This video shows how to calculate the variable overhead spending variance.
The variance overhead spending variance is the difference between:
(1) actual activity base (e.g., machine hours) * actual variable overhead rate and
(2) actual activity base (e.g., machine hours) * standard variable overhead rate
This is sometimes abbreviated as: (AH * AR) – (AH * SR)
If the company spent more than it should have (according to the standard, which is set by management), then the variable overhead spending variance is unfavorable.