!Last In, First Out LIFO Inventory Method Explained

Last In, First Out LIFO Inventory Method Explained

Under LIFO, the company reported a lower gross profit even though the sales price was the same. Now, it may seem counterintuitive for a company to underreport profits. However, by using LIFO, the cost of goods sold is reported at a higher amount, resulting in a lower profit and thus a lower tax. Under IFRS and ASPE, the use of the last-in, first-out method is prohibited. The inventory valuation method is prohibited under IFRS and ASPE due to potential distortions on a company’s profitability and financial statements. When you use the the past, present, and future of forensic accounting during inflation, your high-cost purchases match with the revenues to make sure that business profits have not been overstated.

Implications for Profitability and Gross Profit

Cost of Goods Sold, or COGS, is the amount of money a business pays to produce the number of goods sold in a given period. The products that are left in the warehouse are called remaining inventory. Although a business’s real income and profits are the same, using FIFO or LIFO will result in different reported net income and profits.

LIFO vs. FIFO: Inflation’s Influence

  1. LIFO is used to calculate inventory value when the inventory production or acquisition costs substantially increase year after year, due to inflation or otherwise.
  2. The last in, first out method is used to place an accounting value on inventory.
  3. Therefore, when COGS is lower (as it is under FIFO), a company will report a higher gross income statement.
  4. In this example, the COGS under LIFO would be the sum of the total costs from both inventory layers, which is $275.

As per LIFO, the business dispatches 25 units from Batch 3 (the newest inventory) to the customer. Recently, Jordan purchased 20 sofas at $1,500 each and six months later, another 20 units of the same sofa at $1,700 each. In contrast, using the FIFO method, the $100 widgets are sold first, followed by https://www.business-accounting.net/ the $200 widgets. So, the cost of the widgets sold will be recorded as $900, or five at $100 and two at $200. Regardless of the price you paid for your wire, you chose to keep your selling price stable at $7 per spool of wire. Over the course of the past six months, you have purchased spools of wire.

Leave inventory management to the pros

This also means that the earliest goods (often the least expensive) are reported under the cost of goods sold. Because the expenses are usually lower under the FIFO method, net income is higher, resulting in a potentially higher tax liability. The last-in, first-out (LIFO) method is one of the three inventory cost flow assumptions, alongside the FIFO (first-in, first-out) and average cost methods.


As long as your inventory costs increase over time, you can enjoy substantial tax savings. Last-in, first-out (LIFO) is an inventory valuation method that assumes the most recently acquired or produced items are the first to be sold or used. This approach affects how businesses manage their inventory and helps them to deal with volatile markets. In industries with rapidly changing costs, using LIFO can make a significant difference to the bottom line figures. Adopting this technique requires diligent record-keeping and inventory management systems to ensure accurate tracking of stock at all times.

Companies That Benefit From LIFO Cost Accounting

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. Milagro Corporation decides to use the LIFO method for the month of March. The following table shows the various purchasing transactions for the company’s Elite Roasters product. The quantity purchased on March 1 actually reflects the inventory beginning balance.

In the first scenario, the price of wholesale mugs is rising from 2016 to 2019. In the second scenario, prices are falling between the years 2016 and 2019. GAAP sets accounting standards so that financial statements can be easily compared from company to company.

In a periodic inventory system, you only update the inventory account at the end of the period, such as monthly, semiannually, or annually, after a physical inventory count. 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.

In most cases, businesses will choose an inventory valuation method that matches their real inventory flow. Thus, businesses that choose FIFO will try to sell their oldest products first. The prohibition of LIFO under IFRS is mainly due to concerns about its potential impact on a company’s financial statement. Since the LIFO method matches the latest inventory costs with the most recent sales, it can result in significant fluctuations in reported income based on price changes in the market.

The approach is prohibited under the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Therefore value of inventory using LIFO will be based on outdated prices. This is the reason the use of LIFO method is not allowed for under IAS 2.

The average inventory method usually lands between the LIFO and FIFO method. For example, if LIFO results the lowest net income and the FIFO results in the highest net income, the average inventory method will usually end up between the two. The cost of the remaining 1200 units from the first batch is $4 each for a total of $4,800. Even if you’re using a spreadsheet, adding new layers and modifying existing layers takes a lot of data entry and cleaning up. This is the reason why some prefer the periodic inventory system because of its simplicity.

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