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Cost of goods sold (COGS) is the carrying value of goods sold during a particular period.
Costs are associated with particular goods using one of the several formulas, including specific identification, first-in first-out (FIFO), or average cost. Costs include all costs of purchase, costs of conversion and other costs that are incurred in bringing the inventories to their present location and condition. Costs of goods made by the businesses include material, labor, and allocated overhead. The costs of those goods which are not yet sold are deferred as costs of inventory until the inventory is sold or written down in value.
Many businesses sell goods that they have bought or produced. When the goods are bought or produced, the costs associated with such goods are capitalized as part of inventory (or stock) of goods.These costs are treated as an expense in the period the business recognizes income from sale of the goods.
Determining costs requires keeping records of goods or materials purchased and any discounts on such purchase. In addition, if the goods are modified,the business must determine the costs incurred in modifying the goods. Such modification costs include labor, supplies or additional material, supervision, quality control and use of equipment. Principles for determining costs may be easily stated, but application in practice is often difficult due to a variety of considerations in the allocation of costs.
Cost of goods sold may also reflect adjustments. Among the potential adjustments are decline in value of the goods (i.e., lower market value than cost), obsolescence, damage, etc.
When multiple goods are bought or made, it may be necessary to identify which costs relate to which particular goods sold. This may be done using an identification convention, such as specific identification of the goods, first-in-first-out (FIFO), or average cost. Alternative systems may be used in some countries, such as last-in-first-out (LIFO), gross profit method, retail method, or combinations of these.
Cost of goods sold may be the same or different for accounting and tax purposes, depending on the rules of the particular jurisdiction. Certain expenses are included in COGS. Expenses that are included in COGS cannot be deducted again as a business expense. COGS expenses include:
Inventories have a significant effect on profits. A business that makes or buys goods to sell must keep track of inventories of goods under all accounting and income tax rules. An example illustrates why. Fred buys auto parts and resells them. In 2008, Fred buys $100 worth of parts. He sells parts for $80 that he bought for $30, and has $70 worth of parts left. In 2009, he sells the remainder of the parts for $180. If he keeps track of inventory, his profit in 2008 is $50, and his profit in 2009 is $110, or $160 in total. If he deducted all the costs in 2008, he would have a loss of $20 in 2008 and a profit of $180 in 2009. The total is the same, but the timing is much different. Most countries' accounting and income tax rules (if the country has an income tax) require the use of inventories for all businesses that regularly sell goods they have made or bought.
Cost of goods purchased for resale includes purchase price as well as all other costs of acquisitions,excluding any discounts.
Additional costs may include freight paid to acquire the goods, customs duties, sales or use taxes not recoverable paid on materials used, and fees paid for acquisition. For financial reporting purposes such period costs as purchasing department, warehouse, and other operating expenses are usually not treated as part of inventory or cost of goods sold. For U.S. income tax purposes, some of these period costs must be capitalized as part of inventory.Costs of selling, packing, and shipping goods to customers are treated as operating expenses related to the sale. Both International and U.S. accounting standards require that certain abnormal costs, such as those associated with idle capacity, must be treated as expenses rather than part of inventory.
Discounts that must be deducted from the costs of purchased inventory are the following:
Value added tax is generally not treated as part of cost of goods sold if it may be used as an input credit or is otherwise recoverable from the taxing authority.
The cost of goods produced in the business should include all costs of production.The key components of cost generally include:
Most businesses make more than one of a particular item. Thus, costs are incurred for multiple items rather than a particular item sold. Determining how much of each of these components to allocate to particular goods requires either tracking the particular costs or making some allocations of costs. Parts and raw materials are often tracked to particular sets (e.g., batches or production runs) of goods, then allocated to each item.
Labor costs include direct labor and indirect labor. Direct labor costs are the wages paid to those employees who spend all their time working directly on the product being manufactured. Indirect labor costs are the wages paid to other factory employees involved in production. Costs of payroll taxes and fringe benefits are generally included in labor costs, but may be treated as overhead costs. Labor costs may be allocated to an item or set of items based on timekeeping records.
Costs of materials include direct raw materials, as well as supplies and indirect materials. Where non-incidental amounts of supplies are maintained, the taxpayer must keep inventories of the supplies for income tax purposes, charging them to expense or cost of goods sold as used rather than as purchased.
Materials and labor may be allocated based on past experience, or standard costs. Where materials or labor costs for a period fall short of or exceed the expected amount of standard costs, a variance is recorded. Such variances are then allocated among cost of goods sold and remaining inventory at the end of the period.
