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Write Down of Inventory Journal Entries


A decrease in retained earnings translates into a corresponding decrease in the shareholders’ equity section of the balance sheet. For example, a company that sells mobile phones had inventory worth $10,000 in the beginning of the year. So, the company’s accountant will decrease the inventory account by the write-off value and COGS increases accordingly. However, if the amount of the write down is quite large, then charge the expense to a separate account that is also separately itemized on the income statement, so that readers can clearly see it. If you were to bury a large write down within the cost of goods sold expense, it would cause a large decline in the gross profit ratio that would have to be explained anyways. The Allowance for obsolete inventory account is included on the balance sheet directly below the Inventory account to show a net value of inventory.

Businesses need to learn what write-downs of inventory are and ways to manage inventory to avoid needing write-downs. In this article, we will learn everything about inventory write-downs. Short multiple-choice tests, you may evaluate your comprehension of Inventory Management. A general guideline is that writing down 5% or more of the inventory is considered significant and should be recognized separately. An inventory write-off can be conducted in 10 easy steps – just be sure to make a note of the reason for each write-off to refer back to later. The more often this is done, the more reliable the business’ stock on hand values are.

  • This expense includes the cost of capital and storage fees, both of which will need to be written down.
  • Excess, stored inventory will near the end of its lifespan at some point and, in turn, result in expired or unsellable goods.
  • TranZact is a team of IIT & IIM graduates who have developed a GST compliant, cloud-based, inventory management software for SME manufacturers.
  • Accounts that are most likely to be written down are a company’s goodwill, accounts receivable, inventory, and long-term assets like property, plant, and equipment (PP&E).
  • In this example, the Inventory account shows a debit balance of 1,000 and the Allowance for obsolete inventory account shows a credit balance a 300, resulting in a net inventory of 700 as required.

Profit is calculated by taking the total revenue, less the total expenses in a business. Here we have purchased $100 of inventory using the funds in our cash on hand. This is represented by a debit to our stock on hand for $100 (which is an increase), and a credit to our cash on hand for $100 (which is a decrease). In a perpetual inventory management system, when we purchase stock, it is recognised on the balance sheet but not on the profit and loss as an expense. Because an inventory write-off can reduce a company’s tax liability they need to be processed with the proper care and consideration.

Why should a large inventory write-down not be included in COGS?

It lowers the company’s reported income and the taxes it needs to pay. Including a large inventory write-down within the COGS expense account can distort the gross profit ratio and may require further explanation. It is generally better to record a significant inventory write-down as a separate line item on the income statement. Large, recurring inventory write-offs can indicate that a company has poor inventory management. The company may be purchasing excessive or duplicate inventory because it has lost track of certain items, or it is using existing inventory inefficiently. Companies that don’t want to admit to such problems may resort to dishonest techniques to reduce the apparent size of the obsolete or unusable inventory.

By separating the COGS from the stock that needs to be written off, your gross profit will be unaffected by inventory write-offs. So we have $100 of Stock on Hand, but nowhere have we recognised the cost of the inventory on the profit and loss. When we write it off, we need to recognise its cost, and that our stock on hand has decreased. A business’ annual stocktake is generally done at the end of the financial year. This is because the values counted are then used to write-off any stock that is lost, broken or stolen, and therefore the tax liability is updated to reflect this.

The obsolete product’s value drops from $50,000 to $30,000, resulting in a write-down of $20,000. We may want to use a different account when we write stock off for our Cost of Goods sold, such as “Stock Write-offs” or “Damaged/Lost Stock”. This allows us to separate out our true cost of goods sold verses the stock we have to write off. Overall, we have $300 of sales revenue and $100 of cost of goods sold, giving us a $200 profit. But they must be done at least once a year to ensure accurate accounting records.

Lower of Cost or Market Entry

The debit in the entry to write down inventory is recorded in an account such as Loss on Write-Down of Inventory, which is an income statement account. The journal entry above shows the inventory write down expense being debited to the Loss on inventory write down account. If the inventory write down is immaterial, then a business will often charge the inventory write down to the Cost of goods sold account. The problem with charging the amount to the cost of goods sold account is that it distorts the gross margin of the business, as there is no corresponding revenue entered for the sale of the product.

How to Reduce Inventory Write-Downs

The company can make the inventory write-off journal entry by debiting the loss on inventory write-off account and crediting the inventory account. The nature of the inventory is an asset, in which its normal balance is on the debit side. Likewise, writing off the inventory will decrease the total assets on the balance sheet, and at the same time, it increases total expenses on the income statement. The company may write off some items in the inventory when it deems that they are no longer have value in the market or the business. In this case, the company needs to make the inventory write-off journal entry in order to remove the written-off items from the balance sheet. The asset’s carrying value on the balance sheet is written down to fair value.

Popular Double Entry Bookkeeping Examples

A write-down impacts both the income statement and the balance sheet. If the write-down is related to inventory, it may be recorded as a cost of goods sold (COGS). Otherwise, it is listed as a separate impairment loss line item on the income statement so lenders and investors can assess the impact of devalued assets. It is useful to note that, even writing off the inventory has a negative impact on the financial statements, the company should still write off those inventory items that no longer have value in the market. This is so that the company has the balance sheet that reflects the actual net realizable value and the income statement that has shows the actual performance during the accounting period. Likewise, in this journal entry, the company ABC’s total assets on the balance sheet are reduced by $20,000 while the expenses on the income statement increase by the same amount of $20,000 on March 5.

When is an inventory write-down considered significant enough to be recorded as a separate line item?

But if the write-down is big, it’s shown as a separate expense called an “impairment loss” in the inventory write-down section. Generally, if you write down 5% or more of your inventory, it’s a big write-down. An inventory write-down is like a correction for when the value of inventory drops below what’s listed on the books. This correction affects a company’s balance and income statements, ultimately affecting its overall earnings.

How does an inventory write-down affect the company’s finances?

A stocktake is the process of counting the quantity of units on hand for a business and reconciling these against what is in the inventory system. Writing off stock as soon as possible allows the business to function better without creating delays for customers and creating additional work for the team within the business. There are, however, times the team may not know about stock that needs to be written off, which is why monthly, or annual stock takes are conducted. Inventory write-offs help guarantee the accuracy of your stock on hand values. Additional entries may be needed besides the ones noted here, depending upon the nature of a company’s production system and the goods being produced and sold. Here are answers to the top questions people have about inventory write-downs.