# What a high weighted average cost of capital signifies

## Understanding the Average Cost Method

The average cost method uses the weighted-average of all inventory purchased in a period to assign value to cost of goods sold (COGS) as well as the cost of goods still available for sale. The weighted average cost method only requires a single cost calculation and uses this cost for all other calculations, requiring only a single record documenting the calculation. There is no need to maintain detailed records for each purchase, only records of the totals. The calculation used to determine the weighted average cost is also easier than that of other valuation methods which take multiple steps to calculate the inventory value or COGS.

In this calculation, the cost of goods available for sale is the sum of beginning inventory and net purchases. You then use this weighted-average figure to assign a cost to both ending inventory and the cost of goods sold. The average cost method assigns a cost to inventory items based on the total cost of goods purchased or produced in a period divided by the total number of items purchased or produced. An issue with the weighted average cost method is when your inventory prices vary widely, where you may not recover the costs of the more expensive units and may even suffering a loss with your sales price. The idea behind the method is that you will make up any loss when you sell the less expensive items.

One of the core aspects of U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) is consistency. The consistency principle requires a company to adopt an accounting method and follow it consistently from one accounting period to another.

## What Is the Average Cost Method?

If that doesn’t happen, however, you may end up discontinuing the item, never recovering the losses sustained when selling the pricey units. A significant advantage of using the weighted average cost method that it is the simplest way to track inventory expense.

Weighted average cost method follows the concept of “total stock and total valuation”. The weighted average method of material costing is used for costing materials requisition and charging cost of materials to production. The balance on hand is also composed of units valued at the weighted average cost. A weighted average, otherwise known as a weighted mean, is a little more complicated to figure out than a regular arithmetic mean.

Businesses that sell products to customers have to deal with inventory, which is either bought from a separate manufacturer or produced by the company itself. Items previously in inventory that are sold off are recorded on a company’s income statement as cost of goods sold (COGS). The COGS is an important figure for businesses, investors, and analysts as it is subtracted from sales revenue to determine gross margin on the income statement. To calculate the total cost of goods sold to consumers during a period, different companies use one of three inventory cost methods—first in first out (FIFO), last in first out (LIFO), or average cost method. Businesses use the weighted average to determine the amount that goes into the inventory and the cost of goods sold (COGS).

However, the averaging process reduces the effects of buying or not buying. To calculate a weighted average when the total weights add up to 1, first gather the numbers you’d like to average. For example, if you’re averaging the scores of a series of class assignments, make a list of the scores first. For instance, each score might be worth a certain percentage of the final grade. If the weights are expressed as percentages, convert them to decimals to get the weighting factor for each number.

The average, or arithmetic mean, of a series of items means you simply add up all the item values and divide by the total number of items to calculate the average. A weighted average is an average where each value has a specific weight or frequency assigned to it. There are two main cases where you’ll generally use a weighted average instead of a traditional average. The first is when you’ll want to calculate an average that is based on different percentage values for several categories. The second case is when you have a group of items and each has a frequency associated with it.

After finding the weighting factors, multiply each number in your data set to its corresponding weighting factor. Finish up by adding the resulting numbers together to get the weighted average.

When using the weighted average method, you divide the cost of goods available for sale by the number of units available for sale, which yields the weighted-average cost per unit. This weighted average figure is then used to assign a cost to both ending inventory and the COGS. To illustrate an inventory method change, assume BC Co. is a retail business. BC switches from dollar-value LIFO to FIFO as of Jan. 1, 20X0, for both financial accounting and income taxation. The inventory at FIFO is \$20 million, and the dollar- value LIFO reserve is \$4 million.

To get a weighted average of the price paid, the investor multiplies 100 shares by \$10 for year one and 50 shares by \$40 for year two, and then adds the results to get a total of \$3,000. Then the total amount paid for the shares, \$3,000 in this case, is divided by the number of shares acquired over both years, 150, to get the weighted average price paid of \$20. The four inventory costing methods, specific identification, FIFO, LIFO, and weighted-average, involve assumptions about how costs flow through a business.

In these types of situations, using a weighted average can be much quicker and easier than the traditional method of adding up each individual value and dividing by the total. This is especially useful when you are dealing with large data sets that may contain hundreds or even thousands of items but only a finite number of choices. When evaluating companies to discern whether their shares are correctly priced, investors use the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) to discount a company’s cash flows. WACC is weighted based on the market value of debt and equity in a company’s capital structure. For example, say an investor acquires 100 shares of a company in year one at \$10, and 50 shares of the same stock in year two at \$40.

