How to Calculate Work in Progress

Written by bradley james bryant
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How to Calculate Work in Progress
Inventory (stocktaking image by Maksim Shebeko from

Inventory management is a huge part of maintaining lean and effective operations. From manufacturing to distribution, good inventory management can mean the difference between winning and losing a contract. Recorded as an asset on the balance sheet, work in progress (WIP) is any good that is not ready for final sale. This inventory must still be accounted for, as funds have been spent.

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  1. 1

    Separate raw materials from work in process. WIP includes all inventory which has been moved to production. The three categories of inventory are Raw Materials, Work in Progress, and Completed.

  2. 2

    Apply an average amount for direct labour and overhead. This amount should be more than raw material but less than finished or completed inventory. For instance, if the raw inventory price is £3 and I sell the finished good for £13, the WIP value should be anywhere from £3 to £13.

  3. 3

    Determine the per cent of completion. The item can be 25, 50, or 75 per cent complete. Use your discretion to choose the right number.

  4. 4

    Average the percentages of WIP. Let's say the average per cent of completion is 50 per cent. Multiply this percentage by the number of items in WIP. For example, 500 items equals 250 (500 x .50) WIP items. Let's also say the value at 50 per cent complete is £8.10. Multiply this by 500 for the total current WIP value.

  5. 5

    Add the current period's WIP goods to the WIP account. Then subtract the work that was completed in the current period from the WIP account for the Work in Progress value.

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