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Next-In, First-Out (NIFO)


Next-In, First-Out (NIFO) is a hypothetical inventory valuation method. It is based on the assumption that the cost of the items of inventory that are sold is equal to the cost of the items of similar inventory that are to be acquired or produced in the future. The method is not acceptable under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) or International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) due to its speculative nature.


The phonetics for the keyword “Next-In, First-Out (NIFO)” would be: Next: /nɛkst/In: /ɪn/First: /fɜːrst/Out: /aʊt/NIFO: /ˈnaɪfoʊ/ Putting it all together, it would sound like, “Next-In, First-Out (Nigh-foh)”.

Key Takeaways


  1. Next-In, First-Out (NIFO) is an inventory valuation method which assumes that the goods most recently added to the inventory are the first ones to be sold. This is the opposite of traditional method, First-In, First-Out (FIFO), where it is assumed the oldest inventories are sold first.
  2. Although NIFO can give a more accurate cost at times of rising prices, it isn’t widely used in practice because the actual physical flow of goods may not follow this order. This could lead to older stock remaining unsold while newer inventory is depleted. Furthermore, most accounting standards like GAAP and IFRS don’t recognise NIFO as a valid inventory costing method.
  3. NIFO could potentially minimize income taxes during times of inflation since the cost of goods sold (COGS) would be higher (assuming costs have increased), reducing taxable income. However, because it isn’t widely accepted or used, companies should consult with a financial advisor before considering this method.



The concept of Next-In, First-Out (NIFO) is significant in business and finance, primarily for inventory valuation and cost control purposes. This theoretical method assumes that the merchandise that businesses will sell or use first is the merchandise that they will receive or produce next. By applying the NIFO method, businesses can predict and prepare for future costs of inventory with an even higher degree of accuracy than traditional methods like LIFO or FIFO. Consequently, this allows for more precise financial planning, better cost management, and a more accurate representation of profitability by matching current selling prices with current purchase or production costs.


The Next-In, First-Out (NIFO) approach is primarily employed as an inventory valuation and cost-flow assumption method in finance and business. The core intention of using NIFO is to conceptualize the value of inventory by estimating the cost of replacing the current inventory items on the premise that the next items to be purchased will be the first ones to be sold. This method is particularly useful in times of changing prices, as it provides a more realistic reflection of present conditions and market values.NIFO is utilized to derive accurate inventory valuation and ensure efficient cost management. It plays a vital role in gauging the cost of goods sold (COGS), a key metric that influences gross profit margins of businesses. By mirroring predicted future costs rather than historical ones, it helps businesses have a forward-looking approach to their accounting. However, it should be noted that NIFO is more of a theoretical method and it is not accepted by GAAP or IRS for financial reporting purposes due to its speculative nature.


Next-In, First-Out (NIFO) is a theoretical inventory valuation method and is not commonly used in real-world business scenarios due to its unpredictable and constantly changing nature. This valuation method hypothetically considers the cost of replacing the item sold or used rather than the actual historical cost of that item. It differs greatly from more popular inventory valuation methods like First-In, First-Out (FIFO) or Last-In, First-Out (LIFO) which are widely used in business. Thus, real-world examples of NIFO are challenging to provide.However, one can assume some hypothetical situations where the principle of NIFO might be applied:1. Commodity Trading: A company dealing in commodity trading, where the prices fluctuate frequently, might anticipate the next cost of procurement for setting their selling price. For instance, if a gold trader expects that the next consignment of gold will be costlier due to market conditions, they might sell their current inventory at a rate considering the expected increased cost.2. Oil and Gas Industry: In industries like oil and gas, where the cost of extraction can increase due to various factors like changes in regulations, environmental factors, or technological changes, companies might price their current inventory based on anticipated future extraction costs.3. Fashion and Apparel Industry: For a fast fashion retailer, the cost of manufacturing clothes might increase due to upcoming changes in textile prices, labor cost or taxation policies. To prepare for this, the retailer might decide to sell their current inventory at a price that reflects the anticipated higher cost of the next stock.Please note that these examples are purely hypothetical, as NIFO is not commonly practiced due to its lack of practicality and unpredictability. The most common methods used are FIFO, LIFO and Weighted Average Cost method. NIFO may not give a true and fair view of the financial performance and position of the company. It is also not generally accepted by accounting standards.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What does Next-In, First-Out (NIFO) mean?

NIFO is a method used in inventory management and cost allocation. It assumes that the next goods to be added to the inventory will be the first ones to be used or sold.

How does the NIFO method affect a company’s financial reports?

NIFO affects the value of inventory in the balance sheet by assuming that the newest inventory items are sold first. This can impact reported earnings and taxes.

Is NIFO commonly used in businesses?

No, NIFO is not as widely used as other inventory valuation methods like FIFO (First-In, First-Out) or LIFO (Last-In, First-Out) because it can lead to unpredictable variances in reported inventory costs.

In which situations would a company choose to use NIFO?

Businesses might use NIFO when they expect the cost of their inventory items to decrease over time, or when they want to match their latest costs to their current revenues.

How can NIFO impact a company’s taxes?

NIFO can potentially reduce a company’s reported income if the cost of items most recently added to the inventory is higher than those bought earlier. As a result, this may decrease the company’s tax liabilities.

How does NIFO compare to FIFO and LIFO?

NIFO, like FIFO and LIFO, is a method of inventory valuation. Unlike FIFO, which assumes the oldest items are sold first, or LIFO, which assumes the newest items are sold first, NIFO presumes that the items most recently acquired will be the first to go.

Are there any legal restrictions on using NIFO?

The use of NIFO can vary depending on specific country’s accounting laws. While it is less commonly used, it is not typically restricted outright.

What are some disadvantages of using the NIFO approach?

The major disadvantage of NIFO is its unpredictability. Because it is based on future costs, it can result in inconsistent valuations and make a company’s financial situation more difficult to analyze.

What types of entities are more likely to use the NIFO costing method?

While NIFO is uncommon, it might be more likely utilized by businesses that deal with commodities or items whose costs frequently fluctuate.

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