FIFO vs. LIFO: Unraveling Inventory Cost Flow Assumption
Inventory management is a critical aspect of any business, and understanding the methods used to assess the cost of goods sold is essential. Two of the most common approaches are FIFO (First In First Out) and LIFO (Last In First Out). Let’s delve into the intricacies of these methods and how they impact your profit calculations.
FIFO – First In First Out
FIFO, as the name suggests, prioritizes the first items received for sale. It’s much like organizing your refrigerator – when you add a new gallon of milk, you place it behind the existing one. This way, you ensure that the products with the earliest expiration dates are sold first.
LIFO – Last In First Out
In contrast, LIFO flips the concept. It places the most recently received items at the top of the sales list. When new stock arrives, it takes precedence over the older items already on the shelves.
However, FIFO and LIFO are more than just organizational techniques; they are tools for Cost Flow Assumption. This term refers to how you calculate your profit based on the cost of goods. To illustrate, let’s say you purchased three identical lawnmowers from different suppliers: one for $199 on Monday, another for $210 on Tuesday, and a third for $220 on Wednesday. By Saturday, you’ve sold two of these lawnmowers. But how do you report the cost of goods when they’re identical, with the same UPC codes, and selling at the same price?
With FIFO, your accounting system assumes you sold the $199 and $210 lawnmowers, reflecting a higher profit margin because you acquired these units at better prices. On the other hand, if you opt for the LIFO method, your records show that you sold the $220 and $210 lawnmowers, resulting in a lower profit margin.
Choosing A Method
Choosing the method that aligns with your business’s needs is crucial, particularly when it comes to tax time. Most small businesses often prefer the method that records the lowest profit to minimize income tax. In contrast, larger public companies may choose the opposite approach to showcase higher profitability, enhancing their share value.
Selecting the right method is more than an accounting decision; it impacts your financial bottom line and future financial success. So, consider your business needs and financial goals when deciding between FIFO and LIFO for your inventory management.
Anchor Solutions offers top-level accounting, tax, and payroll services. Schedule a conversation today!
Deposit just $100 with the stock-trading platform Webull and receive 2 free stocks worth up to $1,850! Second free stock is the more valuable and comes after your $100 funding.Check Out WeBull