Inventory Valuation

What is Inventory Valuation?

Inventory Valuation Methods refers to the methodology used to value the inventory of the company (LIFO, FIFO, a weighted average) that impacts the cost of goods sold as well as ending as the inventory and therefore, has a financial impact on bottom-line numbers as well as cash flow situation of the company.

Top 3 Types of Inventory Valuation Methods in Accounting

There are three main types/methods by which inventory management calculations can be done:


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For eg:
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#1 – FIFOFIFO inventoryFIFO InventoryUnder the FIFO method of accounting inventory valuation, the goods that are purchased first are the first to be removed from the inventory account. As a result, leftover inventory at books is valued at the most recent price paid for the most recent stock of inventory. As a result, the inventory asset on the balance sheet is recorded at the most recent more stands for first in first out. It simply means that the goods should be sold in the order they were purchased. Good produce first should be sold first, and this is the order in which the cost of goods sold and inventory should be calculated.

#2 – LIFOLIFO inventoryLIFO InventoryLIFO (Last In First Out) is one accounting method for inventory valuation on the balance sheet. LIFO accounting means inventory acquired at last would be used up or sold more stands for Last in First out and is conceptually opposite to FIFO. Simply put, the goods purchased recently should be sold first while the goods purchased first should be sold last.

#3 – Weighted average – Weighted average inventory calculation, as the name suggests, calculates the weighted average of the whole inventory irrespective of the order in which it was placed.

Mathematically, it can be expressed as:

Weighted Average = Total Cost of Goods in Inventory / Total Units of Goods

Example of Inventory Valuation Methods

Following is the example of inventory valuation methods in accounting.

You can download this Inventory Valuation Methods Excel Template here – Inventory Valuation Methods Excel Template

Consider the case of a garment manufacturer who buys suits through 2 transactions:

  • 500 suits at £ 25 each
  • 300 suits at £ 30 each

Also, assume that there were 400 suits sold at the end of the month.


Considering the suits bought first were sold first:

Inventory Valuation Methods Example 1.1


In LIFO, it is assumed that the goods recently purchased are sold first.


Inventory Valuation Methods Example 1
  • Cost of Goods sold:  300 * £ 30 + 100 * £ 25 = 9000 +  2500 = £ 11,250
  • Remaining Inventory: 400 * £ 25 = £ 10,000

Weighted Average Cost

In the WAC method, both costs of goods sold and the remaining inventory are calculated based on the weighted average cost.

Inventory Valuation Methods Example 1.2
  • Weighted Average = (500 * 25 + 300 * 30)/ 800 = 26.875
  • Cost of Goods Sold: 400 * 26.875 = £ 10,750
  • Remaining Inventory : 400 * 26.875 = £ 10,750

Refer to the excel sheet given above for detailed calculation.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Inventory Valuation Methods

Advantages of FIFO

  • First in First out is the most intuitive and easiest of the three mechanisms to apply. Most of the time, it is applied by default in the small scale shops and retail outlets. There would be businesses that will not be aware they are using this mechanism to assess their inventory in their workshops and warehouses.
  • Because of its simplicity and intuitiveness, it is difficult to manipulate and hence avoid any suspicion.
  • Since FIFO prices inventory in the order they were purchased and sold, most often than not, the price calculated matches the actual costing involved.
  • Another advantage is its simplicity because the costs match the actual cash flow and the physical flow of goods across the warehouse.
  • Purchases made at the end of the period under consideration does not affect the revenue calculations as the input cost is calculated based on the order in which these goods were produced.

Disadvantages of FIFO

Advantages of LIFO

Disadvantages of LIFO

  • LIFO is a difficult method to implement as it can lead to older inventory getting stocked up while the new inventory gets sold. It can be dangerous with regard to perishable goods and lead to huge wastage, thereby increasing the costs and decrease in revenues.
  • Many accounting regulators, including US GAAP, do not approve of the LIFO method of inventory valuation. Hence there is a country and regulatory risk involved.

Advantages of Weighed Average

  • Weighted average calculation is a very systematic and scientific way of evaluating inventory across all three methods. It is unaffected by when goods were purchased and when they were sold. The only thing that matters is at what price these transactions were done, and ideally, that’s what should matter. Hence it is easy to implement, hassle-free to maintain, and simple to audit.
  • Like FIFO and unlike LIFO, it is difficult to manipulate.
  • This method is best utilized when the goods under consideration are difficult to differentiate, and it does not matter how they were sourced into the warehouse.

Disadvantages of Weighted Average

  • Difficult to implement when the inventory consists of goods which are easily differentiable.
  • Most often than not, due to the complex calculation involved, the cost of inventory does not match the current market price of the goods and may raise suspicion.


Inventory valuation is important because of the impact it has on the financial numbers of the firm. One should do a proper analysis and due diligence before selecting and implementing the valuation method as once selected; it cannot be changed mid-way.

This article has been a guide to Inventory Valuation Methods. Here we discuss the top 3 methods of inventory valuation in accounting (LIFO, FIFO & Weighted Average) along with examples. You can learn more about financing from the following articles –

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