Inventory Cost Flow Assumption Definition

the assumption that a company makes about its inventory cost flow has

The inventory balance is reduced and the related expense is increased. For large organizations, such transactions can take place thousands of times each day.

the assumption that a company makes about its inventory cost flow has

Companies that make fewer sales of products with higher unit costs, however, use a perpetual inventory system. The perpetual inventory system is updated continuously, not periodically. This systems requires that companies keep track of merchandise purchases at the time of acquisition and the cost of goods sold at the time of sale. Hence, companies using this system have an account for the assumption that a company makes about its inventory cost flow has merchandise acquisitions and for the cost of goods sold. The Weighted-Average Method of inventory costing is a means of costing ending inventory using a weighted-average unit cost. Companies most often use the Weighted-Average Method to determine a cost for units that are basically the same, such as identical games in a toy store or identical electrical tools in a hardware store.

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And that same sentiment would probably exist in the United States except for the LIFO conformity rule. During inflationary periods, companies that apply LIFO do not look as financially healthy as those that adopt FIFO. Eventually this recommendation was put into law and the LIFO conformity rule was born.

the assumption that a company makes about its inventory cost flow has

When using the FIFO method with this system, a company determines the cost of goods sold each time a sale is made by multiplying the cost of the oldest goods on hand by the number of items sold. Finally, when using the LIFO method, a company computes the cost of goods sold each time a sale is made by multiplying the cost of the most recent purchases by the number of goods sold. Inventory turnover indicates the number of times a company’s average inventory is sold during an accounting period.

Under FIFO, a company always assumes that it sells its oldest inventory first and that ending inventories include more recently purchased merchandise. Companies selling perishable goods such as food and drugs tend to use this method, because cash flow closely resembles goods flow with this method. As in the case of profitability ratios, the inventory method a company uses affects its balance sheet as well. FIFO companies report higher inventory in their current assets.

Periodic Fifo Method Example

Raw materials are different from parts inventory, which is the term often used for the inventory of replacement parts. Sometimes, a company includes in raw materials inventory those materials that are not directly a part of its manufacturing process but are needed for its successful operation. However, the company often includes them in an account called factory supplies, manufacturing supplies, or indirect materials. Examples of materials in this category include lubricating oil and cleaning supplies. The last‐in, first‐out method assumes the last units purchased are the first to be sold. Therefore, the first units purchased always remain in inventory. This method usually produces different results depending on whether the company uses a periodic or perpetual system.

The COGS and inventory balance once again change when customers buy 60 units under the HIFO and LOFO methods during a period. The HIFO example removes the highest cost inventory first, leaving less value in stock, and the LOFO example removes the lowest cost inventory first, leaving a normal balance higher value in stock. Proper inventory control within a supply chain helps reduce the total inventory costs and assists in determining how much product a company should carry. All this information helps companies decide the needed margins to assign to each product or product type.

  • On May 1, beginning inventory consists of 10 items at a cost of $10 each.
  • This is because taxable income under LIFO is higher than it is under FIFO when prices fall.
  • Inventory is also not as badly understated as under LIFO, but it is not as up-to-date as under FIFO.
  • Required Record the journal entries for the sale and collection by the Livingston Company.
  • Using the weighted average cost method yields different allocation of inventory costs under a periodic and perpetual inventory system.

Companies also select a cost flow assumption to specify the cost that is transferred from inventory to cost of goods sold (and, hence, the cost that remains in the inventory T-account). For a periodic system, the cost flow assumption is only applied when the physical inventory count is taken and the cost of the ending inventory is determined. In a perpetual system, each time bookkeeping a sale is made the cost flow assumption identifies the cost to be reclassified to cost of goods sold. The cost of ending inventory can change based on the cost flow assumption the company chooses to use. The goods that companies sell first and their relative costs when purchased affect the cost of what is leftover in inventory, as do the assumptions behind any estimates.

Why Do Companies Use Cost Flow Assumptions To Determine Inventory Cost?

