Understanding Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) and Its Calculation

Whether you are a business owner or simply an industrial enthusiast, understanding the basic financial terms can come a handy, especially something as important as Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). It’s an essential element in determining not just the businesses’ profitability but also in shaping the pricing strategies.

What is Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)?

Concept of Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)

The Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) is the accumulated total of all costs used to create a product or service, which has been sold. It includes the cost of materials and labor directly used to create the product. It excludes indirect expenses such as distribution and sales force costs.

Why is COGS important?

Significance of COGS in a business

Knowing your COGS is crucial in many business aspects. COGS is directly proportionate to your company’s profitability. Besides, it’s a deductible business expense that reduces your taxable income, thus, potentially reducing the company’s tax liability. It also provides insights into pricing strategies, inventory management, and overall cost control.

How to Calculate COGS?

Method to calculate COGS

The calculation of COGS differs based on your accounting method, but the general formula is: COGS = Opening Inventory + Purchases – Closing Inventory. It’s crucial to be consistent in using the same method for the calculation to ensure accuracy and compliance.

COGS Calculation Examples

Let’s take a practical approach to understand COGS calculation. Assume a company that sells handmade shoes. The opening inventory at the beginning of the year was $10,000, and throughout the year, the company made additional purchases worth $5,000. At the end of the year, the remaining inventory was $3,000. So, the COGS for this company for the year will be: $10,000 + $5,000 – $3,000 = $12,000.


Understanding COGS can be a great asset for any business. It provides valuable insights into the operation cost, helps manage inventory, formulates pricing strategies, and helps reduce tax liabilities. A proper understanding and calculation of COGS can help you maximize profitability and streamline your business operations.

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