# Last-in, first-out LIFO method in a perpetual inventory system

When we sell identical goods, we can choose from several inventory costing methods when calculating Cost of Goods Sold and Ending Inventory. Under a periodic LIFO system, however, layers are only stripped away at the end of the period, so that only the very last layers are depleted. Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years. Eric Gerard Ruiz is an accounting and bookkeeping expert for Fit Small Business.

When using the perpetual inventory system, the general ledger account Inventory is constantly (or perpetually) changing. For example, when a retailer purchases merchandise, the retailer debits its Inventory account for the cost. Rather than the Inventory account staying dormant as it did with the periodic method, the Inventory account balance is updated for every purchase and sale. Last-in, first-out or LIFO inventory method is applied to calculate the cost of goods sold (COGS) and the inventory account balance at the end of the accounting period. In other words, inventories should be assigned to the cost of goods sold in the reverse order they arrived in stock. The periodic inventory system requires a physical count of inventory at the end of the period.

He brings his expertise to Fit Small Business’s accounting content. As of March 31, the ending inventory is \$6,650,000, and the cost of goods sold is \$38,425,000. Learn the toughest concepts covered in your Financial Accounting class with step-by-step video tutorials and practice problems.

## LIFO Periodic

Since the specific identification method, identifies exactly which cost the purchase comes from it does not change under perpetual or periodic. Under the perpetual method, cost of goods sold is calculated and recorded with every sale. Under the periodic inventory method, cost of goods sold is calculated at the end of the period only and recorded in one entry. A perpetual inventory system updates the inventory balance continually, which usually requires real-time tracking of inventory items from purchase to sale. Small businesses may opt for the more cost-effective periodic system, in which the inventory balance changes only after a physical count. The LIFO — last-in, first-out — method assumes that the most recent item into inventory is the first one sold.

The ending inventory of 43,000 units consists of 35,000 units from the beginning inventory at a cost of \$150 per unit and purchase made on 12th of February of 8,000 units at a cost of \$175 per unit. Thus, the inventory account balance totals \$7,310,000 at the end of the first quarter. If XYZ Ltd uses the periodic inventory system, the ending inventory is computed as the sum of beginning inventory and total purchases during the accounting period less number of units sold. Let’s calculate the inventory account balance on 31st of March and cost of goods sold (COGS) using the LIFO inventory method.

The bad news is the periodic method does do things just a little differently. This means the average cost at the time of the sale was \$87.50 ([\$85 + \$87 + \$89 + \$89] ÷ 4). Because this is a perpetual average, a journal entry must be made at the time of the sale for \$87.50. The \$87.50 (the average cost at the time of the sale) is credited to Inventory and is debited to Cost of Goods Sold. The balance in the Inventory account will be \$262.50 (3 books at an average cost of \$87.50).

• When using the perpetual system, the Inventory account is constantly (or perpetually) changing.
• The last-in, first-out (LIFO) method is one of the three inventory cost flow assumptions, alongside the FIFO (first-in, first-out) and average cost methods.
• The LIFO method proponents argue that the LIFO method improves the matching of revenues and replacement costs.
• We still have 50 remaining units so we go up to the next LIFO layer.

Take note that you have to repeat this step before you make entries to LIFO layers. This schedule will serve as your guide to what layer needs to be updated. Under the last-in, first-out assumption, we always remove goods sold from the most recent purchase.

## Calculating Cost of Goods Sold (COGS):

Purchase of inventory is recorded by debiting the inventory account and crediting accounts payable by the amount to be paid. Because the LIFO inventory method is applied, we should assign all of Batch 4 and 20 units of Batch 3 to the cost of goods sold. The costing results of a perpetual LIFO system are more common than a periodic LIFO system, since most inventory is now tracked using computerized systems that maintain inventory records on a real-time basis. Preparing a schedule of LIFO layers before updating perpetual records for a sale is important in making sure you take COGS from the most recent layer.

• Let’s explore the LIFO method and discover if this is the best fit for your inventory needs.
• When we sell identical goods, we can choose from several inventory costing methods when calculating Cost of Goods Sold and Ending Inventory.
• The total amount of each sale’s cost comprises the cost of goods sold.
• However, the way of computation may differ if you’re using the periodic inventory vs perpetual inventory system.
• The costing results of a perpetual LIFO system are more common than a periodic LIFO system, since most inventory is now tracked using computerized systems that maintain inventory records on a real-time basis.

The company then replenished stock by purchasing another 55 units (Figure 3).Thus, the inventory on hand is now 170 units. The beginning inventory of 195 units is presented by 4 batches shown in the order they came in stock (Batch 1 came first, and Batch 4 came last). When LIFO method is used in a perpetual inventory system, it is typically known as “LIFO perpetual system”. Eric is a staff writer at Fit Small Business and CPA focusing on accounting content. He spends most of his time researching and studying to give the best answer to everyone.

## What Type of Business LIFO Is Not Right For

After Corner Bookstore makes its third purchase of the year 2022, the average cost per unit will change to \$88.125 ([\$262.50 + \$90] ÷ 4). As you can see, the average cost moved from \$87.50 to \$88.125—this is why the perpetual average method is sometimes referred to as the moving average method. The Inventory balance is \$352.50 (4 books with an average cost of \$88.125 each). Your cost of ending inventory and COGS for the period comes from the schedule with no further adjustments.

In the perpetual inventory system, “Inventory” and “Cost of Goods Sold” accounts are updated each time a purchase or sale is made. ABC International acquires 10 green widgets on January 15 for \$5, and acquires another 10 green widgets at the end of the month for \$7. Like first-in, first-out (FIFO), last-in, first-out (LIFO) method can be used in both perpetual inventory system and periodic inventory system. The following example explains the use of LIFO method for computing cost of goods sold and the cost of ending inventory in a perpetual inventory system.

## What Are the Implications of Using LIFO and FIFO Inventory Methods?

He completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy at Silliman University in Dumaguete City, Philippines. Before joining FSB, Eric has worked as a freelance content writer with various digital marketing agencies in Australia, the United States, and the Philippines. You’ll want to save your spreadsheet as a permanent file to carry from year-to-year versus starting a new spreadsheet each year. Now that we know the cost of ending inventory, we can use the COGS formula to calculate our COGS. Tim is a Certified QuickBooks Time (formerly TSheets) Pro, QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and CPA with 25 years of experience.