Average Cost Method

The average cost technique determines the cost of inventory items by dividing the total cost of goods produced or acquired during a period by the total number of items produced or purchased during that time.The average cost strategy is also known as the weighted average method.

Understanding Average Cost Method

Businesses that sell products to consumers must manage inventory, which is either purchased from a different manufacturer or created by the business. On a company's income statement, the cost of goods sold (COGS) is reported for items that were previously in inventory and are sold off. Because COGS is deducted from sales revenue to calculate gross margin on the income statement, it is a crucial number for firms, investors, and analysts.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Average Cost Method


For businesses that deal with vast volumes of things that are extremely similar, the simplicity of the average-cost method is its key advantage. These numbers can be averaged instead of keeping track of every item and its separate cost.

The average cost approach is frequently used by businesses that deal with raw materials because these materials' costs can change over time. Budgeting and long-range planning are made easier by averaging the expenditures.


The weighted average cost strategy, however, won't always be effective. For instance, treating batch units identically may not make sense from a cost standpoint if they are substantially dissimilar. This is especially true when the inventory consists of rare, pricey, or special things like antique furniture or handcrafted jewelry.

When production costs are oscillating between rising and falling over time, average costing is less effective. By representing the cost at the particular period rather than a steady average, this would reduce the accuracy of financial records.

How To Calculate Average Cost Method

Utilizing the AVCO formula, you can figure out the weighted-average cost per inventory unit. By dividing the inventory's total cost by its entire number of units, this formula determines the inventory's total cost. The obtained ratio represents the weighted average cost per unit.

The average cost method formula is:

Total cost of goods produced ÷ total number of items sold = average cost for period

Special Considerations

Consistency is one of the fundamental components of US generally accepted accounting standards (GAAP). A corporation must choose an accounting technique and adhere to it consistently from one accounting period to the next in order to comply with the consistency principle.

For instance, companies who employ the average cost technique must do so for all upcoming accounting periods. This rule is in place to make it simple for people who use financial statements to compare financial data from year to year.

A corporation that modifies its inventory-costing methodology must disclose the modification in the footnotes to the financial statements and retroactively apply the new methodology to past comparable financial statements.

Key takeaways

The average cost method is one of three techniques used to value inventories; the other two are first in, first out (FIFO) and last in, first out (LIFO).

The weighted average of all inventory purchases made during a period is used by the average cost technique to value the cost of goods sold (COGS) and the cost of items that are still up for grabs.

In order to comply with generally accepted accounting standards (GAAP), a corporation must be consistent in the use of the inventory valuation method after it has chosen it.

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