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Last In, First Out (LIFO)

Last In, First Out (LIFO)

What Is Last In, First Out (LIFO)?

Last in, first out (LIFO) is a method used to account for inventory that records the most recently created things as sold first. Under LIFO, the cost of the latest products purchased (or delivered) are quick to be discounted as cost of goods sold (COGS), and that means the lower cost of more established products will be reported as inventory.

Two alternative methods of inventory-costing incorporate first in, first out (FIFO), where the most established inventory things are recorded as sold first, and the average cost method, which takes the weighted average of all units ready to move during the accounting period and afterward utilizes that average cost to decide COGS and ending inventory.

Seeing Last In, First Out (LIFO)

Last in, first out (LIFO) is just utilized in the United States where every one of the three inventory-costing methods can be utilized under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). The International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) prohibits the utilization of the LIFO method.

Companies that utilization LIFO inventory valuations are commonly those with moderately large inventories, for example, retailers or car showrooms, that can exploit lower taxes (when prices are rising) and higher cash flows.

Numerous U.S. companies like to utilize FIFO however, since, supposing that a firm purposes a LIFO valuation when it documents taxes, it must likewise utilize LIFO when it reports financial outcomes to shareholders, which brings down net income and, eventually, earnings per share.

Last In, First Out (LIFO), Inflation, and Net Income

At the point when there is zero inflation, each of the three inventory-costing methods produce a similar outcome. In any case, assuming that inflation is high, the decision of accounting method can emphatically influence valuation ratios. FIFO, LIFO, and average cost have an alternate impact:

  • FIFO gives a better indication of the value of ending inventory (on the balance sheet), however it likewise increases net income since inventory that may be several years of age is utilized to value COGS. Expanding net income sounds great, yet it can increase the taxes that a company must pay.
  • LIFO is certainly not a decent indicator of ending inventory value since it might downplay the value of inventory. LIFO brings about lower net income (and taxes) since COGS is higher. In any case, there are less inventory write-downs under LIFO during inflation.
  • Average cost produces results that fall somewhere close to FIFO and LIFO.

In the event that prices are decreasing, the complete inverse of the above is true.

Illustration of Last In, First Out (LIFO)

Expect company A has 10 gadgets. The initial five gadgets cost $100 each and showed up two days prior. The last five gadgets cost $200 each and showed up one day prior. In light of the LIFO method of inventory management, the last gadgets in are the initial ones to be sold. Seven gadgets are sold, yet what amount might the accountant at any point record as a cost?

Every gadget has similar sales price, so revenue is something similar, yet the cost of the gadgets depends on the inventory method chose. In view of the LIFO method, the last inventory in is the first inventory sold. This means the gadgets that cost $200 sold first. The company then, at that point, sold two a greater amount of the $100 gadgets. Altogether, the cost of the gadgets under the LIFO method is $1,200, or five at $200 and two at $100. Conversely, utilizing FIFO, the $100 gadgets are sold first, trailed by the $200 gadgets. Thus, the cost of the gadgets sold will be recorded as $900, or five at $100 and two at $200.

Therefore in periods of rising prices, LIFO makes higher costs and brings down net income, which additionally decreases taxable income. Moreover, in periods of falling prices, LIFO makes lower costs and increases net income, which likewise increases taxable income.


  • Different methods to account for inventory remember first for, first out (FIFO) and the average cost method.
  • LIFO is utilized exclusively in the United States and represented by the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).
  • Utilizing LIFO regularly brings down net income however is tax advantageous when prices are rising.
  • Last in, first out (LIFO) is a method used to account for inventory.
  • Under LIFO, the costs of the latest products purchased (or delivered) are quick to be discounted.