# Inventory Cost Flow Assumptions

FIFO assigns current costs to inventory but older costs to the cost of goods sold. But, what if you knew the cost of goods sold and wanted to calculate ending inventory instead? You can change up the order of this equation to do this. Ending inventory is equal to goods available for sale minus the cost of goods sold. If a physical ending inventory count hasn’t happened yet, a company will use this formula to compute the ending inventory balance. An income statement provides an overview of company financial activity during a given period of time, comparing incoming revenue with outgoing expenses. It can cover any period of time for which you want information, from a particular week to a span of multiple years.

In this final approach to maintaining and reporting inventory, each time that a company buys inventory at a new price, the average cost is recalculated. Therefore, a moving average system must be programmed to update the average whenever additional merchandise is acquired. The last costs for the period remain in ending inventory; the first costs have all been transferred to cost of goods sold.

## Specific Identification

In contrast, a perpetual system maintains an ongoing record of the goods that remain on hand and those that have been sold. As noted, both of these systems have advantages and disadvantages. Explain that the biggest problem associated with LIFO is an inventory balance that can often show costs from years earlier that are totally irrelevant today. The last cost incurred in buying two blue shirts was \$70 so that amount is reclassified to expense at the time of the first sale.

However, inventory adjusting entriess determine the assignment of costs to those units. The inventory cost flow assumptions help accountants and businesses address issues that arise when identical merchandise units are purchased at different unit costs. Information found in financial statements is required to be presented fairly in conformity with U.S. GAAP. Because several inventory cost flow assumptions are allowed, presented numbers can vary significantly from one company to another and still be appropriate. Understanding and comparing financial statements is quite difficult without knowing the implications of the method selected. LIFO, for example, tends to produce low-income figures in a period of inflation.

## The Inventory Cost Flow Assumption Where The Cost Of The Most Recent Purchase Is Matched First Against Sales Revenues Is

Eventually this recommendation was put into law and the LIFO conformity rule was born. If LIFO is used on a company’s income tax return, it must also be applied on the financial statements. If a company pays \$100 for an item in January, \$105 in July and \$110 in December, the increasing costs of inventory may be hard to keep track of in relation to which items have sold. In order to get around this, the company would make a cost flow assumption that says the average price paid was \$105. Under the specific identification method, you can physically identify which specific items are purchased and then sold, so the cost flow moves with the actual item sold.

Again, the significance of that figure depends on the type of inventory, a comparison to similar companies, and the change seen in recent periods of time. Periodic FIFO. In a periodic system, the cost of the new purchases is the focus of the record keeping. At the end of the period, the accountant must count and then determine the cost of the items held in ending inventory.

## 4 Merging Periodic And Perpetual Inventory Systems With A Cost Flow Assumption

No attempt is made to determine which shirt was purchased by the customer. Here, because the first shirt cost \$50, the following entry is made to record the expense and reduce the inventory. For large organizations, such transactions can take place thousands of times each day. This standard amount is always reclassified into expense to reflect the sale. 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.

• Each transaction that occurs in a business has an impact on at least two or more accounts.
• It also helps show the flow of inventory throughout the period.
• Under the last in, first out method, you assume that the last item purchased is also the first one sold.
• New costs always get transferred to cost of goods sold leaving the first costs (\$1 per gallon) in inventory.
• Under the last-in, last-out method of inventory valuation, the last-or more recent-goods purchased would be the first goods sold.

When using FIFO, the first costs are transferred to cost of goods sold so the cost of the last four bathtubs remain in the inventory T-account. The first costs are now in cost of goods sold while the most recent costs remain recording transactions in the asset account. To illustrate, assume that a station starts 2010 with ten thousand gallons of gasoline. LIFO has been applied over the years so that the inventory is reported at the 1972 cost of \$0.42 per gallon.

## What Is Meant By The Physical Flow Of Goods In Accounting?

Under this approach an inventory purchase is made on paper, but the inventory is not actually delivered. The “seller” agrees to repurchase the goods at a slightly higher price after the financial statement date. This is considered acceptable for tax purposes, but not for financial accounting. Because the identity of the items conveyed to buyers is unknown, this final cost flow assumption holds that using an average of all costs is the most logical solution. Why choose any individual cost if no evidence exists of its validity?

However, in some sectors of the economy, such as electronics, prices have been falling. In this case, the income statement and balance sheet effects of LIFO and FIFO would be the opposite of the rising-price situation. That is, LIFO would Produce the highest gross margin and the highest ending inventory CARES Act cost. Under LIFO, cost of goods sold is the purchases for the period plus \$146 million. Using current cost, cost of goods sold is the purchases plus only \$111 million. Thus, cost of goods sold will be \$35 million higher according to LIFO (\$146 million less \$111 million) and net income \$35 million lower.

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

Two purchases occurred during the year, so the cost of goods available for sale is \$ 7,200. FIFO, LIFO, average are assumptions because the flow of costs out of inventory does not have to match the way the items were physically removed from inventory. Balance Sheet Effects o Errors in the beginning inventory have no impact on the balance sheet, as long as the ending inventory is calculated correctly.

Such changes have a cause and any individual studying the company needs to consider the possibilities. The six inventory systems shown here for Mayberry Home Improvement Store provide a number of distinct pictures of ending inventory and cost of goods sold. As stated earlier, these numbers are all fairly presented but only in conformity with the specified principles being applied.

Cost flow assumptions are made about inventories as indistinguishable products are often bought at different prices. There are many reasons prices change for inventory and it is important to use a method that best reflects the reality of the business. However, if the items were not sold, they would remain in inventory and show up in the ending inventory number.

However, instead of using the costs of the products acquired, a formula is used to determine an average cost that will be used to calculate both the cost of goods sold and the ending inventory. However, the reason most companies apply the LIFO costing method relates to U.S. tax law. Companies that want to apply LIFO for income tax purposes are required to present their financial information under the LIFO method. The big question still being debated is whether or not U.S. tax law will change to accommodate the move to IFRS.

## Accounting For Inventory When Costs Vary Over Time

The reason is that inventory measurement bears directly on the determination of income! The slightest adjustment to inventory will cause a corresponding change in an entity’s reported income. Kevin Johnston writes for Ameriprise Financial, the Rutgers University MBA Program and Evan Carmichael. LIFOLIFO stands for “last in, first out.” The last goods purchased are assumed to be sold first. FIFOFIFO stands for “first in, first out.” The goods purchased the longest ago are assumed to be sold first. IV. JIT inventory systems require reliable suppliers and efficient handling and shipping of materials.

Inventory cost flow assumption based on the average cost being transferred from inventory to cost of goods sold so that the same average cost remains in ending inventory. When prices rise, LIFO companies report lower net income and a lower inventory account on the balance sheet (because the earlier and cheaper costs remain in the inventory T-account).

Formula measuring profitability calculated by dividing gross profit by sales. Used to compare one company from another or one time period to the next. Each time a company buys inventory at a new price, the average cost is recalculated. Therefore this system must be programmed to update the average whenever additional merchandise is acquired. The most recent average is used as the new price for when they re-average new merchandise bought.