She noted that the differences come when you’re determining which goods you’re going to say you sold. Regular audits are key to verifying the accuracy of your inventory records and detecting any discrepancies. Schedule routine audits to reconcile physical inventory counts with recorded quantities in your system. Identify and address any inconsistencies promptly to prevent inventory inaccuracies from impacting your financial reporting. Learn more about what types of businesses use FIFO, real-life examples of FIFO, and the relevance of FIFO with frequently asked questions about the FIFO method. Going by the FIFO method, Sal needs to go by the older costs (of acquiring his inventory) first.

What’s the difference between FIFO and LIFO?

  1. This process ensures that older products are sold before they perish or become obsolete, thereby avoiding lost profit.
  2. Rather, every unit of inventory is assigned a value that corresponds to the price at which it was purchased from the supplier or manufacturer at a specific point in time.
  3. It offers more accurate calculations and it’s much easier to manage than LIFO.

In other words, the older inventory, which was cheaper, would be sold later. In an inflationary environment, the current COGS would be higher under LIFO because the new inventory would be more expensive. As a result, the company would record lower profits or net income for the period. However, the reduced profit or earnings means the company would benefit from a lower tax liability.

Why is choosing a method of inventory valuation important?

LIFO supporters claim this upward trend in prices leads to inventory, or paper, profits if the FIFO method is used. During periods of inflation, LIFO shows the largest cost of goods sold of any of the costing methods because the newest costs charged to cost of goods sold are also the highest costs. As well, the LIFO method may not actually represent the true cost a company paid for its product.

LIFO and FIFO: Financial Reporting

Specific inventory tracing is an inventory valuation method that tracks the value of every individual piece of inventory. This method is usually used by businesses that sell a very small collection of highly unique products, such as art pieces. As you can see, the FIFO method of inventory valuation results in slightly lower COGS, higher ending inventory value, and higher profits. This makes the FIFO method ideal for brands looking to represent growth in their financials. The average cost method, on the other hand, is best for brands that don’t see the cost of materials or goods increasing over time, as it is more straightforward to calculate. FIFO is a widely used method to account for the cost of inventory in your accounting system.


First, we add the number of inventory units purchased in the left column along with its unit cost. In this lesson, I explain the FIFO method, how you can use it to calculate the cost of ending inventory, and the difference between periodic and perpetual FIFO systems. The FIFO method of inventory management aligns new orders with oldest inventory to ship first to decrease distribution of outdated or expired goods. Since First-In First-Out expenses the oldest costs (from the beginning of inventory), there is poor matching on the income statement. For example, say a business bought 100 units of inventory for $5 apiece, and later on bought 70 more units at $12 apiece.

Con: Higher taxes

If you sell online, most POS systems like Shopify will track inventory for you. If you’re wanting to try it for yourself, there are free templates available online. If you’re ready to try out a dedicated inventory system, Zoho Inventory is free to start. Using the FIFO method makes it more difficult to manipulate financial statements, which is why it’s required under the International Financial Reporting Standards. Depending upon your jurisdiction, your business may be required to use FIFO for inventory valuation.

Both the LIFO and FIFO methods are permitted under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). But when using the first in, first out method, Bertie’s ending inventory value is higher than her Cost of Goods Sold from the trade show. Jami Gong is a Chartered Professional Account and Financial System Consultant.

Regularly review and refine your FIFO procedures to ensure they align with evolving business needs and industry standards. Queueing theory encompasses these methods for processing small business tax preparation checklist data structures, as well as interactions between strict-FIFO queues. No, the LIFO inventory method is not permitted under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

By using the FIFO method, you would calculate the COGS by multiplying the cost of the oldest inventory units with the number of units sold. For inventory tracking purposes and accurate fulfillment, ShipBob uses a lot tracking system that includes a lot feature, allowing you to separate items based on their lot numbers. FIFO, on the other hand, is the most common inventory valuation method in most countries, accepted by IFRS International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation (IRFS) regulations. If suppliers or manufacturers suddenly raise the price of raw materials or goods, a business may find significant discrepancies between their recorded vs. actual costs and profits. If product costs triple but accountants use values from months or years back, profits will take a hit. Check out our guide to the top inventory management software solutions to get started.

Clearly define roles and responsibilities, establish protocols for labeling inventory, conducting audits, and resolving discrepancies. SOPs serve as a reference guide for your staff, ensuring consistency and efficiency in FIFO implementation. Cost basis reporting for noncovered shares will be sent to you alone; it will not be sent to the IRS. Shares bought before the regulatory changes took effect on January 1, 2012 (or January 1, 2011, for stocks). For all other noncovered shares, we’ll first sell the shares for which we don’t have an acquisition date, followed by the shares with the earliest acquisition date. As with mutual fund shares, we’ll report the basis of the noncovered shares to you, if we know it, but won’t send it to the IRS.

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