Determining overhead costs often involves making assumptions about what costs should be associated with production activities and what costs should be associated with other activities. Traditional cost accounting methods attempt to make these assumptions based on past experience and management judgment as to factual relationships. Activity based costing attempts to allocate costs based on those factors that drive the business to incur the costs.
Overhead costs are often allocated to sets of produced goods based on the ratio of labor hours or costs or the ratio of materials used for producing the set of goods. Overhead costs may be referred to as factory overhead or factory burden for those costs incurred at the plant level or overall burden for those costs incurred at the organization level. Where labor hours are used, a burden rate or overhead cost per hour of labor may be added along with labor costs. Other methods may be used to associate overhead costs with particular goods produced. Overhead rates may be standard rates, in which case there may be variances, or may be adjusted for each set of goods produced.
In some cases, the cost of goods sold may be identified with the item sold. Ordinarily, however, the identity of goods is lost between the time of purchase or manufacture and the time of sale.Determining which goods have been sold, and the cost of those goods, requires either identifying the goods or using a convention to assume which goods were sold. This may be referred to as a cost flow assumption or inventory identification assumption or convention. The following methods are available in many jurisdictions for associating costs with goods sold and goods still on hand:
Jane owns a business that resells machines. At the start of 2009, she has no machines or parts on hand. She buys machines A and B for 10 each, and later buys machines C and D for 12 each. All the machines are the same, but they have serial numbers. Jane sells machines A and C for 20 each. Her cost of goods sold depends on her inventory method. Under specific identification, the cost of goods sold is 10 + 12, the particular costs of machines A and C. If she uses FIFO, her costs are 20 (10+10). If she uses average cost, her costs are 22 ( (10+10+12+12)/4 x 2). If she uses LIFO, her costs are 24 (12+12). Thus, her profit for accounting and tax purposes may be 20, 18, or 16, depending on her inventory method. After the sales, her inventory values are either 20, 22 or 24.
After year end, Jane decides she can make more money by improving machines B and D. She buys and uses 10 of parts and supplies, and it takes 6 hours at 2 per hour to make the improvements to each machine. Jane has overhead, including rent and electricity. She calculates that the overhead adds 0.5 per hour to her costs. Thus, Jane has spent 20 to improve each machine (10/2 + 12 + (6 x 0.5) ). She sells machine D for 45. Her cost for that machine depends on her inventory method. If she used FIFO, the cost of machine D is 12 plus 20 she spent improving it, for a profit of 13. Remember, she used up the two 10 cost items already under FIFO. If she uses average cost, it is 11 plus 20, for a profit of 14. If she used LIFO, the cost would be 10 plus 20 for a profit of 15.
In year 3, Jane sells the last machine for 38 and quits the business. She recovers the last of her costs. Her total profits for the three years are the same under all inventory methods. Only the timing of income and the balance of inventory differ. Here is a comparison under FIFO, Average Cost, and LIFO:
|Cost of Goods Sold||------ Profit ------|
The value of goods held for sale by a business may decline due to a number of factors. The goods may prove to be defective or below normal quality standards (subnormal). The goods may become obsolete. The market value of the goods may simply decline due to economic factors.
Where the market value of goods has declined for whatever reasons, the business may choose to value its inventory at the lower of cost or market value, also known as net realizable value .This may be recorded by accruing an expense (i.e., creating an inventory reserve) for declines due to obsolescence, etc. Current period net income as well as net inventory value at the end of the period is reduced for the decline in value.
Any property held by a business may decline in value or be damaged by unusual events, such as a fire. The loss of value where the goods are destroyed is accounted for as a loss, and the inventory is fully written off. Generally, such loss is recognized for both financial reporting and tax purposes. However, book and tax amounts may differ under some systems.
Alternatives to traditional cost accounting have been proposed by various management theorists. These include:
None of these views conform to U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles or International Accounting Standards, nor are any accepted for most income or other tax reporting purposes.
Cost accounting is defined as "a systematic set of procedures for recording and reporting measurements of the cost of manufacturing goods and performing services in the aggregate and in detail. It includes methods for recognizing, classifying, allocating, aggregating and reporting such costs and comparing them with standard costs." (IMA) Often considered a subset of managerial accounting, its end goal is to advise the management on how to optimize business practices and processes based on cost efficiency and capability. Cost accounting provides the detailed cost information that management needs to control current operations and plan for the future.
