Last-In First-Out LIFO Method

Both the LIFO and FIFO methods are permitted under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). As a result, LIFO isn’t practical for many companies that sell perishable goods and doesn’t accurately reflect the logical production process of using the oldest inventory first. If Kelly’s Flower Shop uses LIFO, it will calculate COGS based on the price of the items it purchased in March. In contrast, using the FIFO method, the $100 widgets are sold first, followed by the $200 widgets. So, the cost of the widgets sold will be recorded as $900, or five at $100 and two at $200.

  1. First, you’ll calculate your cost of goods sold using the LIFO method.
  2. Considering that deflation is the item’s price decrease through time, you will see a smaller COGS with the LIFO method.
  3. For example, consider a company with a beginning inventory of 100 calculators at a unit cost of $5.
  4. When setting up your business accounting, LIFO is one option you can use for estimating costs and inventory values.
  5. However, the cost of ending inventory presented in the balance sheet presents older costs.

To arrive at COGS, we first determine the cost of ending inventory. Let’s explore the LIFO method and discover if this is the best fit for your inventory needs. You can learn about other methods of tracking inventory costs in our guide to cost of goods sold (COGS). Besides minimizing tax obligations, LIFO can also wreak havoc on inventory valuations when an industry is experiencing strong inflation or declining values. For example, if the replacement cost of a business’s inventory exceeds its LIFO value, a business risks undervaluing its inventory when filing small business taxes. To calculate the cost of sales, we need to deduct the value of ending inventory calculated above from the total amount of purchases.

There are many reasons why you’d do this, and we’ll get into those next. LIFO is an assumption about cost flow that doesn’t have to match the actual physical flow of goods. In the illustration above, it’s OK if the four physical paddles in beginning inventory were sold during the year. A company can still assign costs to ending inventory assuming the four paddles are still physically in the inventory. According to the perpetual timeline, the only sale made during the month is from the opening inventory which means that the ending inventory is entirely based on the 3 units purchased during the month.

Besides, inventory turnover will be much higher as it will have higher COGS and smaller inventory. Also, all the current asset-related ratios will be affected because of the change in inventory value. If you use our LIFO calculator, you will see the result is 144 USD. Amid the ongoing LIFO vs. FIFO debate in accounting, deciding which method to use is not always easy.

Why Would You Use LIFO?

LIFO, also known as “last in, first out,” assumes the most recent items entered into your inventory will be the ones to sell first. The inventory valuation method you choose will depend on your tax situation, inventory flow and record keeping requirements. The last-in, first-out method is an inventory cost flow assumption allowed in by US GAAP and income tax laws. The LIFO method proponents argue that the LIFO method improves the matching of revenues and replacement costs. However, the cost of ending inventory presented in the balance sheet presents older costs. More importantly, users of the LIFO method say that using LIFO gives them tax savings since they report a lower taxable income.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Using the LIFO Method

The cost of inventory can have a significant impact on your profitability, which is why it’s important to understand how much you spend on it. With an inventory accounting method, such as last-in, first-out (LIFO), you can do just that. Below, we’ll dive deeper into LIFO method to help you decide if it makes sense for your small business. Most companies that use LIFO are those that are forced to maintain a large amount of inventory at all times. By offsetting sales income with their highest purchase prices, they produce less taxable income on paper. Last in, first out (LIFO) is a method used to account for business inventory that records the most recently produced items in a series as the ones that are sold first.

How to calculate ending inventory by LIFO

As you can see from these sample calculations, the method of inventory accounting you choose affects your cost of goods sold, profit, and inventory value. Unlike LIFO, the FIFO method is allowed under both GAAP and IFRS, so it can be used for reporting both in the U.S. and outside it. In our last transaction above, we withdraw inventory costs from three different layers.


In other words, the seafood company would never leave their oldest inventory sitting idle since the food could spoil, leading to losses. Since LIFO expenses the newest costs, there is better matching on the income statement. The revenue from the sale of inventory is matched with the cost of the more recent inventory cost.

This method is banned under the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the accounting rules followed in the European Union (EU), Japan, Russia, Canada, India, and many other countries. The U.S. is the only country that allows last in, first out (LIFO) because it adheres to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). For example, a company that sells seafood products would not realistically use their newly-acquired inventory first in selling and shipping their products.

The remaining unsold 450 would remain on the balance sheet as inventory for $1,275. The total cost of goods sold for the sale of 350 units would be $1,700. LIFO reserve refers to the amount by wave app invoicing which your business’s taxable income has been reduced as compared to the FIFO method. On Dec 31, Brad looks through the store sales and realizes that Brad’s Books has sold 450 books to-date.

You can also check FIFO and LIFO calculators at the Omni Calculator website to learn what happens in inflationary/deflationary environments. A $40 profit differential wouldn’t make a significant difference to your bottom line. For the sake of simplicity, we kept the numbers in the example small. The LIFO system is founded on the assumption that the latest items to be stored are the first items to be sold. It is a recommended technique for businesses dealing in products that are not perishable or ones that don’t face the risk of obsolescence. Finally, we have the fourth method, which is specific inventory tracing, a.k.a. the specific identification method.

Which one is better FIFO or LIFO?

However, the way of computation may differ if you’re using the periodic inventory vs perpetual inventory system. Hence, the cost of ending inventory is $192, composed of four units in beginning inventory (4 units x $38 each) and one unit from purchases (1 x $40 each). Using LIFO, when that first shipment worth $4,000 sold, it is assumed to be the merchandise from March, which cost $3,000, leaving you with $1,000 profit. The next shipment to sell would be the February lot under LIFO, leaving you with $2,000 profit.

For example, on January 6, a total of 14 units were sold, but none were acquired. This means that all units that were sold that day came from the previous day’s inventory balance. Calculate the value of ending inventory, cost of sales, and gross profit for Lynda’s first six days of business based on the LIFO Method. The inventory process at the end of a year determines cost of goods sold (COGS) for a business, which will be included on your business tax return.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.