To help students understand (rather than memorize), we have used our combined 100+ years of teaching experience to develop some ‘tricks and techniques’ for the Inventory topic in Financial Accounting courses. We have found it effective to initially present material in a ‘simplified manner’, along with some visual props, designed to help students understand the concepts and proceed from that basis to the more difficult material later in the chapter. We start by changing the chapter title to “Inventory AND Cost of Goods Sold Expense”. Our approach is to constantly emphasize the impact of Inventory on Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). Simplistic examples using simple props are initially used for the various inventory costing methods. Our illustrations and visual aids may seem obvious and almost childish to do in a college classroom. However, for many students Financial Accounting is their first business course. Our simple examples have provided a number of those ‘ah ha’ moments.

This article is from the Accounting Instructors’ Report, an electronic journal that provides teaching tips and insights to those who teach accounting and other business courses.

Robert P. Derstine, Ph.D., CPA, Professor of Accounting, West Chester University
James M. Emig, Ph.D., CPA, Associate Professor Accountancy, Villanova University
Thomas J. Grant, Sr., M.B.A., CMA, Associate Professor of Accounting, Kutztown University

Read Financial Accounting Teaching Techniques to Aid Student Understanding of Merchandise Inventory/Cost of Goods Sold Expense Calculation and Inventory Costing Methods.