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# How To Calculate Ending Inventory Under Specific Identification

August 23, 2023
Bill Kimball

The specific identification method of inventory control is useful for businesses with unique or high-priced products. Unlike the other inventory measurement methods, the specific identification method doesn’t assume all your goods are alike. Accounting Tools recommends a system for distinguishing one inventory item from another, such as sales tags with ID numbers or an RFID tag, when using this method. Even then, the specific identification method is more labor-intensive than other inventory measurement methods. Most companies that use it have small inventories of distinct, high-value items, such as an art gallery or a rare coin dealer. With the weighted average method, you use a pool of cost for all units of a particular stock keeping unit.

Companies most often use the weighted-average method to determine a cost for units that are basically the same. It is an issue that smaller businesses don’t generally face, which is why such companies are the ones that commonly utilize the specific identification method. The chances of losing or misplacing inventory under such a system are almost obliterated because of its accuracy. The average cost and LIFO methods were designed for tracking homogenous goods . If you sell heterogeneous items that can’t be counted together, specific identification is probably the best way to manage inventory. The specific identification inventory valuation method is used to track each purchase and its price individually.

When you have large numbers of nearly identical items, specific identification may not be worth the effort. FIFO assumes that any sale of an item is from the oldest batch on hand, and is relevant when the prices you bought it at fluctuate. Both methods can be used to calculate the inventory amount for the monthly financial statements, or estimate the amount of missing inventory due to theft, fire or other disaster. Either of these methods should never be used as a substitute for performing an annual physical inventory. 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. It requires a detailed physical count, so that the company knows exactly how many of each goods brought on specific dates remained at year-end inventory. When this information is found, the amount of goods is multiplied by their purchase cost at their purchase date, to get a number for the ending inventory cost.

When individual items can be clearly identified with a serial number, stamped receipt date or RFID tag, this method is applicable. The specific identification method relates to inventory valuation, specifically keeping track of each specific item in inventory and assigning costs individually instead of grouping items together. For Jose’s business, one of the more common methods of inventory management, such as weighted average cost, wouldn’t be applicable. The weighted average cost formula would use units 851, 852, and 853 to come up with an average cost for the sale of 851.

Elsewhere, this method is not allowed by the International Financial Reporting Standards . For many businesses, it’s a system that is just too complex to justify using. Getting an accurate picture of your inventory can be a challenge, but it’s important to do so. You need to know how much inventory you have in your business at different times, as well as product-level data about what is selling and what is stalling. The balance sheet amount for inventory is likely to approximate the current market value.

## Boundless Accounting

In theory, this method is the best method because it relates the ending inventory goods directly to the specific price they were bought for. However, management can easily manipulate ending inventory cost, since they can choose to report that cheaper goods were sold first, ultimately raising income. S—such as bar codes and RFID technology—to account for inventory as it is purchased, monitored, and sold.

Therefore, periodic and perpetual inventory procedures produce the same results for the specific identification method. LIFO and weighted average cost flow assumptions may yield different end inventories and COGS in a perpetual inventory system than in a periodic inventory system due to the timing of the calculations. In the perpetual system, some of the oldest units calculated in the periodic units-on-hand ending inventory may get expended during a near inventory exhausting individual sale. In the LIFO system, the weighted average system, and the perpetual system, each sale moves the weighted average, so it is a moving weighted average for each sale. The FIFO (first-in, first-out) method of inventory costing assumes that the costs of the first goods purchased are those charged to cost of goods sold when the company actually sells goods. In some companies, the first units in must be the first units out to avoid large losses from spoilage.

## Example Of The Lifo Method

Figure 10.14 shows the gross margin, resulting from the specific identification perpetual cost allocations of \$7,260. Petersen and Knapp allegedly participated in channel stuffing, which is the process of recognizing and recording revenue in a current period that actually will be legally earned in one or more future fiscal periods. This and other unethical short-term accounting decisions made by Petersen and Knapp led to the bankruptcy of the company they were supposed to oversee and resulted in fraud charges from the SEC. Practicing ethical short-term decision making may have prevented both scenarios. Don’t worry if you end up using a periodic inventory system and the gross profit method to complete your books every quarter. If that’s the right way to go for your business, it will get the job done.

• Figure 10.16 shows the gross margin, resulting from the FIFO perpetual cost allocations of \$7,200.
• Applying LIFO on a perpetual basis during the accounting period, results in different ending inventory and cost of goods sold figures than applying LIFO only at year-end using periodic inventory procedure.
• Let’s take a look at a few examples of the specific identification method and compare its results to those we’d achieve by using other methods.
• Most organizations instead sell products that are essentially interchangeable, and so are more likely to use a FIFO, LIFO, weighted average, or similar system.
• The outcomes for gross margin, under each of these different cost assumptions, is summarized in Figure 10.21.
• Accounting Tools recommends a system for distinguishing one inventory item from another, such as sales tags with ID numbers or an RFID tag, when using this method.

