# 4 Inventory Costing Methods for Small Businesses

He owns Genuine Communications, which helps CMOs, founders, and marketing teams to build brands and attract customers. As such, your business may come under scrutiny if you use this method. Here is the retail method formula, courtesy of AccountingCoach.

The method companies use to cost their inventory directly guides the income and inventory value they report on their financial statements. Each company chooses a systematic approach to calculating and reporting its inventory turnover, and regulators expect them to stick to that method every year. Companies generally report inventory value at their paid cost. However, a manufacturer would report inventory at the cost to produce the item, including the costs of raw materials, labor and overhead. Usually, inventory is a significant, if not the largest, asset reported on a company’s balance sheet. Most of the operations using the average cost methodology sell or distribute non-perishable goods, often in a non-sequential manner.

## Inventory Costing Methods for Effective Stock Valuation

In many countries LIFO is not permitted for tax or accounting purposes, and there is discussion about the U.S. perhaps adopting this global approach. Once the unit cost of inventory is determined via the preceding logic, specific costing methods must be adopted. In other words, each unit of inventory will not have the exact same cost, and an assumption must be implemented to maintain a systematic approach to assigning costs to units on hand (and to units sold). The formula for the weighted average cost method is a per unit calculation. Divide the total cost of goods available for sale by the units available for each inventory item. Businesses that sell perishable products or items that can become outdated (such as clothing) often use the FIFO inventory costing method.

LIFO companies frequently augment their reports with supplemental data about what inventory cost would be if FIFO were used instead. This does not mean that changes cannot occur; however, changes should only be made if financial reporting is deemed to be improved. Based on the information in the schedule, Gonzales will report sales of \$304,000. This amount is the result of selling 7,000 units at \$22 (\$154,000) and 6,000 units at \$25 (\$150,000). The dollar amount of sales will be reported in the income statement, along with cost of goods sold and gross profit. The weighted average cost method uses a weighted cost that averages the price of all purchased inventory.

## What is inventory costing?

The company exhausts the stock with the earliest expiration date first. In order for a materials handling, order fulfillment, or manufacturing operation to be successful over the long term, it is crucial that they have a firm understanding of the cost of goods sold for their business. The mirror image of the FIFO method, the last in, first out method (LIFO), is based on the idea that a business will sell its newest inventory first. However, it does create the lowest COGS numbers when prices are rising, which can result in the highest taxable income.

• The ending inventory valuation is the 575 units remaining multiplied by the weighted average cost.
• Any adjustment to inventory causes changes in the reported income.
• Over time, as prices rise, these ending inventory balances become less and less representative of the actual value of that inventory.

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. 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.

## Inventory Valuation Adjustments and Estimates

We place products in pricing tiers when they are bought and then make a general assumption on the order that those pricing tiers will pulled off the shelf and sold. Now, let’s look at each inventory method, the pros and cons of each, and discuss how it can impact your business. With a Perpetual Inventory System, inventory and cost of goods sold accounts are updated with each sale, or perpetually. Investopedia has the following helpful LIFO example, of a furniture store that buys 200 chairs for \$10 per unit. Next month the store buys another 300 chairs for \$20 each, and at the end of their accounting period, it has sold 100 total chairs.

• To choose a cost accounting method, companies should first understand how the different methods will change their balance sheets and income statements.
• It’s simple – you divide the total cost of purchased items by the number of items in stock.
• Each company chooses a systematic approach to calculating and reporting its inventory turnover, and regulators expect them to stick to that method every year.
• This formula uses the beginning inventory value, ending inventory value and purchase costs over the period.

Find the right tool that can streamline accounting processes and provide visibility into inventory on-hand. The ending inventory valuation is the 575 units remaining multiplied by the weighted average cost. However, when a customer buys 60 units, the difference in these cost flow assumptions is clear. In FIFO, the ending inventory cost ends up higher to reflect the increase in prices.

## What are Inventory Costing Methods?

LIFO is opposite of FIFO and reports the most current prices as being cost of goods sold. Those using a perpetual inventory system will assign a value to their inventory with each sale. With the Periodic Inventory System, inventory and cost of goods sold accounts are updated periodically. So, why do so many businesses neglect inventory and fail to establish a method for valuing one of their biggest assets & expenses? Inventory management can be intimidating, and is made more so due to the multiple approaches you can take. While FEFO is important for medicine—and, in fact, recommended by guidelines from the EU—it has little use for retailers without expiring inventory, making it a niche accounting method.