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What Every Accountant Should Know About Inventory Management

John Bottoms
Posted by John Bottoms on Apr 14, 2023 7:15:00 AM

Inventory management plays a crucial role in the financial health of businesses. For accounting professionals, understanding the various inventory valuation methods and tailoring them to the unique needs of each client is vital. This article will cover the principles of valuation methods such as Average Cost, FIFO, LIFO, and FEFO, and the importance of adapting inventory management solutions to businesses of different sizes and industries. Additionally, we will discuss the role of accounting professionals in choosing a solution and providing guidance for their clients and wrap up valuable resources for professionals looking to improve their inventory management expertise.

Principles of Valuation Methods: Average Cost, FIFO, LIFO, and FEFO 

Average cost method

This method calculates the average cost of items in inventory by dividing the total cost of goods by the total number of items. It helps to mitigate the effects of fluctuating prices by assigning an average cost to each item. 

FIFO (First-In, First-Out)

FIFO assumes that the items purchased first are sold first. This method is particularly useful in industries where items have a limited shelf life or can become obsolete quickly, such as perishable goods or technology. 

LIFO (Last-In, First-Out): 

In contrast to FIFO, LIFO assumes that the most recently purchased items are sold first. This method can help businesses with tax management, as it can reduce taxable income by accounting for the higher cost of more recent items. 

FEFO (First-Expired, First-Out)

FEFO is typically used in industries with perishable goods, where items have expiration dates. This method prioritizes selling items with the earliest expiration dates to minimize spoilage and waste. 

Inventory Management for Different Business Sizes and Industries 

Different sized businesses and industries have varying inventory management needs. For example, small businesses may require simple inventory tracking, while larger companies may need sophisticated systems for warehouse management and order fulfillment. Similarly, a retail business will have different inventory management needs compared to a manufacturing company. Accounting professionals should be aware of these differences and assist clients in selecting the appropriate inventory management solution based on their specific requirements. 

The Accounting Professional's Role in Choosing a Solution 

Clients rely on accounting professionals to help them choose the best inventory management solution for their business. Professionals should have a thorough understanding of the various valuation methods and be able to explain the advantages and disadvantages of each, tailoring their advice to the client's industry and size. Additionally, accounting professionals must stay informed about the latest inventory management software and technology to provide the most effective guidance. However, because there are so many different variables in the operational side of the businesses, it is important to have access to additional resources for when you need extra help.  

Resources for Accounting Professionals 

To enhance their inventory management expertise, accounting professionals can leverage resources such as the Woodard Inventory Introduction Course and the Cin7 Implementation Course. These courses provide comprehensive training and resources to help accountants and bookkeepers assist clients with their inventory management needs. If you would like to become a reseller of Cin7 Core, we will be shortly announcing additional training for you that will be available on building your reseller practice! 

Additionally, for those who are interested in implementing inventory solutions like Cin7 Core, Woodard has an inventory consulting team that will partner with you and support you in your implementation work through our inventory support program.  


Inventory management is a critical component of a successful business, and accounting professionals play a vital role in guiding clients to the best solution. By understanding various inventory valuation methods, adapting solutions to fit unique business needs, and staying up to date with industry trends and resources, accounting professionals can provide invaluable support to their clients, ensuring the financial success and stability of their businesses. 

Topics: Inventory, Cin7


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