Chapter 5 Financial Accounting
Perpetual System: In a perpetual inventory system, companies maintain detailed records of the cost of each inventory purchase and sale. These records continuously—perpetually—show the inventory that should be on hand for every item. For example, a Ford dealership has separate inventory records for each automobile, truck, and van on its lot and showroom floor. Similarly, a grocery store uses bar codes and optical scanners to keep a daily running record of every box of cereal and every jar of jelly that it buys and sells. Under a perpetual inventory system, a company determines the cost of goods sold each time a sale occurs.
Periodic System: In a periodic inventory system, companies do not keep detailed inventory records of the goods on hand throughout the period. They determine the cost of goods sold only at the end of the accounting period—that is, periodically. At that point, the company takes a physical inventory count to determine the cost of goods on hand.
To determine the cost of goods sold under a periodic inventory system, the following steps are necessary:
1. Determine the cost of goods on hand at the beginning of the accounting period.
2. Add to it the cost of goods purchased.
3. Subtract the cost of goods on hand at the end of the accounting period.
Advantages of the Perpetual System: A perpetual inventory system provides better control over inventories than a periodic system. Since the inventory records show the quantities that should be on hand, the company can count the goods at any time to see whether the amount of goods actually on hand agrees with the inventory records. If shortages are uncovered, the company can investigate immediately. Although a perpetual inventory system requires additional clerical work and additional cost to maintain inventory records, a computerized system can minimize this cost. Much of Amazon.com’s success is attributed to its sophisticated inventory system.
Under the perpetual inventory system, companies record purchases of merchandise for sale in the Inventory account. Thus, REI would increase (debit) Inventory for clothing, sporting goods, and anything else purchased for resale to customers. Not all purchases are debited to Inventory, however. Companies record purchases of assets acquired for use and not for resale, such as supplies, equipment, and similar items, as increases to specific asset accounts rather than to Inventory. For example, to record the purchase of materials used to make shelf signs or for cash register receipt paper, REI would increase (debit) Supplies.
Freight terms are expressed as either FOB shipping point or FOB destination. The letters FOB mean free on board. Thus, FOB shipping point means that the seller places the goods free on board the carrier, and the buyer pays the freight costs. Conversely, FOB destination means that the seller places the goods free on board to the buyer’s place of business, and the seller pays the freight.
Freight Costs Incurred by Buyer: When the buyer pays the transportation costs, these costs are considered part of the cost of purchasing inventory. As a result, the account Inventory is increased (debited).
Freight Costs Incurred by Seller: In contrast, freight costs incurred by the seller on outgoing merchandise are an operating expense to the seller. These costs increase an expense account titled Freight-Out (sometimes called Delivery Expense).
Assume that Sauk Stereo returned goods costing $300 to PW Audio Supply on May 8. The following entry by Sauk Stereo for the returned merchandise decreases (debits) Accounts Payable and decreases (credits) Inventory. Because Sauk Stereo increased Inventory when the goods were received, Inventory is decreased (credited) when Sauk Stereo returns the goods.
Suppose instead that Sauk Stereo chose to keep the goods after being granted a $50 allowance (reduction in price). It would reduce (debit) Accounts Payable and reduce (credit) Inventory for $50.
The credit terms specify the amount of the cash discount and time period during which it is offered. They also indicate the length of time in which the purchaser is expected to pay the full invoice price. In the sales invoice in Illustration 5-5, credit terms are 2/10, n/30, which is read “two-ten, net thirty.” This means that a 2% cash discount may be taken on the invoice price, less (“net of”) any returns or allowances, if payment is made within 10 days of the invoice date (the discount period). Otherwise, the invoice price, less any returns or allowances, is due 30 days from the invoice date. Alternatively, the discount period may extend to a specified number of days following the month in which the sale occurs. For example, 1/10 EOM (end of month) means that a 1% discount is available if the invoice is paid within the first 10 days of the next month.
When the seller elects not to offer a cash discount for prompt payment, credit terms will specify only the maximum time period for paying the balance due. For example, the credit terms may state the time period as n/30, n/60, or n/10 EOM. This means, respectively, that the buyer must pay the net amount in 30 days, 60 days, or within the first 10 days of the next month.
