FIFO Inventory Cost Method Explained

fifo method formula

In sum, using the LIFO method generally results in a higher cost of goods sold and smaller net profit on the balance sheet. When all of the units in goods available are sold, the total cost of goods sold is the same, using any inventory valuation method. FIFO and LIFO inventory valuations differ because each method makes a different assumption about the units sold. To understand FIFO vs. LIFO flow of inventory, you need to visualize inventory items sitting on the shelf, each with a cost assigned to it. There are also balance sheet implications between these two valuation methods. Because more expensive inventory items are usually sold under LIFO, these more expensive inventory items are kept as inventory on the balance sheet under FIFO.

It’s best to consult a tax professional before determining the best methods for reducing taxable income since there are many components that go into calculating a company’s tax liability. A company would take the revenue total and subtract the inventory costs (as well as other expenses), to determine how much profit was earned. Companies have their choice between several different accounting inventory methods, though there are restrictions regarding IFRS. A company’s taxable income, net income, and balance sheet balances will all vary based on the inventory method selected.


Our example has a four-day period, but we can use the same steps to calculate the ending inventory for a period of any duration, such as weeks, months, quarters, or years. As we shall see in the following example, both periodic and perpetual inventory systems provide the same value of ending inventory under the FIFO method. Perpetual inventory systems are also known as continuous inventory systems because they sequentially track every movement of inventory. On the first day, we have added the details of the purchased inventory.

On the other hand, Periodic inventory systems are used to reverse engineer the value of ending inventory. The example above shows how a perpetual inventory system works when applying the FIFO method. The wholesaler provides a same-day delivery service and charges a flat delivery fee of $10 irrespective of the order size. This means that you generated $1,630 of profit by selling 110 candles. This video will provide a demonstration of cost assignment under the FIFO method.

FIFO: Periodic Vs. Perpetual

During the year, you buy more inventory and sell some of the inventory. At the end of the year, you want to record the cost of the inventory you’ve sold, as an expense of doing business, which is deducted from your sales. Since under FIFO method inventory is stated fifo method formula at the latest purchase cost, this will result in valuation of inventory at price that is relatively close to its current market worth. In this case, the store sells 100 of the $50 units and 20 of the $54 units, and the cost of goods sold totals $6,080.

In other words, with the FIFO method, the oldest inventory will be used in determining the cost of goods sold. When sales are recorded for the accounting period, the costs of the oldest inventory items are subtracted from revenue to calculate the profit from those sales. When sales are recorded using the FIFO method, the oldest inventory–that was acquired first–is used up first.

5 Process Costing (FIFO Method)

The oldest, less expensive items remain in the ending inventory account. The store’s ending inventory balance is 30 of the $54 units plus 100 of the $50 units, for a total of $6,620. The sum of $6,480 cost of goods sold and $6,620 ending inventory is $13,100, the total inventory cost.

fifo method formula

Under the LIFO method, assuming a period of rising prices, the most expensive items are sold. This means the value of inventory is minimized and the value of cost of goods sold is increased. This means taxable net income is lower under the LIFO method and the resulting tax liability is lower under the LIFO method. The First-In, First-Out (FIFO) method assumes that the first unit making its way into inventory–or the oldest inventory–is the sold first. For example, let’s say that a bakery produces 200 loaves of bread on Monday at a cost of $1 each, and 200 more on Tuesday at $1.25 each. FIFO states that if the bakery sold 200 loaves on Wednesday, the COGS (on the income statement) is $1 per loaf because that was the cost of each of the first loaves in inventory.

Again, these are short-term differences that are eliminated when all of the shirts are sold. LIFO is more difficult to account for because the newest units purchased are constantly changing. In the example above, LIFO assumes that the $54 units are sold first.

  • Knowing when to use the FIFO formula is crucial for businesses that manage a large inventory.
  • To determine the cost of units sold, under FIFO accounting, you start with the assumption that you have sold the oldest (first-in) produced items first.
  • In general, for companies trying to better match their sales with the actual movement of product, FIFO might be a better way to depict the movement of inventory.
  • It is an accounting method in which assets purchased or acquired first are disposed of first.
  • Therefore, it is important that serious investors understand how to assess the inventory line item when comparing companies across industries or in their own portfolios.
  • With FIFO, it is assumed that the $5 per unit hats remaining were sold first, followed by the $6 per unit hats.

If a company’s inventory costs rose by 50%, for example, the company would report a lower amount for net income, assuming sales prices weren’t increased to counter the higher inventory expense. A lower net income total would mean less taxable income and ultimately, a lower tax expense for the year. In total, there are four inventory costing methods you can use for inventory valuation and management.

Managerial Accounting

Let’s say that a new line comes out and XYZ Clothing buys 100 shirts from this new line to put into inventory in its new store. Although using the LIFO method will cut into his profit, it also means that Lee will get a tax break. The 220 lamps Lee has not yet sold would still be considered inventory. The remaining unsold 275 sunglasses will be accounted for in “inventory”. Going by the FIFO method, Sal needs to go by the older costs (of acquiring his inventory) first. January has come along and Sal needs to calculate his cost of goods sold for the previous year, which he will do using the FIFO method.

One reason for valuing inventory is to determine its value for inventory financing purposes. Another reason for valuing inventory is that inventory costs are included in the cost of goods sold, which reduces business income for tax purposes. FIFO is one of several ways to calculate the cost of inventory in a business.

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