Manhattan office receive several perks. Once a week, breakfast is served at an all-hands meeting. A gym including punching bags, ellipticals, treadmills and exercises bikes is in the building.  Employees receive monthly Uber credit, which they can use to commute to work or for personal needs. A free catered lunch is provided every day. Kegs of beer, iced coffee, and wine are available at the office.  Employees can participate in a regular office table tennis tournament.

Questions

  1. List as many costs as you can imagine that would be incurred for the Uber Manhattan office.
  2. Assuming the U.S. Uber Division is the cost object, what costs related to the Manhattan office would be direct to the U.S. Division? What costs would be indirect?
  3. Assuming the Manhattan office is the cost object, what costs would be considered direct to the Manhattan office? What costs would be indirect?
  4. Assuming the Engineering team at the Manhattan office is the cost object, what costs would be considered direct to the Manhattan Engineering team? What costs would be indirect?
  5. Assuming one Uber car ride in NYC is the cost object, what costs related to the Manhattan office would be direct to the car ride? What costs would be indirect?

Instructor Resources

These resources are provided to give the instructor flexibility for use of Accounting in the Headlines articles in the classroom. The blog posting itself can be assigned via a link to this site OR by distributing the student handout below. Alternatively, the PowerPoint file below contains a bullet point overview of the article and the discussion questions.

  • Student handout (pdf) (word) (contains entire blog posting + discussion questions)
  • PowerPoint file (brief article overview + discussion questions)

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

About Dr. Wendy Tietz, CPA, CMA, CGMA

Dr. Wendy Tietz is a professor of accounting at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, USA. She is also a textbook author with Pearson Prentice-Hall.

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