• The COGS is an important figure for businesses, investors, and analysts as it is subtracted from sales revenue to determine gross margin on the income statement.
• Businesses that sell products to customers have to deal with inventory, which is either bought from a separate manufacturer or produced by the company itself.

## AccountingTools

### How do I calculate a weighted average?

When using the weighted average method, you divide the cost of goods available for sale by the number of units available for sale, which yields the weighted-average cost per unit. In this calculation, the cost of goods available for sale is the sum of beginning inventory and net purchases.

The average cost method uses a simple average of all similar items in inventory, regardless of purchase date, followed by a count of final inventory items at the end of an accounting period. Multiplying the average cost per item by the final inventory count gives the company a figure for the cost of goods available for sale at that point. The same average cost is also applied to the number of items sold in the previous accounting period to determine the cost of goods sold. A change from LIFO to any other method will impact the balance sheet as well as the income statement in the year of the change.

The LIFO reserve is a contra-asset or asset reduction account that companies use to adjust downward the cost of inventory carried at FIFO to LIFO. Many companies use dollarvalue LIFO, since this method applies inflation factors to “inventory pools” rather than adjusting individual inventory items. Companies that are on LIFO for taxation and financial reporting typically use FIFO internally for pricing, purchasing and other inventory management functions. Thus, a typical change in inventory method, such as from average cost to FIFO, is treated retrospectively. When using the weighted average method, divide the cost of goods available for sale by the number of units available for sale, which yields the weighted-average cost per unit.

Equally, the COGS will reflect a cost somewhere between that of the oldest and newest units that were sold during the period. Therefore, CPAs may be called upon to help manage inventory method changes. The change would place companies in violation of the conformity requirement. Absent relief from the Treasury Department, it would require them to change their tax method of inventory reporting. ### What is weighted average with example?

When using the weighted average method, you divide the cost of goods available for sale by the number of units available for sale, which yields the weighted-average cost per unit. In this calculation, the cost of goods available for sale is the sum of beginning inventory and net purchases.

In addition to the simplicity of applying the average cost method, income cannot be as easily manipulated as with the other inventory costing methods. Companies that sell products that are indistinguishable from each other or that find it difficult to find the cost associated with individual units will prefer to use the average cost method. This also helps when there are large volumes of similar items moving through inventory, making it time-consuming to track each individual item.

Inventory is not as badly understated as under LIFO, but it is not as up-to-date as under FIFO. A company can manipulate income under the weighted-average costing method by buying or failing to buy goods near year-end.

## Benefits of the weighted average cost method

For example, businesses that adopt the average cost method need to continue to use this method for future accounting periods. This principle is in place for the ease of financial statement users so that figures on the financials can be compared year over year. A company that changes its inventory costing method must highlight the change in its footnotes to the financial statements. The average cost method requires minimal labor to apply and is, therefore, the least expensive of all the methods.

For example, let’s say you teach one section of a chemistry course and want to find the average score on the most recent exam. However, since there are a total of 800 students in the class, across four sections, the traditional method of finding an average would involve adding up 800 individual numbers. However, using a weighted average would probably only involve using 40 to 50 different numbers, along with their frequencies. The second case is when you have a group of items that each has a frequency associated with it.

You can store inventory stock without the need to designate which batch it belongs to and you don’t need to trace the original cost before pricing items, simply marking up the average price of the stock units. The result of using the weighted average cost method is that the recorded amount of on-hand inventory will represent a value somewhere between the oldest and most recent stock units purchased.

As the name suggests, a weighted average is one where the different numbers you’re working with have different values, or weights, relative to each other. For example, you may need to find a weighted average if you’re trying to calculate your grade in a class where different assignments are worth different percentages of your total grade. The procedure you use will be a little different depending on whether or not your total weights add up to 1 (or 100%). The ending inventory valuation is \$45,112 (175 units × \$257.78 weighted average cost), while the cost of goods sold valuation is \$70,890 (275 units × \$257.78 weighted average cost). The sum of these two amounts (less a rounding error) equals the \$116,000 total actual cost of all purchases and beginning inventory.