Chapter 8 - Solution Manual

3 it allows an artificial determination of income by

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(3) It allows an artificial determination of income by permitting arbitrary selection of the items to be sold from a homogenous group. (4) It may not be a meaningful method of assigning costs in periods of changing price levels. b. The first-in, first-out method approximates the specific identification method when the physical flow of goods is on a FIFO basis. When the goods are subject to spoilage or deterioration, FIFO is particularly appropriate. In comparison to the specific identification method, an attractive
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150 aspect of FIFO is the elimination of the danger of artificial determination of income by the selection of advantageously priced items to be sold. The basic assumption is that costs should be charged in the order in which occurred. As a result the inventories are stated at the latest costs. When the inventory is consumed and valued in the FIFO manner, there is no accounting recognition of unrealized gain or loss. A criticism of the FIFO method is that it maximizes the effects of price fluctuations upon reported income because current revenue is matched with the oldest costs which are probably least similar to current replacement costs. On the other hand, this method produces a balance sheet value for the asset close to current replacement costs. It is claimed that FIFO is deceptive when used in a period of rising prices because the reported profit is not fully available since a part of it must be used to replace inventory at a higher cost. The results achieved by weighted average method resemble those of the specific identification method where items are chosen at random or there is a rapid inventory turnover. Compared with the specific identification method, the weighted average has the advantage that the goods need not be individually identified; therefore accounting is not so costly and the method can be applied to fungible goods. The weighted average method is also appropriate when there is no marked trend in price changes. In opposition, it is argued that the method is illogical. Since it assumes that all sales are made proportionally from all purchases and that inventories will always include units from the first purchases, it is argued that the method is illogical because it is contrary to the chronological flow of goods. In addition, in periods of price changes there is a lag between current costs and costs assigned to income or to the valuation of inventories. If it be assumed that actual cost is the appropriate method of valuing inventories, last-in, first-out is not theoretically correct. In general, LIFO is directly adverse to the specific identification method because the goods are not valued in accordance with their usual physical flow. An exception is the application of LIFO to piled coal or ores which are more or less consumed in a LIFO manner. Proponents argue that LIFO provides a better matching of current costs and revenues.
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