# Cost of Goods Sold COGS: What It Is & How to Calculate

Taking the average product cost over a time period has a smoothing effect that prevents COGS from being highly impacted by the extreme costs of one or more acquisitions or purchases. LIFO is where the latest goods added to the inventory are sold first. During periods of rising prices, goods with higher costs are sold first, leading to a higher COGS amount. However you manage it, knowing your COGS is critical to achieving and sustaining profitability, so it’s important to understand its components and calculate it correctly. COGS also reveals the true cost of a company’s products, which is important when setting pricing to yield strong unit margins. And regardless of which inventory-valuation method a company uses—FIFO, LIFO or average cost—much detail is involved.

Similar to COGS, cost of revenue excludes any indirect costs, such as manager salaries, that are not attributed to a sale. It assumes that the ending inventory on hand are the oldest units produced, and that the newest units produced have already been sold. If your business sells products, you need to know how to calculate the cost of goods sold. This calculation includes all the costs involved in selling products. Calculating the cost of goods sold (COGS) for products you manufacture or sell can be complicated, depending on the number of products and the complexity of the manufacturing process. For example, airlines and hotels are primarily providers of services such as transport and lodging, respectively, yet they also sell gifts, food, beverages, and other items.

## Step 3: Determine the Beginning Inventory

Now that you know the information relayed by COGs, what does this mean to your business? The first thing you need to realize is that COGS are critical in determining the operational efficiency of your business. This can help you quickly pinpoint the parts of the production process that increase your operational costs. It’s an important technique that helps eliminate or minimize the effect of inflation on the value of items in the inventory. This is usually based on the average price of all the current products in stock.

• COGS includes all of the direct costs involved in manufacturing products.
• COGS includes all direct costs incurred to create the products a company offers.
• With the right price, you will be able to successfully cover your business’s operating costs while ensuring that you earn a healthy profit margin.
• Its usually used to highlight the sales revenue percentage used by businesses to pay for those expenses that directly vary with sales.
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The IRS has detailed rules for which identification method you can use and when you can make changes to your inventory cost method. Whether it’s about a misleading accountant, or someone who honestly doesn’t know the cost of goods sold formula, your COGS on paper not always reflect the reality. If you are an eCommerce business looking for a way to unlock significant data-driven growth, then you should consider using REVEAL. This software program can organically increase the number of customers loyal to your business. Additionally, it provides actionable insights on how you can maximize profits and helps to enhance customer lifetime value.

## Steps in Calculating the Cost of Goods Sold

Costs of revenue exist for ongoing contract services that can include raw materials, direct labor, shipping costs, and commissions paid to sales employees. These items cannot be claimed as COGS without a physically produced product to sell, however. The IRS website even lists some examples of “personal service businesses” that do not calculate COGS on their income statements. In theory, COGS should include the cost of all inventory that was sold during the accounting period.

Consistently using COGS means using the historical data attained to determine seasonal trends. By using the historical changes, you can identify new opportunities that will drive the growth of your business. For instance, if your COGS are higher in winter, you can diversify your business with products in demand in winter to minimize the risk of making losses.

## How to Interpret COGS?

Cost of goods sold is the direct cost of producing a good, which includes the cost of the materials and labor used to create the good. COGS directly impacts a company’s profits as COGS is subtracted from revenue. If a company can reduce its COGS through better deals with suppliers or through more efficiency in the production process, it can be more profitable. Since prices tend to go up over time, a company that uses the FIFO method will sell its least expensive products first, which translates to a lower COGS than the COGS recorded under LIFO.

If your business has high COGS, you will pay less in taxes with lower net income. Operating expenses the expenses that aren’t directly tied to creating the product. Its usually used to highlight the sales revenue percentage used by businesses to pay for those expenses that directly vary with sales. Cost of goods manufactured is the total cost incurred by a manufacturing company to manufacture products during a particular period. When inventory is artificially inflated, COGS will be under-reported which, in turn, will lead to a higher-than-actual gross profit margin, and hence, an inflated net income. The average price of all the goods in stock, regardless of purchase date, is used to value the goods sold.

## FIFO

It also helps companies identify damaged, obsolete and missing (“shrinkage”) inventory. If revenue represents the total sales of a company’s products and services, then COGS is the accumulated cost of creating or acquiring those products. The gross profit metric represents the earnings remaining once direct costs (i.e. COGS) are deducted from revenue. The cost of goods sold (COGS) designation is distinct from operating expenses on the income statement. But not all labor costs are recognized as COGS, which is why each company’s breakdown of their expenses and the process of revenue creation must be assessed.

Even though all of these industries have business expenses and normally spend money to provide their services, they do not list COGS. Instead, they have what is called “cost of services,” which does not count towards a COGS deduction. The special identification method uses the specific cost of each unit of merchandise (also called inventory or goods) to calculate the ending inventory and COGS for each period. In this method, a business knows precisely which item was sold and the exact cost. Further, this method is typically used in industries that sell unique items like cars, real estate, and rare and precious jewels.