When an invoice is paid within the discount period, the amount of the discount decreases Inventory. Why? Because the merchandiser records inventory at its cost and, by paying within the discount period, it has reduced that cost. To illustrate, assume Sauk Stereo pays the balance due of $3,500 (gross invoice price of $3,800 less purchase returns and allowances of $300) on May 14, the last day of the discount period. The cash discount is , and the amount of cash Sauk Stereo paid is . The entry Sauk Stereo makes to record its May 14 payment decreases (debits) Accounts Payable by the amount of the gross invoice price, reduces (credits) Inventory by the $70 discount, and reduces (credits) Cash by the net amount owed.
The seller makes two entries for each sale. (1) It increases (debits) Accounts Receivable or Cash, as well as increases (credits) Sales Revenue. (2) It increases (debits) Cost of Goods Sold and decreases (credits) Inventory. As a result, the Inventory account will show at all times the amount of inventory that should be on hand.
To illustrate a credit sales transaction, PW Audio Supply records the sale of $3,800 on May 4 to Sauk Stereo (see Illustration 5-5) as follows (assume the merchandise cost PW Audio Supply $2,400).
Sales Returns and Allowances is a contra revenue account to Sales Revenue, which means it is offset against a revenue account on the income statement. The normal balance of Sales Returns and Allowances is a debit. Companies use a contra account, instead of debiting Sales Revenue, to disclose in the accounts and in the income statement the amount of sales returns and allowances. Disclosure of this information is important to management. Excessive returns and allowances suggest problems—inferior merchandise, inefficiencies in filling orders, errors in billing customers, or mistakes in delivery or shipment of goods. Moreover, a decrease (debit) recorded directly to Sales Revenue would obscure the relative importance of sales returns and allowances as a percentage of sales. It also could distort comparisons between total sales in different accounting periods.
Like Sales Returns and Allowances, Sales Discounts is a contra revenue account to Sales Revenue. Its normal balance is a debit. Sellers use this account, instead of debiting Sales Revenue, to disclose the amount of cash discounts taken by customers. If the customer does not take the discount, PW Audio Supply increases (debits) Cash for $3,500 and decreases (credits) Accounts Receivable for the same amount at the date of collection.
In a single-step statement, all data are classified into two categories: (1) revenues, which include both operating revenues and nonoperating revenues and gains (for example, interest revenue and gain on sale of equipment); and (2) expenses, which include cost of goods sold, operating expenses, and nonoperating expenses and losses (for example, interest expense, loss on sale of equipment, or income tax expense). The single-step income statement is the form we have used thus far in the text.
The multiple-step income statement has three important line items: gross profit, income from operations, and net income. They are determined as follows.
1. Subtract cost of goods sold from net sales to determine gross profit.
2. Deduct operating expenses from gross profit to determine income from operations.
3. Add or subtract the results of activities not related to operations to determine net income.
It is important to understand what gross profit is—and what it is not. Gross profit represents the merchandising profit of a company. Because operating expenses have not been deducted, it is not a measure of the overall profit of a company. Nevertheless, management and other interested parties closely watch the amount and trend of gross profit. Comparisons of current gross profit with past amounts and rates and with those in the industry indicate the effectiveness of a company’s purchasing and pricing policies.
At PW Audio Supply, operating expenses were $114,000. The firm determines its income from operations by subtracting operating expenses from gross profit. Thus, income from operations is $30,000, as shown below.
Analysts generally consider the gross profit rate to be more informative than the gross profit amount because it expresses a more meaningful (qualitative) relationship between gross profit and net sales. For example, a gross profit amount of $1,000,000 may sound impressive. But if it was the result of sales of $100,000,000, the company’s gross profit rate was only 1%. A 1% gross profit rate is acceptable in very few industries. Illustration 5-14 demonstrates that gross profit rates differ greatly across industries.
How do the gross profit rate and profit margin differ? The gross profit rate measures the margin by which selling price exceeds cost of goods sold. The profit margin measures the extent by which selling price covers all expenses (including cost of goods sold). A company can improve its profit margin by either increasing its gross profit rate and/or by controlling its operating expenses and other costs. For example, at one time Radio Shack reported increased profit margins which it accomplished by closing stores and slashing costs. While its total sales have been declining, its profitability as measured by its profit margin has increased.
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