We’re fluent in startup finance. Now you can be too.

Learn more about common financial (and startup) terms here. To learn more about Pilot, fill out the form below.

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)

What is Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)?

Calculating the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) is an essential step in understanding the financial health of a business. COGS represents the total cost of producing goods or services that a company sells, and it plays a significant role in determining profitability. In this article, we'll explore the concept of COGS, how to calculate it, why it’s important, and ways to improve it.

How to calculate COGS

The formula for calculating the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) is as follows:

Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) = Beginning Inventory + Inventory Costs - Ending Inventory

COGS calculation example

Let's consider a real-world example of a small clothing retailer. We'll use the following data to calculate the COGS:

  • Beginning Inventory: $10,000
  • Inventory Costs: $8,000
  • Ending Inventory: $6,000

To calculate COGS, start by inputting Beginning Inventory, Inventory Costs, and Ending Inventory into the formula mentioned above:Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) = Beginning Inventory + Inventory Costs - Ending Inventory

COGS = $10,000 + $8,000 - $6,000

COGS = $18,000 - $6,000

COGS = $12,000

In this example, the COGS for the small clothing retailer is $12,000, which represents the total cost of producing the clothing items that were sold during that period.

Why is COGS important to understand?

Understanding the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) is important for businesses for several reasons:

  • Profitability assessment: COGS is a key component in calculating gross profit, which is the difference between revenue and COGS. By understanding COGS, businesses can evaluate their profitability and make informed decisions to improve their financial performance.
  • Cost management: Analyzing COGS helps businesses identify areas where they can reduce costs and improve efficiency. This can lead to better resource allocation, streamlined operations, and ultimately, lower COGS and higher profit margins.
  • Financial reporting and decision-making: COGS is essential in financial reporting, as it impacts key financial statements such as the income statement and balance sheet. Accurate COGS calculation is necessary for businesses to make data-driven decisions and maintain compliance with accounting standards.

Strategies for decreasing COGS

Here are some strategies that can help decrease your COGS:

  1. Optimize inventory management: Efficient inventory management can help reduce carrying costs and minimize the risk of obsolescence. Implementing inventory control systems can help businesses maintain optimal inventory levels and reduce COGS.
  2. Improve production efficiency: Streamlining production processes and implementing lean manufacturing techniques can help reduce waste, lower production costs, and ultimately decrease COGS. This may involve investing in automation, employee training, or process improvements.
  3. Negotiate with suppliers: Building strong relationships with suppliers and negotiating better pricing or payment terms can lead to cost savings that directly impact COGS. Additionally, exploring alternative suppliers or materials may result in lower costs without sacrificing product quality.

Need help with other finance or startup questions?

Pilot provides bookkeeping, CFO, and tax services for literally thousands of startups and growing businesses. We've successfully processed over 10 million transactions for our customers and have unparalleled expertise when it comes to helping businesses succeed.

We're the largest startup-focused accounting firm in the United States, and we'd love to help you. To talk to an expert on our team and find out what Pilot can do for you, please click "Talk to an Expert" below, or email us at info@pilot.com.

See what Pilot can do for you

Get the peace of mind that comes from partnering with our experienced finance team.

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.