A Guide To Understanding Cost Of Goods Sold: Can You Calculate COGS As An Asset?

14 minute read

From Goods to Assets: Understanding How To Calculate Cost of Goods Sold



In the heart of Silicon Valley, Mia has a big idea for her startup. But as her business grows, so do the challenges. She must understand COGS (Cost of Goods Sold) to keep things going.

Learning about COGS helps Mia manage her expenses better. It helps her improve how to manage things, and find the right partners. With this knowledge, Mia takes her startup to new heights.

She learns that knowing about COGS is just as important as having a great idea to make her dreams a reality in business. Similarly, knowing your COGS can help you better understand the cost of doing business and make informed pricing and inventory management decisions.

Is cost of goods sold (COGS) an asset?

What is the Cost of Goods Sold?

Definition of COGS and its Importance

Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) is the cost of the raw materials and direct labor used to produce the goods for sale. It also includes material costs associated with production. COGS is important because it helps determine a company's profitability by subtracting COGS from revenue to calculate gross profit.

COGS is not an asset as it is an expense incurred in producing the goods sold. It includes the cost of inventory sold during a specific accounting period. COGS does not include general and administrative expenses. It is directly related to the goods sold and their unit cost.

Are goods sold as assets on a balance sheet?

Goods sold do not qualify as assets on a balance sheet. Instead, they undergo recording as inventory until their sale, when their worth gets transferred to the income statement as revenue.

Inventory signifies goods reserved for sale and is classified as a current asset on the balance sheet until their sale. Upon sale, their cost aligns with revenue on the income statement, influencing profitability metrics such as gross profit and net income. 

Why is the cost of goods sold an operating expense?

Cost of goods sold constitutes an expense, representing the direct costs of producing goods or services that a company sells to generate revenue. These costs include raw materials, labor, and manufacturing overhead.

By deducting COGS from revenue on the income statement, a company calculates its gross profit, showcasing the remaining revenue after factoring in the costs directly associated with production.

This approach aligns with the matching principle in accounting. Acknowledged expenses are in the same period as the corresponding revenue they aid in generating, offering a more precise portrayal of a company's profitability.

Components Included in COGS

Components included in COGS are the total cost of goods or services related to the production of goods sold. This includes the cost of materials, average cost method, operating expenses, and ending inventory.

COGS and cost of revenue are also included in the cost of goods sold account. Calculating your COGS involves determining the average cost per unit sold and the inventory at the end of the period.

Components Included in Cost of Revenue

The cost of revenue typically includes all direct expenses directly associated with producing goods or services sold by a company. This includes materials and labor costs directly tied to production, such as raw materials, direct labor wages, and manufacturing overhead.

Also, costs such as shipping and packaging directly related to delivering products to customers are also included. Essentially, the cost of revenue represents the expenses necessary to generate sales, providing a fundamental metric for assessing the profitability of a company's core operations.

Relationship Between COGS and Gross Profit

Cost of goods sold is a key component in determining gross profit. It represents the cost of producing or purchasing the goods that were sold in the period. The COGS account includes the cost of raw materials, inventory cost, and cost of services directly related to the goods sold.

When COGS is lower, the gross profit margin is higher. Conversely, a higher COGS results in a lower gross profit. This relationship highlights the importance of effectively managing inventory and COGS to optimize profitability.

Relationship Between COGS and Cost of Revenue

The relationship between Cost of Goods Sold and Cost of Revenue is closely intertwined. COGS is a subset of the broader Cost of Revenue.

COGS specifically refers to the direct costs incurred in producing goods or services that have been sold during a particular period, such as raw materials, labor, and manufacturing overhead.

On the other hand, the Cost of Revenue encompasses a wider range of expenses directly associated with generating revenue. It includes not only COGS but also extra costs like shipping, packaging, and certain overhead costs.

While COGS focuses solely on the direct costs of production, the Cost of Revenue provides a more comprehensive view by considering all expenses tied directly to generating sales, thus offering a broader perspective on the profitability of a company's core operations.

How to Calculate Cost of Goods Sold?

Step Description

Cost of Goods Sold Formula

Cost of goods sold is an essential metric in accounting that helps determine the exact cost of the goods you sell. COGS includes the cost of sales and is considered part of the cost of goods sold formula. The concept of COGS can also be related to ending inventory and COGS.

