Last in, first out (LIFO)

Tags: Glossary

A common inventory alternative to first in, first out, LIFO assumes that the products created most recently will also be the first to be sold. This system allows older inventory costs to remain on balance sheets, while more recent inventory costs are expensed promptly.

What is Last in, first out (LIFO)?

Last in, first out (LIFO) is a widely used inventory management method that offers an alternative to the traditional first in, first out (FIFO) approach. In simple terms, LIFO assumes that the products or goods that were most recently added to the inventory will be the first ones to be sold or used. This means that the newer inventory costs are expensed promptly, while the older inventory costs remain on the balance sheets.

To understand LIFO better, let's consider an example. Imagine you own a grocery store, and you sell apples. You purchase apples from your supplier at different prices throughout the year. With LIFO, when a customer buys an apple, you assume that the apple they purchased is one of the most recently acquired ones. Therefore, the cost of that apple is based on the most recent purchase price.

The advantage of using LIFO is that it allows businesses to match the most recent costs of inventory with the revenue generated from selling those items. This can be particularly useful in situations where the cost of inventory is increasing over time. By expensing the newer inventory costs promptly, businesses can accurately reflect the current market value of their inventory.

However, it's important to note that LIFO can have some drawbacks as well. One significant disadvantage is that it can result in higher tax liabilities. Since LIFO assumes that the most recently acquired inventory is sold first, the cost of goods sold (COGS) is higher, leading to higher taxable income. This can be problematic in countries where tax regulations do not allow the use of LIFO or have specific rules regarding its implementation.

Another potential drawback of LIFO is that it may not accurately reflect the actual flow of goods in certain industries. For example, in industries where perishable goods are involved, such as food or pharmaceuticals, using LIFO may not be practical. FIFO, on the other hand, ensures that older inventory is used first, reducing the risk of spoilage or obsolescence.

In conclusion, LIFO is an inventory management method that assumes the most recently acquired goods will be the first ones to be sold. It allows businesses to match the most recent inventory costs with the revenue generated from selling those items. While LIFO can be advantageous in certain situations, it's essential to consider the potential drawbacks and evaluate whether it is the most suitable method for a particular business or industry.

Ready to Get Started?

Cargoz provides solution for all your storage needs

Share this Article