What Is the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)?

What Is the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

The Cost of Goods Sold, commonly referred to as COGS, is calculated by adding the cost of inventory at the start of the year to purchases and overhead costs, then subtracting the ending inventory’s cost. COGS tells us the direct cost associated with the production of the goods sold by a company during a specific period. It includes the cost of materials, direct labor costs involved in producing goods, and any other direct costs related to the production of the goods sold.

Related Questions

1. How is COGS different from expenses?

COGS is the cost incurred to produce the goods sold by a company and is directly tied to profit generation. On the other hand, expenses refer to the costs that do not directly contribute to the production or acquisition of goods but are necessary for the overall operation of the business, like rent, utilities, and salaries.

2. Why is COGS important for a business?

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COGS is essential because it directly influences the profitability and gross margin of a business. A firm can improve its gross margin by having a low COGS. It’s also used in determining efficiency regarding the production and pricing of goods.

3. Is COGS applicable to all types of businesses?

COGS is most applicable to businesses that sell physical goods, either produced or purchased for resale—like manufacturing, wholesale, or retail businesses. For service businesses, COGS is replaced by Cost of Services, which is similar in nature but covers the direct costs related to providing services.

4. Can COGS be more than the total sales of a company?

Yes, it’s possible, though not desired. If a company’s COGS exceeds its total sales, it means the company is selling its products at a loss. It’s a significant red flag that necessitates immediate attention and strategy revision.

5. What can increase the COGS of a company?

Several factors can increase the COGS, including increased raw material costs, higher direct labor costs, production inefficiencies leading to increased waste, or higher overhead costs linked with the production process.