What Is Inventory? Raw Materials, WIP, & Finished Goods

inventory accounting

These GAAP differences can also affect the composition of costs of sales and performance measures such as gross margin. The main advantage of inventory accounting is to have an accurate representation of the company’s financial health. However, there are some additional advantages to keeping track of the value of items through their respective production stages.

  • Therefore, the stock itself is not income, but the value of the inventory is required for determining income.
  • Because of this, inventory accounting plays a critical role in maintaining the profitability and liquidity of any product-based business.
  • This formula tells you how much inventory you had to buy in order to earn your sales revenue.
  • Retain an electronic copy of the physical inventory along with the completed physical inventory reconciliations, and keep these copies available for internal and/or external auditors.
  • Inventory accounting helps you figure out how much stock you have, what it cost you, and what it’s worth to your business.
  • Finished goods are products that go through the production process, and are completed and ready for sale.
  • Inventory valuation is a critical business process that directly impacts profit and taxation.

You will be in a position to know the business profitability only when you to determine the cost of goods by way of stock valuation. Manufacture and expiry date management is crucial for business dealing with products having defined shelf life or short durability. Tracking inventory based on their shelf life, will allow business owners to keep a constant check on expired products, and refrain inventory accounting from selling it to the customer and getting into their bad books. TallyPrime’s batch summary report, you can maintain batches with manufacturing and expiry dates and get complete visibility of batch details such mfg date, expiry date, no of days till expiry etc. Rather than look at the cost of individual batches of units, you simply average the cost for the chosen accounting period.

Advantages of inventory accounting

Inventory is considered an asset, so the accountant must consistently use a valid method for assigning costs to inventory in order to record it as an asset. Every business that manages inventory must use an inventory accounting process to determine the value of the company’s inventory assets. There are several common inventory accounting methods that companies rely on to assign value to their inventory and maintain appropriate record-keeping. Inventory valuation is a critical business process that directly impacts profit and taxation. Inventory accounting works by tracking inventory costs and recording inventory assets and the overall value of inventory at the beginning and end of an accounting period to determine the metrics of a business. The weighted average method, or average cost method, deals with inventory utterly different from the FIFO and LIFO methods.

There are three main methods of inventory valuation that companies can choose to use to account for the value of their stock. To accurately calculate and record the valued inventory each year, businesses must select one of these costing methods and stick with it. The significance of inventory for certain industries makes accounting and valuation a pertinent focus area. The differences around costs and measurement between IFRS Standards and US GAAP can be difficult for companies to tackle as they switch between the two standards or conform acquired businesses to group costing policies. This is because changing inventory costing methodologies often requires systems and process changes.


For example, if you own a fruit distribution company, you’ll be an advocate of the FIFO approach. The longer your inventory sits on shelves, the higher the chances that it will go rotten. The clock factory example is likely different because clocks won’t spoil if they sit on a shelf for a month.

When an inventory item is sold, its carrying cost transfers to the cost of goods sold (COGS) category on the income statement. This method, commonly referred to as “LIFO,” is based on the assumption that the most recent units purchased will be the first units sold. When selling inventory to a non-Cornell entity or individual for cash/check, record it on your operating account with a credit (C) to sales tax and external income and debit (D) to cash.

Katana: Best manufacturing inventory management software with accounting integrations

Periodic inventory systems determine the LIFO, FIFO, or weighted average value at the end of every period, whereas perpetual systems determine the inventory value after every transaction. Inventory is a current asset account found on the balance sheet, consisting of all raw materials, work-in-progress, and finished goods that a company has accumulated. It is often deemed the most illiquid of all current assets and, thus, it is excluded from the numerator in the quick ratio calculation. The accounting for inventory involves determining the correct unit counts comprising ending inventory, and then assigning a value to those units.

inventory accounting