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5.9: Appendix A: The Periodic Inventory System

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    30656
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    • Contributed by Henry Dauderis and David Annand
    • Athabasca University
    • Sourced from Lyryx Learning

    learning objective

    LO7 – Explain and identify the entries regarding purchase and sales transactions in a periodic inventory system.

    The perpetual inventory system maintains a continuous, real-time balance in both Merchandise Inventory, a balance sheet account, and Cost of Goods Sold, an income statement account. As a result, the Merchandise inventory general ledger account balance should always equal the value of physical inventory on hand at any point in time. Additionally, the Cost of Goods Sold general ledger account balance should always equal the total cost of merchandise inventory sold for the accounting period. The accounts should perpetually agree; hence the name. An alternate system is considered below, called the periodic inventory system.

    Description of the Periodic Inventory System

    The periodic inventory system does not maintain a constantly-updated merchandise inventory balance. Instead, ending inventory is determined by a physical count and valued at the end of an accounting period. The change in inventory is recorded only periodically. Additionally, a Cost of Goods Sold account is not maintained in a periodic system. Instead, cost of goods sold is calculated at the end of the accounting period.

    When goods are purchased using the periodic inventory system, the cost of merchandise is recorded in a Purchases account in the general ledger, rather than in the Merchandise Inventory account as is done under the perpetual inventory system. The Purchases account is an income statement account that accumulates the cost of merchandise acquired for resale.

    The journal entry, assuming a purchase of merchandise on credit, is:

    General Journal
    Date Account/Explanation F Debit Credit
    Purchases XX
    Accounts Payable XX

    Purchase Returns and Allowances (Periodic)

    Under the periodic inventory system, any purchase returns or purchase allowances are accumulated in a separate account called Purchase Returns and Allowances, an income statement account, and recorded as:

    General Journal
    Date Account/Explanation F Debit Credit
    Accounts Payable XX
    Purchase Returns and Allowances XX

    Purchase Returns and Allowances is a contra expense account and the balance is deducted from Purchases when calculating cost of goods sold on the income statement.

    Purchase Discounts (Periodic)

    Another contra expense account, Purchase Discounts, accumulates reductions in the purchase price of merchandise if payment is made within a time period specified in the supplier's invoice and recorded as:

    General Journal
    Date Account/Explanation F Debit Credit
    Accounts Payable XX
    Purchase Discounts XX

    Transportation (Periodic)

    Under the periodic inventory system, an income statement account called Transportation-in is used to accumulate transportation or freight charges on merchandise purchased for resale. The Transportation-in account is used in calculating the cost of goods sold on the income statement. It is recorded as:

    General Journal
    Date Account/Explanation F Debit Credit
    Transportation-In XX
    Cash or Accounts Payable XX

    At the end of the accounting period, cost of goods sold must be calculated which requires that the balance in Merchandise Inventory be determined. To determine the end of the period balance in Merchandise Inventory, a physical count of inventory is performed. The total value of the inventory as identified by the physical count becomes the ending balance in Merchandise Inventory. Cost of goods sold can then be calculated as follows:

    Beginning Balance of Merchandise Inventory XX
    Plus: Net Cost of Goods Purchased* XX
    Less: Ending Balance of Merchandise Inventory XX
    Equals: Cost of Goods Sold XX
    *Net Cost of Goods Purchased is calculated as:

    Purchases

    XX

    Less: Purchase Returns and Allowances

    XX

    Less: Purchase Discounts

    XX

    Equals: Net Purchases

    XX

    Add: Transportation-In

    XX

    Equals: Net Cost of Goods Purchased

    XX

    Closing Entries (Periodic)

    In the perpetual inventory system, the Merchandise Inventory account is continuously updated and is adjusted at the end of the accounting period based on a physical inventory count. In the periodic inventory system, the balance in Merchandise Inventory does not change during the accounting period. As a result, at the end of the accounting period, the balance in Merchandise Inventory in a periodic system is the beginning balance. In order for the Merchandise Inventory account to reflect the ending balance as determined by the physical inventory count, the beginning inventory balance must be removed by crediting Merchandise Inventory, and the ending inventory balance entered by debiting it. This is accomplished as part of the closing process. Closing entries for a merchandiser that uses a periodic inventory system are illustrated below using the adjusted trial balance information for Norva Inc.


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    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    When the closing entries above are posted and a post-closing trial balance prepared as shown below, notice that the Merchandise Inventory account reflects the correct balance based on the physical inventory count.

    Norva Inc.

    Adjusted Trial Balance

    At December 31, 2015

    Debits Credits
    Cash $15,000
    Merchandise inventory 2,000
    Accounts payable $ 5,000
    Common shares 8,000
    Retained earnings 4,000
    Totals $17,000 $17,000