The three main methods for inventory costing are First-in, First-Out , Last-in, Last-Out and Average cost. Because a company using FIFO assumes the older units are sold first and the newer units are still on hand, the ending inventory consists of the most recent purchases. When using periodic inventory procedure to determine the cost of the ending inventory at the end of the period under FIFO, you would begin by listing the cost of the most recent purchase. If the ending inventory contains more units than acquired in the most recent purchase, it also includes units from the next-to-the-latest purchase at the unit cost incurred, and so on. You would list these units from the latest purchases until that number agrees with the units in the ending inventory. Regardless of which cost assumption is chosen, recording inventory sales using the perpetual method involves recording both the revenue and the cost from the transaction for each individual sale. As additional inventory is purchased during the period, the cost of those goods is added to the merchandise inventory account.

This method assumes that inventory purchased or manufactured first is sold first and newer inventory remains unsold. For the specific identification method to suit your retail business, you need to be able to confidently and accurately identify the location, cost, and sale amount of every stock-keeping unit in your inventory.

## What Is Fifo

The second sale of 180 units consisted of 20 units at \$21 per unit and 160 units at \$27 per unit for a total second-sale cost of \$4,740. Thus, after two sales, there remained 10 units of inventory that had cost the company \$21, and 65 units that had cost the company \$27 each. Ending inventory was made up of 10 units at \$21 each, 65 units at \$27 each, and 210 units at \$33 each, for a total specific identification perpetual ending inventory value of \$8,895. A merchandising company can prepare an accurate income statement, statements of retained earnings, and balance sheets only if its inventory is correctly valued. On the income statement, a company using periodic inventory procedure takes a physical inventory to determine the cost of goods sold.

The following is an example of the LIFO inventory costing method (assume the following inventory of Product X[/latex] is on hand and purchased on the following dates). These numbers will need to be estimated, hence reducing the specific identification method’s benefit of being extremely specific. Thus, this method is generally limited to large, high-ticket items which can be easily identified specifically . In theory, this method is the best method, since it relates the ending inventory goods directly to the specific price they were bought for.

As in the company having a vast number of transactions, it is difficult to identify the purchased products, so this method is rarely used. However, this method is rarely used, because there are few purchased products that are clearly identified in a company’s accounting records with a unique identification code. “The benefit is that it’s much easier to track than specific costing because you don’t need to know exactly which batch a sold unit was part of, which is especially helpful when you have many identical units,” says Abir.

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There a two methods to estimate inventory cost the retail inventory method and the gross profit method. Under this procedure, the inventory composition and balance are updated with each purchase and sale. Each time a sale occurs, the items sold are assumed to be the most recent ones acquired. Despite numerous purchases and sales during the year, the ending inventory still includes the units from beginning inventory.

Normally, no significant adjustments are needed at the end of the period since the inventory balance is maintained to continually parallel actual counts. The specific identification method is useful and usable when a company is able to identify, mark, and track each item or unit in its inventory. Figuring the cost of goods sold is simple if you sell dozens of interchangeable items. One non-stick frying pan is much like another, for instance, so you don’t need to tie specific costs to a specific pan.

It requires a detailed physical count, so that the company knows exactly how many of each good bought on specific dates comprise the year-end inventory. When this information is found, the amount of goods are multiplied by their purchase cost at their purchase date, to get a number for the ending inventory cost. A company that might use the specific identification method would be a business that sells fine watches or an art gallery. And the amount received for the sale of the item must be attached to a specific item with some form of a unique identifier that singles it out. The process is incredibly difficult for larger businesses – such as big box stores – to achieve because of the sheer volume that such companies move on a daily basis.

## Construction Management

Companies with expensive low-volume merchandise use the specific identification method because the physical flow of goods is easier to track. The weighted-average method of inventory costing is a means of costing ending inventory using a weighted-average unit cost. Companies most often use the weighted-average method to determine a cost for units that are basically the same, such as identical games in a toy store. Inventory cost flow assumptions are necessary to determine the cost of goods sold and ending inventory. Companies make certain assumptions about which goods are sold and which goods remain in inventory . This is for financial reporting and tax purposes only and does not have to agree with the actual movement of goods . Companies most often use the weighted-average method to determine a cost for units that are basically the same, such as identical games in a toy store or identical electrical tools in a hardware store.

It may also give you a more accurate costing method than the retail method—which doesn’t compensate for discounts or differing margins across SKUs. The retail method provides the ending inventory balance for a store by measuring the cost of inventory relative to the price of the goods. In essence, it determines how much expense to recognize this period versus the next period. The Current Goods Available for Sale is deducted by the amount of goods sold , and the Cost of Current Inventory is deducted by the amount of goods sold times the latest Current Cost per Unit on Goods.

Instead, the important criterion is that the information must be relevant for decisions that managers, operating in a particular environment of business including strategy, make. Cost accounting information is commonly used in financial accounting information, but first we are concentrating on its use by managers to take decisions. The accountants who handle the cost accounting information add value by providing good information to managers who are making decisions.

## Specific Identification Inventory Valuation Method

The total cost of the inventory items at the end of the accounting period gives you the total ending inventory cost. 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. Those who favor LIFO argue that its use leads to a better matching of costs and revenues than the other methods. When a company uses LIFO, the income statement reports both sales revenue and cost of goods sold in current dollars. The resulting gross margin is a better indicator of management ‘s ability to generate income than gross margin computed using FIFO, which may include substantial inventory profits. Companies that use the specific identification method of ‘inventory costing’ state their cost of goods sold and ending inventory as the actual cost of specific units sold and on hand.