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    Home >> Inventory Accounting Topics

     

    Journal Entries for Inventory Transactions


    There are a number of inventory journal entries that can be used to document inventory transactions. In a modern, computerized inventory tracking system, the system generates most of these transactions for you, so the precise nature of the journal entries are not necessarily visible. Nonetheless, you may find a need for some of the following entries from time to time, to be created as manual journal entries in the accounting system.

    Inventory Purchase

    This is the initial inventory purchase, which is routed through the accounts payable system. The debit will be to either the raw materials inventory or the merchandise account, depending on the nature of the goods purchased. The entry is:

      Debit Credit
    Raw materials inventory xxx  
    Merchandise inventory xxx  
         Accounts payable   xxx


    Record Indirect Production Costs in Overhead

    There are other types of production-related expenses that are allocated to inventory, such as rent, utilities, and supplies for the manufacturing operation. These expenditures typically begin as accounts payable and are allocated to an overhead cost pool, from which they are then allocated to inventory and the cost of goods sold. The allocation to a cost pool may occur later, but we will assume it occurs at the time of initial accounts payable recordation, with this entry:

      Debit Credit
    Overhead cost pool xxx  
         Accounts payable   xxx


    Record Production Labor in Overhead

    Various types of production labor, such as production management salaries and materials management wages, are also routed through an overhead cost pool, from which they are later allocated to inventory. The entry for this is usually a shifting of the wages expense into a cost pool, with this entry:

      Debit Credit
    Overhead cost pool xxx  
         Wages expense   xxx


    Move Raw Materials to Work in Process

    If you are operating a production facility, then the warehouse staff will pick raw materials from stock and shift it to the production floor, possibly by job number. This calls for another journal entry to officially shift the goods into the work-in-process account, which is shown below. If the production process is short, it may be easier to shift the cost of raw materials straight into the finished goods account, rather than the work-in-process account.

      Debit Credit
    Work-in-process inventory xxx  
         Raw materials inventory   xxx


    Record Inventory Scrap and Spoilage

    There will inevitably be a certain amount of scrap and spoilage arising from a production process, which is normally recorded in the overhead cost pool and then allocated to inventory. If these amounts are abnormal, then you would instead charge the abnormal amount to the cost of goods sold (so that they are not carried as an asset).  The entry for the former situation is:

      Debit Credit
    Overhead cost pool xxx  
         Work-in-process inventory   xxx


    Record Finished Goods

    Once the production facility has converted the work-in-process into completed goods, you then shift the cost of these materials into the finished goods account with the following entry:

      Debit Credit
    Finished goods inventory xxx  
         Work-in-process inventory   xxx


    Allocate Overhead

    At the end of each reporting period, allocate the full amount of costs in the overhead cost pool to work-in-process inventory, finished goods inventory, and the cost of goods sold, usually based on their relative proportions of cost or some other readily supportable measurement. The journal entry is:

      Debit Credit
    Work-in-process inventory xxx  
    Finished goods inventory xxx  
    Cost of goods sold xxx  
         Overhead cost pool   xxx


    Sale Transaction Entry

    Once there is a sale of goods from finished goods, charge the cost of the finished goods sold to the cost of goods sold expense account, thereby transferring the cost of the inventory from the balance sheet (where it was an asset) to the income statement (where it is an expense). The entry is:

      Debit Credit
    Cost of goods sold expense xxx  
         Finished goods inventory   xxx


    There is also a separate entry for the sale transaction, in which you record a sale and an offsetting increase in accounts receivable or cash. A sale transaction should be recognized in the same reporting period as the related cost of goods sold transaction, so that the full extent of a sale transaction is recognized at once.

    That concludes the journal entries for the basic transfer of inventory into the manufacturing process and out to the customer as a sale. There are also two special situations that arise periodically, which are adjustments for obsolete inventory and for the lower of cost or market rule.

    Obsolete Inventory Entry

    There is likely to be some amount of obsolete inventory arising on an ongoing basis, so it is best to continually charge a small amount to the cost of goods sold and set up a reserve account for obsolete inventory, using the following entry:

      Debit Credit
    Cost of goods sold expense xxx  
         Obsolescence reserve   xxx


    Then, when you locate obsolete inventory and designate it as such, you credit the relevant inventory account and debit the obsolescence reserve account. This approach charges the cost of obsolescence to expense in small increments over a long period of time, rather than in large amounts only when obsolete inventory is discovered.

    Lower of Cost or Market Entry

    You have to periodically test inventory to see if the market cost of any inventory item is lower than its cost under the lower of cost or market rule. As a result, you may need to reduce the carrying amount of the inventory item to its market value, and charge the loss on inventory valuation expense for the decrease in recorded cost of the inventory. The associated entry is:

      Debit Credit
    Loss on inventory valuation xxx  
         Raw materials inventory   xxx
         Work-in-process inventory   xxx
         Finished goods inventory   xxx

     
    An interesting point about inventory journal entries is that they are rarely intended to be reversing entries (that is, which automatically reverse themselves in the next accounting period). Instead, the entries are usually one-time events.

    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.

    Related Topics

    Accounting inventory methods
    How do I reconcile inventory?
    How do I report an inventory write down?
    What is an inventory reserve?
    What is backflush accounting?