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1. ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS 1. Where there is evidence that the utility of goods to be disposed of in the ordinary course of busi-ness will be less than cost, the difference should be recognized as a loss in the current period, and the inventory should be stated at market value in the financial statements. 2. The upper (ceiling) and lower (floor) limits for the value of the inventory are intended to prevent the inventory from being reported at an amount in excess of the net realizable value or at an amount less than the net realizable value less a normal profit margin. The maximum limitation, not to exceed the net realizable value (ceiling) covers obsolete, damaged, or shopworn material and prevents overstatement of inventories and understatement of the loss in the current period. The minimum limitation deters understatement of inventory and overstatement of the loss in the current period. 3. The usual basis for carrying forward the inventory to the next period is cost. Departure from cost is required, however, when the utility of the goods included in the inventory is less than their cost. This loss in utility should be recognized as a loss of the current period, the period in which it occurred. Furthermore, the subsequent period should be charged for goods at an amount that measures their expected contribution to that period. In other words, the subsequent period should be charged for inventory at prices no higher than those which would have been paid if the inventory had been obtained at the beginning of that period. (Historically, the lower-of-cost-or-market rule arose from the accounting convention of providing for all losses and anticipating no profits.) In accordance with the foregoing reasoning, the rule of “cost or market, whichever is lower” may be applied to each item in the inventory, to the total of the components of each major category, or to the total of the inventory, whichever most clearly reflects operations. The rule is usually applied to each item, but if individual inventory items enter into the same category or categories of finished product, alternative procedures are suitable. The arguments against the use of the lower-of-cost-or-market method of valuing inventories include the following: (a) The method requires the reporting of estimated losses (all or a portion of the excess of actual cost over replacement cost) as definite income charges even though the losses have not been sustained to date and may never be sustained. Under a consistent criterion of realization a drop in replacement cost below original cost is no more a sustained loss than a rise above cost is a realized gain. (b) A price shrinkage is brought into the income statement before the loss has been sustained through sale. Furthermore, if the charge for the inventory write-downs is not made to a special loss account, the cost figure for goods actually sold is inflated by the amount of the estimated shrinkage in price of the unsold goods. The title “Cost of
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This note was uploaded on 06/08/2010 for the course BUSINESS 3502 taught by Professor Drjo during the Spring '10 term at UCM.

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