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# What is difference between retail method vs. cost method of accounting?

What is difference between retail method vs. cost method of accounting?

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• # Retail Vs. Cost Inventory Accounting

by William Pirraglia Retail Accounting vs. Cost Accounting
• 2Retail Accounting Basics
• 3Reporting Work in Process Inventory With FIFO
• 4Accounting & Inventory
• Estimating and costing inventory is an important function in manufacturing and retailing. Most manufacturing or assembly organizations use the original cost of materials to report inventory. Since these companies do not typically sell to end consumers, the retail value of their inventory, from raw materials through work-in-process to finished goods, is an unknown factor. Retailers such as Wal-Mart, for example, usually value their inventory at retail. The differences in value can be enormous, depending on the markup retailers use beyond the wholesale cost of their inventory.

## Inventory at Cost Methods

Three primary methods are used to value inventory on hand: FIFO (first in, first out), LIFO (last in first out) and weighted average cost. The most common method, widely used by smaller companies, is FIFO. In most manufacturing operations, the materials that are the oldest are often used to create finished products. Some operations, particularly high-tech facilities, may use their most recent component purchases to produce finished goods, indicating the use of LIFO for accounting valuation..

## Weighted Average Inventory Cost

Those companies having a diverse mix of pricing for materials often find the weighted average method most effective. This method multiplies materials cost by the number of pieces on hand. These totals are added together. The result is then divided by the number of weighted price categories to arrive at a weighted inventory cost level. For example, the company has 1,000 pieces at \$2 each, 2,000 pieces at \$2.75 each, and 4,000 pieces at \$3 each. One inventory category equals \$2,000, another equals \$5,500, and the third equals \$12,000. Together they equal an inventory of \$19,500, or a value of \$2.79 per piece.