Freight and Shipping: COGS or Expense?

Accounting software doesn’t always report the Cost of Sales as a separate category on the P&L. If it is not a separate category on your P&L, then include it as an account in the Cost of Goods Sold section. You want those costs to be factored into your Gross Profit calculation.

Including all of your costs in the COGS calculation will help you make sure that you don’t miss any tax deductions. If they are not an integral part of the final product, their costs are shipping or selling (normal business) expenses. If I sell items online and ship them to customers, as the shipper of the items (not the receiver of the items), do I count the shipping postage cost as a regular expense or as a COGS. It seems to me that it would be a regular expense, but I want to make sure. This method is a reverse-production approach that states that the ending inventory at hand is the oldest units of products and the newest units have been sold.

From market research to product development, sourcing, manufacturing, and warehousing, each step incurs costs that need proper accounting. Understanding these inventory-related expenses is vital for your business’s long-term success. Let’s explore and organize the typical costs to ensure accurate accounting. The special identification method uses the specific cost of each unit of merchandise (also called inventory or goods) to calculate the ending inventory and COGS for each period. In this method, a business knows precisely which item was sold and the exact cost. Further, this method is typically used in industries that sell unique items like cars, real estate, and rare and precious jewels.


Typically, the CFO or other certified accounting professional would handle these calculations because it’s not as simple as the example above would suggest. However, for the DIY CEO, calculating cost of goods sold requires a bit of information prep beforehand in order to report accurately. Considering that 60% of small business owners feel they don’t have enough knowledge about accounting and finance, it’s a good idea to understand how COGS can impact your accounting and sales. It’s so nice to see exactly what the average shipping cost is and make sure the number that my Shopify store has customers paying matches what’s in the ShipBob dashboard. Having those kinds of metrics on hand at any point is incredible.

  • Experts recommend also considering your target market and audience with COGS to determine your product price.
  • It excludes indirect expenses, such as distribution costs and sales force costs.
  • The balance sheet only captures a company’s financial health at the end of an accounting period.
  • It’s so nice to see exactly what the average shipping cost is and make sure the number that my Shopify store has customers paying matches what’s in the ShipBob dashboard.

Inventory shrinkage can occur due to issues like shipping damage, theft, or even human error. It’s an important metric to calculate because it’s necessary for maintaining a more accurate record in your accounting and tax calculations. When you price your products right, you’re able to effectively cover your costs and also maintain a healthy profit margin while remaining competitive. If you don’t know how much money you are spending to create or acquire products, it will be difficult (if not impossible) to correctly determine if you are turning a profit. Tracking and calculating COGS meticulously enables you to get a more accurate sense of your business’s profitability, which is a key factor in the overall financial health of your business. Profit First Cash Flow System helps you set aside the right percentage for freight and shipping expenses, ensuring you’re prepared to cover those costs when needed.

Rachel Hand

This information can help you make better decisions on investments – whether you need to invest more in your operations or improve the way you manage your inventory. Reducing your cost of goods sold should be an ongoing process rather than a one-time endeavor as it helps you stay competitive while increasing profits over time. When it comes to lowering your cost of goods sold and reducing shipping expenses, there are several strategies you can try. forecasting the balance sheet For example, you could negotiate better rates with carriers or find ways to consolidate shipments so that each individual shipment is less expensive. If the company is paying the supplier for shipping, even when they forward that cost on to the member, it is still part of the COGS because the company does, in fact, incur a cost. The fact that shipping is passed on to the customer has no bearing whether the shipping is a cost of doing business.

Importance of calculating cost of goods sold

For example, say your small business makes and sells tapestries. Within your first quarter, your business buys the materials to make 10 tapestries. At the beginning of the quarter, it cost $50 to make each tapestry, and you made 7 tapestries.

The cost of goods sold (COGS) is a crucial metric that measures the direct costs involved in producing or acquiring the products that you sell. In other words, it’s the total amount of money you spend on materials, labor and manufacturing expenses to create your product. Cost of goods sold (COGS) is an important line item on an income statement.

Businesses must track all of the costs that are directly and indirectly involved in producing and distributing their products for sale. These costs are called cost of goods sold (COGS), and this calculation appears in the company’s profit and loss statement (P&L). It’s also an important part of the information the company must report on its tax return.

This will then allow you to accurately calculate your COGS, and minimize the impact of human error. For example, a toy painter’s labor hours count as a COGS expense, as the toys they paint are ultimately sold. However, a consulting lawyer’s labor hours would not be permitted as a COGS expense, because the lawyer’s work does not produce a physical, sellable product.

What is COGS? The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide for Retailers

For example, if improving gross margin is a key company initiative, the procurement team should negotiate more favorable terms with vendors to realize cash savings. The controller may also inquire with supply chain personnel regarding the timing of shipping orders to customers, which impacts COGS. When you add your inventory purchases to your beginning inventory, you see the total available inventory that could be sold in the period. By subtracting what inventory was leftover at the end of the period, you calculate the total cost of the goods you sold of that available inventory. Whether your company is a brick-and-mortar store that’s adapting to more remote options or an e-commerce company that primarily ships goods, the costs add up.

Understanding gross profit

She calculates that the overhead adds 0.5 per hour to her costs. Thus, Jane has spent 20 to improve each machine (10/2 + 12 + (6 x 0.5) ). If she used FIFO, the cost of machine D is 12 plus 20 she spent improving it, for a profit of 13.

Freight and Shipping – What’s the Difference?

For the latter, these products can be donated to charities for a little extra goodwill. Whether you sell jam, t-shirts, or digital downloads, you’ll need to know how much inventory you start the year with to calculate the cost of goods sold. Retailers need to track the cost of goods sold (COGS) to ensure they are profitable and reporting expenses to the IRS correctly. In addition to COGS, there are a few other formulas businesses will need to use to understand their overall profitability and business health. Since this method isn’t affected by purchase or production date, the COGS is less likely to be impacted by cost fluctuations. Therefore, it’s important to do physical inventory counts to verify whether your records are accurate.

In as much as business owners seek to create products or offer services that provide innovative solutions to their customer’s problems, they also want to make money while doing that. Shipping can be considered a part of cost of goods sold depending on the circumstances. It’s important to understand how to properly calculate cost of goods sold and determine what expenses should be included in it. Calculating your COGS is essential for determining your gross profit margin, which is what’s left over after deducting COGS from your revenue. By understanding this metric, you can make informed decisions about pricing and profitability while also identifying areas where cost-cutting measures might be necessary. Gross profit is your revenue—the income you are left with after deducting your total COGS and operating expenses, and before you even begin to consider tax.

COGS is deducted from your gross receipts to figure the gross profit for your business each year. Gross receipts are the amounts your business received from sales during the year. In your situation, the shipping expenses would be considered a normal/general business expense and not cost of goods sold. COGS also helps you figure out your company’s financial capacity to pay back debts, if you cut down on payroll costs, or if it’s best for you to shut down your business operations. Operating expenses is a term that’s quite popular among business and accounting professionals. Although it entails business-related costs, it is the opposite of the cost of goods sold.