What Is Inventory Valuation And Why Is It Important

Farwah Jafri | March 10 2023

What Is Inventory Valuation   

Inventory valuation determines the value of a company’s inventory or stock at a particular time. This valuation is important for financial reporting as it informs the company owners about its assets, cost of goods sold (COGS), and profitability.

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What are inventory valuation methods?

Inventory valuation assigns value to a business’s goods and material in stock. There are different methods including:

First-In-First-Out (FIFO) 

This method assumes that the oldest items are sold first, and the newest items remain in inventory. The cost of the oldest items is used to determine the cost of goods sold. But the cost of the newest items is used to calculate the value of ending inventory.

Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) 

Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) is a  popular inventory evaluation method businesses use to calculate the cost of goods sold (COGS) and the value of ending inventory. Under this method, the most recent inventory items purchased or produced are assumed to be sold first, while the older items are considered to remain in inventory.

The LIFO method assumes that prices of inventory items rise over time, and therefore, the cost of goods sold is based on the current cost of inventory items. As a result, businesses using LIFO tend to have a lower net income and higher cost of goods sold than businesses using the First-In-First-Out (FIFO) method during inflation or rising prices.

Weighted Average Cost 

Weighted Average Cost (WAC) method is used by businesses to determine the value of their inventory. Under this method, the cost of each item in inventory is weighted according to the quantity of the item.

To know the WAC, divide the total cost of all items in the inventory by the total number of items. It gives the average cost per unit, which is then multiplied by the number of units sold to determine the cost of goods sold.

The WAC method is useful for businesses that sell many products with similar costs. This method can lead to distortions in if there are significant changes in inventory cost over time.

Specific Identification 

Specific identification is a method of inventory evaluation that involves identifying and tracking the cost of each item in the inventory. This method is often used for businesses that sell unique or high-value items, such as jewelry or artwork, where each item has a specific cost.

Under the specific identification method, a business can determine the cost of goods sold by identifying the cost of the specific items sold during a given accounting period. This method requires careful record-keeping and tracking of each item’s cost, which can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. However, it can also provide a more accurate reflection of the business’s inventory value and cost of goods sold.

What is the significance of Inventory valuation?  

It can significantly impact a company’s financial statements, that includes its balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statements.

Proper inventory valuation is essential for accurate financial reporting and can help companies make informed decisions about their operations and future growth.

It is significant for several reasons:

Helps determine income 

The inventory value calculates the cost of goods sold (COGS), subtracted from revenue, to determine gross profit. Accurate inventory valuation ensures that COGS is properly calculated, affecting net income.

Helps financial position 

Inventory is known as an asset of a company’s balance sheet, and its value affects its financial position. Accurate inventory valuation ensures the inventory value is properly reflected on the balance sheet.

Liquidity analysis

Inventory is also a factor in liquidity analysis, which measures a company’s ability to meet its short-term responsibilities. Overvalued inventory can make a company appear more convertible than it is, while undervalued inventory can make it appear less convertible in.

Statutory compliance

Accurate inventory valuation is required for statutory compliance and tax reporting. Companies must follow accounting standards and regulations when valuing inventory, and failure to comply can result in penalties and fines.


It is important for tax reporting purposes. In some countries, inventory valuation methods such as LIFO or FIFO can have significant tax implications. Accurate inventory valuation ensures that the company pays the right amount of taxes.


It also helps in decision-making related to inventory management, production planning, and pricing strategies. Accurate inventory valuation ensures the company has a clear picture of its inventory and value.

Basic principles of inventory valuation 

Cost principle

The cost principle states that inventory should be valued at the cost of acquiring or producing the items. It means that the cost of purchase, production, and other costs associated with bringing the inventory to its present location and condition should be included in the inventory valuation.

Consistency principle

The consistency principle states that a company should consistently use the same inventory valuation method from one accounting period to the next. A company should only switch between different inventory valuation methods for valid reasons.

Conservatism principle

The conservatism principle states that a company should be cautious when valuing its inventory. It means that if there is any uncertainty about the value of the inventory, the company should choose the lower value. It helps to ensure that the financial statements are balanced, which could mislead investors and other stakeholders.

Objectivity principle

The objectivity principle states that inventory valuation should be based on objective and verifiable data. The company should have reliable inventory cost records and other relevant information to support the valuation.

Materiality principle

The materiality principle states that the inventory valuation should be based on the accordance of the inventory. It means that the company should focus on the items that significantly impact the financial statements rather than valuing every item in inventory.

In a nutshell

Overall, inventory valuation is important for financial reporting, taxation, decision-making, and compliance purposes, and its accuracy can significantly impact a company’s financial statements and operations. Therefore, it is crucial for businesses to carefully consider their inventory valuation method and ensure that it is consistent with their overall business strategy.

See Also: Balance Solvency Vs Liquidity For Your Business

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Author Bio

Farwah is the Product Owner of Monily. She has an MBA from Alliance Manchester Business School, UK. She is passionate about helping businesses overcome challenges that hamper their growth, which is why she is working at Monily to facilitate entrepreneurs to efficiently manage business finances and stay focused on growth.