Perpetual vs Periodic Inventory System

Perpetual inventory system and periodic inventory systems are the two systems of keeping records of inventory.

In perpetual inventory system, merchandise inventory and cost of goods sold are updated continuously on each sale and purchase transaction. Some other transactions may also require an update to inventory account for example, sale/purchase return, purchase discounts etc. Purchases are directly debited to inventory account whereas for each sale two journal entries are made: one to record sale value of inventory and other to record cost of goods sold. Purchases account is not used in perpetual inventory system.

In periodic inventory system, merchandise inventory and cost of goods sold are not updated continuously. Instead purchases are recorded in Purchases account and each sale transaction is recorded via a single journal entry. Thus cost of goods sold account does not exist during the accounting period. It is determined at the end of accounting period via a closing entry.

Differences Between Perpetual and Periodic System

Following are the main differences between perpetual and periodic inventory systems:

Written by Irfanullah Jan