Small businesses with fewer Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) use a regular system when they don’t want to grow their business over time. Depending on the product and needs, periodic systems can also be combined with permanent systems. Because you’ll constantly be up to date on inventory counts, you won’t have to stock more than necessary, supposing sales are greater. Taking a physical inventory can result in a time commitment that you should avoid. In addition, it can be difficult to find the time and energy to ensure that a periodic inventory system is handled effectively, especially in small firms.

Furthermore, your costs will never technically rise as long as you are prepared to put in the effort. Again, the periodic inventory method is the way to go if you want the most straightforward system possible. With this alternative, you do not need to invest in expensive software solutions. Periodic inventory accounting has several advantages, chief among them being its ease of use and low cost of implementation. In accounting, the cost of goods sold is considered an expense and can be recognized on a financial statement called the income statement.


Using the average cost formula, beginning inventory and purchases are simply summed to calculate the weighted average unit cost. A company that uses the periodic inventory accounting system might disregard that a sale can occur at the start of a month before final purchases after the same month. A periodic inventory system is a method of inventory valuation where the account is periodically updated.

Changes in inventory are accurate (as long as there is no theft or damage to any goods) and can be easily accessed immediately. The information collected digitally is sent to central databases in real-time. On the plus side, this means you don’t necessarily need to rely on complex software or technology to maintain inventory accounts. You’ll know the amount of inventory without completing the time-consuming task of counting physical inventory periodically. While the periodic system can be more cost-effective, the perpetual system can offer more precise inventory data and financial statements. While these systems can offer more accurate and updated inventory data, they also come with higher costs — as you’ll need to invest in hardware, software, and employee training.

  • Periodic inventory allows a business to track its beginning inventory and ending inventory within an accounting period for their financial statements.
  • Beginning inventory and purchases are the input that accountants use to calculate the cost of goods available for sale.
  • Like the FIFO periodic inventory system, the LIFO computation begins with a physical inventory count.
  • Implementing a perpetual system earlier in the company’s inception enables staff to have a long-term record of the inventory and also keeps the business from growing out of a periodic system one day.

The growing use of cloud accounting software has made inventory tracking incredibly easy and cheap to implement. The company purchases $250,000 worth of inventory during a three-month period. After a physical inventory count, the company determines the value of its inventory is $400,000 on March 31. COGS for the first quarter of the year is $350,000 ($500,000 beginning + $250,000 purchases – $400,000 ending). Because of the ability of new cloud-based inventory management software to interact with all systems, the perpetual inventory system becomes more realistic. As a result, it enables firms to expedite their financial and accounting processes.

Sales Forecasting Software or Demand Forecasting Software, What Is Right for You?

These companies often don’t need accounting software to do the counts, which means inventory is counted by hand. As such, the system is commonly used by companies that sell small quantities of inventory, including art and auto dealers. Because the perpetual inventory system does not allow for regular physical inventory counting, inventory levels may differ from real inventory in the warehouse. The total cost of products available for sale is averaged using the average cost method, and any two units are sold at the average cost. A company uses a periodic inventory system (PIS) to physically count inventory at the end of each quarter to determine the quantity and the cost of things sold. Many companies choose monthly, quarterly, or annual terms depending on their revenue and accounting requirements.

Using the Gross Profit Formula

Business owners subtract the cost of goods sold from total revenue to get their gross profit, which is a measurement of the business’s profitability. We hope our guide was helpful in understanding the basics of the periodic inventory system. Want to learn more about journal entries and how to record them for your small business? Then, a second closing entry is to reduce the balance of the COGS account, by the year-end inventory still on hand. All that gets recognized are purchases, and inventory is only counted at the end of the year.

Periodic inventory formula

As a result, the perpetual inventory system allows you to avoid overstocking and stock-outs by alerting you when products require refilling. Inventory is an important asset for businesses, and a permanent restaurant accounting: a step by step guide inventory system allows accounting teams to prepare more accurate tax and regulatory reports. Technically, you don’t have to invest anything except for the time it takes to do a physical inventory.

Remember that an accounting record is updated at the end of the year to reflect your physical inventory count. The software is a periodic system that will display the inventory price recorded at the last physical count – it doesn’t update sales supported. Periodic inventory is a system of inventory valuation where the business’s inventory and cost of goods sold (COGS) are not updated in the accounting records after each sale and/or inventory purchase. Instead, the income statement is updated after a designated accounting period has passed.

A periodic inventory system is best suited for smaller businesses that don’t keep too much stock in their inventory. It’s also far simpler to estimate the cost of goods sold over designated periods of time. Periodic and perpetual inventory systems are different accounting methods for tracking inventory, although they can work in concert. Overall, the perpetual inventory system is superior because it tracks all data and transactions. However, with a perpetual system, you need to make more decisions to use it successfully.