Calculating the Cost of Goods Sold involves understanding and summing up the direct costs of producing goods or services that a company sells. There are a few formulas commonly used:

  1. Beginning Inventory + Purchases - Ending Inventory: This formula is used for businesses that hold inventory. It starts with the inventory a company has at the beginning of a period, adds the cost of goods purchased or manufactured during the period, and then subtracts the ending inventory to find the cost of goods sold during that period.

  2. Cost of Goods Manufactured + Opening Finished Goods Inventory - Closing Finished Goods Inventory: This formula is specifically for manufacturing companies. It considers the cost of goods manufactured (the direct costs of producing goods) and adjusts for the change in finished goods inventory levels over a given period.

  3. Direct Labor + Direct Materials + Manufacturing Overhead: This formula is used to sum up the costs incurred in the production process directly. It includes direct labor (wages paid to workers who produce goods), direct materials (cost of raw materials used in production), and manufacturing overhead (indirect costs like utilities, rent, and depreciation of equipment used in production).

Understanding Direct Costs in COGS

Understanding direct costs in COGS involves recognizing that the cost of goods sold includes only the expenses directly related to the goods sold to customers. This means that the cost of producing goods or services, such as the cost of the materials used, is considered. The cost of goods sold calculation helps determine the exact cost of goods sold for each item sold, leading to a higher COGS.

When a product is sold, the expenses associated with producing that product are no longer held in the inventory asset account. Instead, they are recognized as part of the cost of goods sold. This means that the cost of goods sold is an expense that is directly tied to the goods sold rather than being considered an asset, as it is when the stock goods are considered an asset.

Importance of Labor Costs in COGS Calculation

Labor costs are important when determining the Cost of Goods Sold. They're directly tied to making the stuff a company sells. Unlike other expenses, COGS focuses only on what it costs to produce goods, not on running the whole business.

Labor costs, like wages paid to workers who make or deliver stuff, are a big deal in COGS. This helps companies know exactly how much it costs to make what they sell, which is super important for figuring out if they're making money.

Whether they use specific ways to track costs or methods like FIFO (First-In-First-Out), labor costs are always considered in COGS. Keeping labor costs in check means COGS decreases, which is good for a company's profits. Understanding this helps companies set prices, manage costs, and make smarter decisions.

Where is the Cost of Goods Sold Reported?

Placement of COGS in Income Statement

The cost of goods sold is usually recorded in the income statement as an expense. This line item helps determine a company's profitability by showing the direct costs associated with the production of goods or services sold.

Impact of COGS on Profit Margin

Cost of goods sold is a crucial factor that directly impacts the profit margin of a business. If the cost of producing finished goods increases, it reduces the profit margin. The same selling price may not cover the increased cost. This results in lower profits for the business.

The cost of goods sold is a variable cost. It changes based on the number of goods sold. Companies subtract the cost of goods sold from the revenue generated by goods sold to find the gross profit.

COGS and Balance Sheet Reporting

On the balance sheet, the cost of goods sold is deducted from revenue to calculate gross profit. This helps investors and analysts understand how effectively a company turns its finished goods inventory into revenue. Accurate reporting of COGS is crucial for making informed business decisions.

Why is Calculating COGS Important for Businesses?

Role of COGS in Determining Profitability

The cost of goods sold is key to determining a company's profitability. It represents the direct costs incurred in producing goods sold by a business. By subtracting COGS from revenue, a company can calculate its gross profit margin, which is essential for assessing the efficiency of its operations and overall profitability.

Significance of Accurate COGS Calculation

The cost of goods sold is a crucial financial metric for businesses. It directly impacts their profitability. Accurately calculating COGS helps businesses determine the cost of producing goods or services. This affects pricing strategies, inventory management, and overall financial health.

Having precise COGS data allows businesses to make informed budgeting, forecasting, and strategic planning decisions. It also helps evaluate the efficiency of operations and identify areas for cost savings and improvement. Accurate COGS calculation holds significant importance for several reasons:

  1. Profitability Analysis: COGS directly impacts a company's profitability. By accurately calculating COGS, businesses can determine their gross profit margin, which is essential for assessing the efficiency of their operations and making informed pricing decisions.

