Date of Completion

Spring 5-10-2009

Thesis Advisor(s)

George Plesko

Honors Major



Accounting | Business


I propose that the Last in, First out (LIFO) inventory valuation method needs to be reevaluated. I will evaluate the impact of the LIFO method on earnings of publically traded companies with a LIFO reserve over the past 10 years.

I will begin my proposal with the history of how the LIFO method became an acceptable valuation method and discuss the significance of LIFO within the accounting profession Next I will provide a description of LIFO, the First in, First out (FIFO), and the weighted average inventory valuation methods and explore the differences among each. More specifically, I will explore the arguments for and against the use of the LIFO method and the potential shift towards financial standards that do not allow LIFO (a standard adopted and influenced by the International Financial Accounting Standards Board).

Data will be collected from Compustat for publicly traded companies (with a LIFO Reserve) for the past 10 years. I will document which firms use LIFO, analyze trends relating to LIFO usage and LIFO reserves (the difference in the cost of inventory between using LIFO and FIFO), and evaluate the effect on earnings. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the accuracy of LIFO in portraying earnings and to see how much tax has gone uncollected over the years because of the use of LIFO. Moreover, I will provide an opinion as to whether U.S. GAAP should adopt a standard similar to IFRS and ban the LIFO method.

Included in

Accounting Commons