“FIFO” stands for first-in, first-out, meaning that the oldest inventory items are recorded as sold first but do not necessarily mean that the exact oldest physical object has been tracked and sold. In other words, the cost associated with the inventory that was purchased first is the cost expensed first. However, this method is rarely used, because there are few purchased products that are clearly identified in a company’s accounting records with a unique identification code. Thus, it is typically restricted to unique, high-value items for which such differentiation is needed. It looks like Lee picked a bad time to get into the lamp business. The costs of buying lamps for his inventory went up dramatically during the fall, as demonstrated under ‘price paid’ per lamp in November and December. So, Lee decides to use the LIFO method, which means he will use the price it cost him to buy lamps in December.

the assumption that a company makes about its inventory cost flow has

LIFO usually provides a realistic income statement at the expense of the balance sheet. Conversely, FIFO provides a realistic balance sheet at the expense of the income statement. In either case, the average cost will provide figures between those of FIFO and LIFO. As we discussed above, FIFO results in a higher gross profit during periods of rising prices. But, this means it will also result in a higher income tax expense!


Some accountants argue that this method provides the most precise matching of costs and revenues and is therefore the most theoretically sound method. This statement is true for some one-of-a-kind items, such as autos or real estate. For these items, use of any other method would seem illogical. However, one disadvantage of the specific identification method is that it permits the manipulation of income. While the best way to value inventory is to perform a physical inventory, in certain business operations, taking a physical inventory is impossible or impractical.

LIFO is a contraction of the term “last in, first out,” and means that the goods last added to inventory are assumed to be the first goods removed from inventory for sale. FIFO is based on the principle that the first inventory goods received will be the first inventory goods sold.

What Is The Best Inventory Valuation Method?

The LIFO Method is justified based upon the matching principle, as the most recent cost of inventory is matched against the current revenue generated from the sale of that inventory. FIFO does not, however, distort the valuation of inventory on the balance sheet like LIFO can potentially do.

However, management can easily manipulate ending inventory cost, since they can choose to report that cheaper goods were sold first, ultimately raising income. Companies most often use the weighted-average method to determine a cost for units that are basically the same, such as identical games in a toy store or identical electrical tools in a hardware store. Companies most often use the weighted-average method to determine a cost for units that are basically the same. Average cost flow assumption is a calculation companies use to assign costs to inventory goods, cost of goods sold and ending inventory. When sales are recorded using the FIFO method, the oldest inventory–that was acquired first–is used up first. FIFO leaves the newer, more expensive inventory in a rising-price environment, on the balance sheet. As a result, FIFO can increase net income because inventory that might be several years old–which was acquired for a lower cost–is used to value COGS.

GAAP and looks rather innocuous, it has a huge impact on the way inventory and cost of goods sold are reported to decision makers in this country. The cost of the storage space is for the facility that houses the stock and includes depreciation, utility costs, insurance and staff. The cost of handling the stock consists of efforts to put the stock into storage, required maintenance and handling equipment and security. Obsolescence is when stock is no longer useful or becomes outdated.

For example, this can include raw materials, labor, manufacturing overhead, freight-in, certain administrative costs and storage. This principle of consistency, using the same method period after period, enables companies to present the fairest numbers and pay the appropriate taxes based on their reported income. If they want to change their method, they must get approval from the Internal Revenue Service via IRS Form 3115 after the end of the tax year.

This method is also a very hard to use on interchangeable goods. For example, it is hard to relate shipping and storage costs to a specific inventory item. These numbers will need to be estimated and reducing the specific identification’s benefit of being extremely specific. Specific identification is a method of finding out ending inventory cost. It requires a detailed physical count, so that the company knows exactly how many of each goods brought on specific dates remained at year-end inventory. When this information is found, the amount of goods is multiplied by their purchase cost at their purchase date, to get a number for the ending inventory cost. Reduction in obsolescence and in inventory storage costs may occur with a – – – inventory turnover ratio.

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