  2. Financial Reporting: COGS is a key component of the income statement. Accurate COGS calculation ensures the reliability and integrity of financial statements, which is crucial for regulatory compliance and investor confidence.

  3. Taxation: Many tax jurisdictions allow businesses to deduct COGS from their revenue to determine taxable income. An accurate COGS calculation ensures that businesses pay the correct amount of taxes, avoiding potential penalties or audits due to errors or discrepancies.

  4. Inventory Management: COGS calculation is closely linked to inventory management. Accurate COGS helps businesses track their inventory costs effectively, optimize inventory levels, and identify potential inefficiencies or discrepancies in inventory valuation.

  5. Decision Making: Reliable COGS data is essential for making strategic business decisions. It provides insights into the cost structure of products or services, enabling businesses to identify areas for cost reduction, improve operational efficiency, and enhance overall competitiveness.

  6. Performance Evaluation: COGS analysis allows businesses to evaluate the performance of different product lines, departments, or segments, indicating how It helps identify high-performing products and areas needing improvement, enabling better resource allocation and strategic planning.

  7. Budgeting and Forecasting: Accurate COGS data is a basis for budgeting and forecasting future expenses and revenues. It allows businesses to develop realistic financial projections, set achievable targets, and monitor performance against predetermined goals.

How COGS Affects Financial Decision Making

  1. Setting Prices: COGS helps businesses figure out how much to charge for their stuff. They must ensure the price covers the cost of making the product, other expenses and some profit. Knowing COGS helps them set prices that are fair but still make money.

  2. Deciding What to SellCOGS shows which products make the most money, highlighting how Businesses use this info to decide which products to focus on and which ones need improvement. It helps them decide what new products to make too.

  3. Managing Inventory: COGS helps businesses handle their inventory better. By keeping track of COGS, they know how much to keep in stock, saving money and avoiding running out of things to sell.

  4. Deciding on Investments: Looking at COGS helps businesses decide where to put their money. They can see if spending on new things or expanding into new areas is worth it. It helps them know if they'll make enough money back.

  5. Cutting Costs: COGS helps businesses find ways to save money. By checking COGS regularly, they can see where they're spending too much and find ways to spend less. It helps them run more efficiently.

  6. Reporting Finances: Accurate COGS helps businesses show how well they're doing. It's important to make sure financial reports are honest and follow the rules. This keeps everyone trusting the business.

  7. Managing Cash Flow: COGS affects how much money a business has. By managing COGS well, they can save money and make sure they have enough cash to keep going and growing.

How to Improve COGS Management?

Strategies to Lower COGS

The cost of goods sold can be lowered by implementing several strategies. One way is to negotiate better prices with suppliers to reduce the cost of inventory. Another approach is to improve operational efficiency by streamlining production processes and reducing waste. Also, businesses can explore outsourcing certain tasks to lower labor costs.

Optimizing Inventory Management for Better COGS

Optimizing inventory management is crucial for lowering the cost of goods sold and improving overall profitability. By implementing efficient inventory tracking systems, businesses can reduce excess stock, avoid stockouts, and minimize carrying costs. This leads to a more streamlined supply chain and lower COGS.

Utilizing Technology for Efficient COGS Tracking

Cost of goods sold tracking is crucial for businesses to monitor and manage their expenses effectively. By utilizing technology, such as accounting software and inventory management systems, businesses can automate the process of tracking COGS and generate real-time reports for better decision-making.

These tools allow businesses to easily input data, track inventory levels, and calculate expenses associated with producing goods. By streamlining the COGS tracking process, businesses can identify cost-saving opportunities, optimize their production processes, and ultimately improve their overall profitability.

Key Summary

The cost of goods sold is an important metric in accounting for product costs. It encompasses the expenses directly associated with producing the latest goods or services a company sells, including materials, labor, and overhead.

What's the difference between COGS and operating expenses? It specifically accounts for the cost of the earliest goods sold first, using methods like weighted-average unit cost.

Goods sold is considered an expense. Accounting for the cost translates to lower COGS, reflecting the direct costs tied to production.

Understanding cost of goods sold helps assess the profitability of a company's core operations by accurately accounting for the costs directly involved in generating sales.

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February 29, 2024


Ralph Carnicer, CPA

Ralph Carnicer, CPA


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