An important note to consider is that what is the difference between adjusting entries and correcting entries can vary greatly. Some inventory might have one stage of machining done and other inventory might have all but one stage of machining done. Any materials during the manufacturing process are considered work in process inventory. As mentioned above, the difference between the two terms is based on their stages of completion.

It refers to the goods in the manufacturing process, but you still need to complete them. Because it is difficult and time-consuming to calculate, most merchants try to have as much inventory as possible in the finished goods state before the end of a reporting period. This straightforward explanation of what is WIP (Work in Process) Inventory includes a step-by-step formula and explanation of the place of WIP inventory in the end-to-end supply chain. Katana’s ERP is the perfect solution if you want to improve your WIP tracking and management.

Work in process items usually transfer to inventory, then are used to determine cost of goods sold. Work in progress is usually reported as a capital asset and depreciated when completed. Some companies may attempt to complete all work in process items for simpler, cleaner financial statements. Though not required, the goal is to eliminate any pending products to only report completed goods. When these goods are completed, they are often transferred to inventory to later to be treated as a cost of good sold when purchased by a customer. Many businesses turn to short-term financings, such as work in the process of inventory financing, to solve short-term cash flow concerns.

Work in Process Inventory

Figuring out WIP inventory is an involved process because it involves associating a cost with a percentage of completion. And that’s why it’s standard practice to minimize WIP inventory before reporting. There’s less risk to assume and less uncertainty to wrestle with on the balance sheet. Lean manufacturing principles aim to reduce waste and improve operational efficiency within the production process.

By regularly calculating WIP inventory, you’ll be able to identify areas where you may need additional resources. You can also adjust processes by focusing on things like reducing waste or increasing efficiency, ultimately leading to increased profits over time. To help you better understand how to determine the current WIP inventory in production, here are some examples. A high WIP inventory number can indicate that your production process isn’t flowing smoothly and that there may be bottlenecks in the process. By tracking WIP, you can pinpoint and eliminate these problems before they hurt your bottom line. The WIP figure indicates your company has $60,000 worth of inventory that’s neither raw material nor finished goods—that’s your work in process inventory.


Work in process in production and supply chain management refers to the total cost of unfinished goods currently in production. Calculating the value of WIP inventory involves associating a cost with a percentage of completion. This can be a bit time-consuming, so it’s typically best to tally it up at the end of your accounting period to minimize uncertainty on your company’s balance sheet. Your balance sheet may be impacted by understanding how to calculate WIP inventory appropriately. It’s critical to comprehend how WIP inventory functions, what factors affect its cost, and how to compute it at the conclusion of the accounting period if your company sells highly customised items. Based on how much it costs to create and manufacture completed items, this will give you an idea of COGS.

Calculating Work in Process – Work in Process Inventory Formula

The cost of purchasing a product factors into what it costs to make it (e.g., raw materials, labor, and production). Thus, your ending WIP inventory is essential to know for inventory accounting. Work in process inventory is the stage immediately before it becomes a finished good. They aren’t yet ready for sale and are still listed under the inventory asset account in a company’s balance sheet. The inputted value of work in process inventory is often not the final amount, as other costs for packaging, storage, and transportation are also added in later steps.

Work in Process Inventory (WIP): Definition, Formula, and Examples

The total WIP inventory value is the ending work in process inventory for an accounting period—and the beginning work in process inventory for the next accounting period. This ending inventory figure is listed as a current asset on a balance sheet. Once the manufacturer starts the machining and production process, these raw materials can’t really be considered raw anymore. Now they a small amount of work done on to them, but they are not completely finished and ready to be sold. That is why materials that are in the production process but not fully finished are called work in process inventory. Work in process in manufacturing refers to the inventory on which the manufacturing process has begun.

Accountants use the percentage of total raw materials, overhead costs, and labor that a company has incurred in determining the number of units partially completed in work in most situations. The cost of raw materials is the first cost incurred by companies for the production process since raw materials are required for production before any labor costs are incurred. Work in process or WIP inventory refers to items in the manufacturing stage and being prepared to become a finished good for sale.

Having too much WIP inventory can lead to increased costs due to storage fees, higher labor costs, and slower turnaround times for orders. The cost of WIP inventory is a bit more complex than determining the value of finished goods, as there are many more moving parts. Before attempting to calculate your current WIP inventory value, here are some terms you will need to know first. Taking time to classify WIP inventory in a warehouse waiting to be assembled might seem tedious, but it’s crucial for monitoring and improving your supply chain and inventory control. In a bind, a company will find it much easier to liquidate work in process items. Though these goods are incomplete and still require some work to become finalized goods, the timespan in doing so is much shorter than work in progress goods.

Pros And Cons Work in Process Inventory

Consider an example of a car manufacturing company involved in assembling care. It involves multiple workstations for systematically performing varying operations after finishing and painting cars. You will see more costs adding to the cost of production when cars keep moving from department to department.

Work-in-process inventory refers to all materials to be used in the production of finished goods. Thus, work-in-process stock includes raw materials, overhead costs, and human labor, waiting to be assembled, manufactured, and sold. However, the nature of each may be slightly different and require different accounting treatment. This account of inventory, like the work in progress, may include direct labor, materials, and manufacturing overheads. A company often uses internal allocation methods to determine the estimated financial value of work in progress. For example, the company must not only assess the financial value of incomplete goods but estimate what percent complete its products are.

Using real-time data, manufacturers can monitor the flow of materials and goods through the production process, identify bottlenecks, and make adjustments to improve efficiency. The difference between WIP and finished goods is based on the inventory’s stage of relative completion, which, in this instance, means saleability. Finished goods refer to the final stage of inventory, in which the product has reached a level of completion where the subsequent stage is the sale to a customer.

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