# Weighted Average: What Is It, How Is It Calculated and Used?

A weighted average can be more accurate than a simple average in which all numbers in a data set are assigned an identical weight. Determine the cost of inventory on 30 April using the weighted average method of costing. Note that the cost of goods sold of \$67,166 and the ending inventory balance of \$48,834 equal \$116,000, which matches the total of the costs in the original example. Thus, the totals are the same, but the moving weighted average calculation results in slight differences in the apportionment of costs between the cost of goods sold and ending inventory. Businesses would use the LIFO method to help them better match their current costs with their revenue.

Businesses would use the weighted average cost method because it is the simplest of the three accounting methods. That makes it tough to keep track of the cost basis on those shares and their relative changes in value. The investor can calculate a weighted average of the share price paid for the shares. To do so, multiply the number of shares acquired at each price by that price, add those values, then divide the total value by the total number of shares.

## What is a weighted average cost?

This oldest cost will then be reported on the income statement as part of the cost of goods sold. The first in, first out (FIFO) accounting method relies on a cost flow assumption that removes costs from the inventory account when an item in someone’s inventory has been purchased at varying costs over time. Generally speaking, FIFO is preferable in times of rising prices, so that the costs recorded are low, and income is higher. Contrarily, LIFO is preferable in economic climates when tax rates are high because the costs assigned will be higher and income will be lower. While the weighted average method is a generally accepted accounting principle, this system doesn’t have the sophistication needed to track FIFO and LIFO inventories. When excess issues are returned to the store, it seems sufficient for practical purposes to reduce or increase the total quantity and cost, allowing the unit price to remain unchanged.

For example, say an investor acquires 100 shares of a company in year one at \$10, and 50 shares of the same stock in year two at \$40. To get a weighted average of the price paid, the investor multiplies 100 shares by \$10 for year one and 50 shares by \$40 for year two, then adds the results to get a total of \$3,000. Then the total amount paid for the shares, \$3,000 in this case, is divided by the number of shares acquired over both years, 150, to get the weighted average price paid of \$20. A weighted average is a calculation that takes into account the varying degrees of importance of the numbers in a data set. In calculating a weighted average, each number in the data set is multiplied by a predetermined weight before the final calculation is made.

## Weighted Average Cost: Definition

The weighted average cost method follows the concept of total stock and total valuation. This method of Material Costing is used for costing materials requisition and charging the cost of materials to production. Choosing among weighted average cost, FIFO, or LIFO can have a significant impact on a business’ balance sheet and income statement.

• As the name suggests, a weighted average is one where the different numbers you’re working with have different values, or weights, relative to each other.
• The last in, first out (LIFO) accounting method assumes that the latest items bought are the first items to be sold.
• This means that materials returned to sellers and to the store are recorded at the present average cost.

When a fund that holds multiple securities is up 10% on the year, that 10% represents a weighted average of returns for the fund with respect to the value of each position in the fund. To find the average price, the total cost of all materials of a particular class is divided by the number of units in hand. In other words, it is assumed that where a material is purchased at different prices, the unit cost will be the average cost of all units purchased over a particular period. To use the weighted average model, one divides the cost of the goods that are available for sale by the number of those units still on the shelf. This calculation yields the weighted average cost per unit—a figure that can then be used to assign a cost to both ending inventory and the cost of goods sold. A weighted average, otherwise known as a weighted mean, is a little more complicated to figure out than a regular arithmetic mean.

## Weighted Average Cost: Explanation

Materials are issued from the store at the established average cost until a new purchase is recorded. However, values in a data set may be weighted for other reasons than the frequency of occurrence. For example, if students in a dance class are graded on skill, attendance, and manners, the grade for skill may be given greater weight than the other factors. The articles and research support materials available on this site are educational and are not intended to be investment or tax advice.

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## Why You Can Trust Finance Strategists

Construction of portfolio weights and the LIFO and FIFO inventory methods also make use of weighted averages. Also, the weighted average cost method takes into consideration fluctuations in the cost of inventory. Statistical measures can be a very important way to help you in your investment journey. You can use weighted averages to help determine the average price of shares as well as the returns of your portfolio. You can calculate the weighted average by multiplying each number in the data set by its weight, then adding up each of the results together.