FIFO and LIFO accounting are methods used in managing inventory and financial matters involving the amount of money a company has to have tied up within inventory of produced goods, raw materials, parts, components, or feedstocks. They are used to manage assumptions of costs related to inventory, stock repurchases, and various other accounting purposes.
In accounting, an economic item's historical cost is the original nominal monetary value of that item. Historical cost accounting involves reporting assets and liabilities at their historical costs, which are not updated for changes in the items' values. Consequently, the amounts reported for these balance sheet items often differ from their current economic or market values.
Inventory or stock is the goods and materials that a business holds for the ultimate goal of resale.
In accountancy, depreciation refers to two aspects of the same concept: first, the actual decrease in value of fair value of an asset, such as the decrease in value of factory equipment each year as it is used and wears, and second, the allocation in accounting statements of the original cost of the assets to periods in which the assets are used.
Tax deduction is a reduction of income that is able to be taxed and is commonly a result of expenses, particularly those incurred to produce additional income. Tax deductions are a form of tax incentives, along with exemptions and credits. The difference between deductions, exemptions and credits is that deductions and exemptions both reduce taxable income, while credits reduce tax.
An income statement or profit and loss account is one of the financial statements of a company and shows the company’s revenues and expenses during a particular period.
In business and accounting, net income is a measure of the profitability of a venture. It is an entity's income minus cost of goods sold, expenses, depreciation and amortization, interest, and taxes for an accounting period. It is computed as the residual of all revenues and gains over all expenses and losses for the period, and has also been defined as the net increase in shareholders' equity that results from a company's operations. It is different from the gross income, which only deducts the cost of goods sold.
The revenue recognition principle is a cornerstone of accrual accounting together with the matching principle. They both determine the accounting period in which revenues and expenses are recognized. According to the principle, revenues are recognized when they are realized or realizable, and are earned, no matter when cash is received. In cash accounting – in contrast – revenues are recognized when cash is received no matter when goods or services are sold.
In accrual accounting, the revenue recognition principle states that expenses should be recorded during the period in which they are incurred, regardless of when the transfer of cash occurs. Conversely, cash basis accounting calls for the recognition of an expense when the cash is paid, regardless of when the expense was actually incurred.
Operating (Operational) costs are the expenses which are related to the operation of a business, or to the operation of a device, component, piece of equipment or facility. They are the cost of resources used by an organization just to maintain its existence.
In business, overhead or overhead expense refers to an ongoing expense of operating a business. Overheads are the expenditure which cannot be conveniently traced to or identified with any particular cost unit, unlike operating expenses such as raw material and labor. Therefore, overheads cannot be immediately associated with the products or services being offered, this do not directly generate profits. However, overheads are still vital to business operations as they provide critical support for the business to carry out profit making activities. For example, overhead costs such as the rent for a factory allows workers to manufacture products which can then be sold for a profit. Such expenses are incurred for output generally and not for particular work order; e.g., wages paid to watch and ward staff, heating and lighting expenses of factory, etc. Overheads are also very important cost element along with direct materials and direct labor.
Lower of cost or market is a conservative approach to valuing and reporting inventory. Normally, ending inventory is stated at historical cost. However, there are times when the original cost of the ending inventory is greater than the net realizable value, and thus the inventory has lost value. If the inventory has decreased in value below historical cost, then its carrying value is reduced and reported on the balance sheet. The criterion for reporting this is the current market value. Any loss resulting from the decline in the value of inventory is charged to "Cost of goods sold" (COGS) if non-material, or "Loss on the reduction of inventory to LCM" if material.
Job costing is accounting which tracks the costs and revenues by "job" and enables standardized reporting of profitability by job. For an accounting system to support job costing, it must allow job numbers to be assigned to individual items of expenses and revenues. A job can be defined to be a specific project done for one customer, or a single unit of product manufactured, or a batch of units of the same type that are produced together.
Specific identification is a method of finding out ending inventory cost.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to accounting:
An inventory valuation allows a company to provide a monetary value for items that make up their inventory. Inventories are usually the largest current asset of a business, and proper measurement of them is necessary to assure accurate financial statements. If inventory is not properly measured, expenses and revenues cannot be properly matched and a company could make poor business decisions.
This article lists some of the important requirements of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
Under the 'Average Cost Method', it is assumed that the cost of inventory is based on the average cost of the goods available for sale during the period.
IAS 2 is an international financial reporting standard produced and disseminated by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) to provide guidance on the valuation and classification of inventories.