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Product inventory for both manufacturing and merchandising firms is treated as an asset on their balance sheets. As long as the inventory has market value, it is considered an asset until the inventory is sold; then the cost of the inventory is transferred to the income statement as cost of goods sold. It is helpful, in understanding product costs for a manufacturer, to con- sider the value chain. The value chain of a manufacturer begins with the upstream activities of design, product development, and new product testing and then moves to manufacturing, followed by the downstream activities of distribution, sales, and customer service. The costs of the upstream and downstream activities are not product...