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Introduction to FIFO

First-in, first-out (FIFO) is a method used for assessing a company’s inventory value based on the order in which items were acquired or produced. This approach is crucial in determining the cost of goods sold (COGS) when items are sold.

Business Operations Overview

Typically, businesses buy inventory, enhance it through production, and sell the final goods for a profit. This involves cash transactions or credit, recorded as accounts payable. The cost of producing these goods is termed COGS, impacting the overall profit.

FIFO Method Explained

FIFO assumes that the first items a company sells are the earliest inventory acquired. The remaining inventory, therefore, comprises items produced or purchased later. This method contrasts with alternatives like average inventory or last-in, first-out (LIFO).

Using FIFO for Ending Inventory Calculation

To calculate ending inventory using FIFO, accountants record the units and prices of each batch separately. The total inventory value is the sum of these quantities multiplied by their respective prices. Subtracting the sold items gives the ending inventory value.

Applying FIFO to COGS Calculation

Once the sold items are identified, FIFO deducts them from the inventory. The assumption is that the first items sold are the first ones acquired. For example, if 100 units were acquired at $10 and 50 units at $15, selling 150 units results in a COGS of $1750.

Utilizing the FIFO Calculator

To use the FIFO calculator:

  1. Input acquisition prices and quantities for each inventory batch.
  2. Specify the quantity of inventory to be sold.
  3. The calculator displays the remaining inventory and resulting COGS.

Impact of FIFO on Taxable Profits

The COGS recorded affects taxable profits. Higher COGS lowers profitability, reducing taxes, while lower COGS increases profit margins and tax liabilities.

FIFO’s Influence on Financial Ratios

FIFO directly impacts ending inventory values, affecting financial ratios. During inflation, ending inventory tends to be higher, influencing ratios like current ratio, cash conversion cycle, inventory turnover, and more.

Effect of Deflation on FIFO Calculation

Conversely, in deflationary periods, FIFO results in lower ending inventory values, impacting various financial ratios.


Understanding FIFO’s role in inventory valuation is crucial for accurate financial reporting and analysis. It not only influences COGS and taxable profits but also shapes financial ratios, providing insights into a company’s financial health.


  1. How to calculate ending inventory using FIFO? Follow steps such as recording unit quantities and prices, calculating total inventory value, noting sold items, and deducting them to determine the ending inventory value using FIFO.
  2. How to calculate COGS using FIFO? Subtract the sold items from the initial inventory acquisition, considering the order of purchase, to calculate COGS using FIFO.
  3. How does inflation affect FIFO ending inventory calculation? Inflation increases prices over time, causing FIFO ending inventory values to be higher due to retaining more expensive items.
  4. Which financial ratios does FIFO ending inventory calculation affect? FIFO affects ratios involving inventories, current assets, and total assets, including current ratio, cash conversion cycle, inventory turnover, and more.
  5. How does deflation affect FIFO ending inventory calculation? Deflation decreases prices, resulting in lower FIFO ending inventory values as cheaper items are assumed to be sold first.