Accounting for Consignment Inventory

Consignment inventory is the way that consignor allows the consignee to sell the inventory without paying for it. The consignee will require to pay the consignor only when the goods are sold. The goods belong to the consignor who will take full responsibility for any damage.

Consignee: is the party who sells products (usually the retailer) on behalf of the consignor.

Consignor: is the party who owns the products (usually the vendor or wholesale) but allows the consignee to sell on behalf of them.

Consignment Inventory Example

For example, Mr. A is a new author who just releases some books into the market. It is very hard for him to sell the books to the bookstore as the seller may doubt the sales performance of the books. They require to invest some capital on the book which may not be sold, so they may invest in other books which highly likely to be sold in a short time.

In order to solve this problem, Mr. A allows the seller to put the books on their shelve without paying until they are sold. Once a month, Mr. A and seller calculate the number of books sold. Seller give Mr. A the cost of the book sold and keep the profit. Both parties may add the additional books to prevent any shortage during the next month.

Consignment Inventory Journal Entry

The journal entry for consignment inventory is different from normal sale and purchase. It follows the principal and agent relationship. The consignor allows the consignee to collect the revenue on their behalf. The consignor still owns the inventory and takes full responsibility for any risk of unsold or obsolete.

1. Inventory Transfer to Consignee

Consignor: Company needs to separate the amount from a normal inventory which enables them to control the quantity.

Account Debit Credit
Consignment Inventory 000
Inventory 000

Consignee: The inventories’ ownership does not transfer to the consignee, so there no recording when the product send to the retailer. Any expenses incurred during the transfer paid by the consignor will not record too.

Note: Even we do not record any transaction into the financial statement, an accountant must maintain the proper listing which enables us to reconcile with the actual balance. In real practice, some companies may record into the consignment inventory and suspend accounts in order to control them. Both accounts will be eliminated from the financial statement at month-end. In this example, we will simplify by express only the accounting treatment.

2. Consignee sells the inventory

Consignee:  need to record cash/accounts receivable with the payable to the consignor.

Account Debit Credit
Cash/AR 000
Consignor’s Account (Liability) 000

Moreover, the consignee also needs to record the commission income which depends on the term and condition. They need to debit consignor account and credit commission income.

Account Debit Credit
Consignor’s Account (Liability) 000
Commission Income 000

Consignor: Do not record any transaction as they do not have any information. They have to wait till the month-end when the consignee send the selling report and cash.

3. Consignee pay the consignor

Consignee: The company need to settle the outstanding balance with consignor. They make journal entry by debiting consignor’s account and crediting cash.

Account Debit Credit
Consignor’s Account (Liability) 000
Cash 000

Consignor: first, they need to record sale revenue, commission expense, cash receipt from consignee. The company needs to debit cash, commission expense and credit sale.

Account Debit Credit
Cash 000
Commission Expenses 000
Sale Revenue 000

Second, they need to record COGS by debiting cost of goods sold and crediting consignment inventory.

Account Debit Credit
Cost of Goods Sold 000
Consignment Inventory 000

Consignment Inventory Example

For example, Company A (consignor) has made an agreement with Company B (consignee). On 01 January 202X, Consignor has transferred an inventory of 10,000 units to the consignee, they cost $10 per unit and the selling price is $ 15 per unit. Company A agrees to pay the sale commission 10% on the sale made.

  • During Transportation, Company A has paid $ 3,000 for the shipping
  • During January, Company B has sold 1,000 units
  • On 02 February, Company B has paid $ 13,500 (1,000 units * $ 15 * 90%) to Company A for the product sold.

Please prepare journal entries for both companies.

Consignor Consignee
01 January 2020
To separate the consignment inventory

  • Dr. Consignment Inventory  $ 100,000
  • Cr. Inventory    $ 100,000

To record shipping cost

  • Dr. Consignment Inventory   $ 3,000
  • Cr. Cash  $ 3,000
Do not record any transaction.
During January, Sell of inventory
Do not record any transaction To recognize cash and liability to the consignor

  • Dr. Cash   $ 15,000
  • Cr. Consignor’s Account $ 15,000

To recognize commission income

  • Dr. Consignor’s Account $ 1,500
  • Cr. Commission Income $ 1,500
On 02 February 2020
To recognize revenue and cash

  • Dr. Cash $ 13,500
  • Dr. Commission Expense $ 1,500
  • Cr. Sale Revenue $ 15,000

To recognize COGS

  • Dr. COGS $ 10,000
  • Cr. Consignment inventory $ 10,000

To recognize shipping cost

  • Dr. Shipping Cost $ 300
  • Cr. Consignment Inventory  $300

($ 300 = $ 3,000 * 1,000units/10,000units)

To clear liability to the consignor

  • Dr. Consignor’s Account $ 13,500
  • Cr. Cash  $ 13,500
Advantages of Consignment Inventory
Vendor Retailer
It helps the new product to gain new market share. As the products are available on the shelve, they are highly likely to be seen and purchased by the customer. It helps the retailer from investing in the new products which are not certain about the sale. They can allow the new products to sit on the shelve for sometime before making any deals with the vendor.
The vendor can get the products faster to customers. The products do not need to move from factory to warehouse and to the retailer. The vendor can negotiate and bring the product directly to the retailer. To lower the risk: there is almost no risk for the retailer as they do not spend on inventory. If the products are not sold, the vendor will take them back.
They also are able to save some costs on marketing and advertising as the products already arrive in some popular stores already. Improve cash flow: the retailer can manage the cash effectively as they will be invested somewhere else.
Disadvantages of Consignment Inventory
Vendor Retailer
High inventory balance: the vendor will face with high inventory balance even they are already ship to the store. Difficult to control: It is hard to control as the staff may not aware of the consigned products. It is even harder during the inventory count as we have to separate between normal stock and consigned stock.
Cash flow problem: the vendor will require more cash to invest in the company as there are delays in cash generating from the sale. Additional work: it requires to have someone keep a record and reconcile between remaining inventory and sale.
Less profit: By selling products through retailers, we have to pay them the commission, so it will decrease our profit. We will be able to get a higher profit if we sell directly to end-users. High holding cost: We need to pay for a huge holding cost if a large number of inventories are unsold.