What is Net Realizable Value?

What is Net Realizable Value?

Net Realizable Value Definition

Net Realizable Value (or net realisable value) is a financial accounting principle, particularly in inventory and accounts receivable. It represents the estimated selling price of goods or services in the ordinary course of business, minus any estimated completion, transportation, and disposal cost.

The concept of NRV is important for ensuring that assets are not overstated on the balance sheet. According to the principle of conservatism in accounting, assets should be recorded at the lower of cost or net realizable value. This means if the NRV of an asset is lower than its recorded cost, the value of the asset should be written to its NRV to reflect potential losses.

NRV is relevant for businesses with inventory that can be subject to spoilage, obsolescence, or changes in fair market value. It's also used in evaluating accounts receivable collections, ensuring that these assets are not overstated if there's doubt about the ability to collect the full amount owed.

Net Realizable Value Formula

The formula for calculating net realizable value is straightforward. It is given by:

NRV = Estimated¬†Selling¬†Price ‚ąí (Costs¬†of¬†Completion + Costs¬†of¬†Disposal¬†and¬†Transportation)

Here's a breakdown of the components:

  • Estimated Selling Price: This is the amount you expect to receive from selling the asset. It should be based on current market conditions.
  • Costs of Completion: These are the costs you'll incur to make the asset ready for sale. For instance, if it's inventory, this could include costs for final manufacturing steps, labor, or additional materials.
  • Costs of Disposal and Transportation: These include all the costs associated with selling and delivering the asset to the customer, such as shipping, handling, and any sales commissions.

So, by using this formula, you're estimating the net amount you expect to receive from the sale of an asset after accounting for all the costs to sell it. This calculation is vital in financial reporting to ensure that assets are not overstated on the balance sheet.

Net Realizable Value Example

Let's consider a simple example to illustrate how NRV is calculated for inventory.

Scenario: A furniture manufacturing company produces designer chairs. Because of a change in market trends, the selling price of these chairs has dropped. The company needs to calculate the NRV for a batch of these chairs.


  • The company has 100 designer chairs in stock.
  • The estimated selling price per chair is now $150.
  • The costs to complete each chair (like finishing touches) are $10 per chair.
  • The costs for packaging and transporting each chair are estimated at $5 per chair.


Total Estimated Selling Price:

  • $150 per chair √ó 100 chairs = $15,000

Total Costs to Complete:

  • $10 per chair √ó 100 chairs = $1,000

Total Costs of Disposal and Transportation:

  • $5 per chair √ó 100 chairs = $500

Net Realizable Value:

  • NRV = Total Estimated Selling Price - (Total Costs to Complete + Total Costs of Disposal and Transportation)
  • NRV = $15,000 - ($1,000 + $500)
  • NRV = $15,000 - $1,500
  • NRV = $13,500

So, the Net Realizable Value of the inventory of designer chairs is $13,500. This is the amount the company expects to realize from the sale of these chairs after accounting for additional costs. This value would be used in a financial statement to report the value of this inventory.

Benefits of Calculating Net Realizable Value

Calculating net realizable value offers several benefits, particularly in financial reporting and management decision-making:

  • Accurate Asset Valuation: NRV helps ensure that assets such as inventory account and accounts receivable are reported at their true value on the balance sheet. This accuracy is crucial for stakeholders like investors, creditors, and analysts who rely on financial statements to assess the company's financial health.
  • Compliance with Accounting Standards: Many accounting frameworks, such as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and International Financial Reporting Standards, require that inventory item and other assets are reported at the lower of cost or NRV. Calculating NRV is therefore essential for compliance with these standards.
  • Risk Management: By regularly calculating NRV, a company can identify and manage financial risks related to obsolete inventory, price declines, or excess costs. This approach can lead to better inventory management and reduced losses from unsellable or devalued stock.
  • Improved Inventory Management: Understanding the NRV of inventory can inform decisions about production, pricing, and sales strategies. It can help a company decide whether to discount, continue producing, or discontinue certain products.
  • Better Financial Planning and Analysis: NRV provides valuable insights for financial planning and analysis. It helps in cash flow management, cash flow forecasting, and evaluating the profitability of products, and making budgetary decisions.
  • Enhanced Credibility and Transparency: Accurate reporting of asset values enhances the credibility of a company's financial statements. This transparency can build trust among investors, lenders, and other stakeholders.
  • Loss Recognition: If the NRV of an asset is lower than its cost, recognizing this loss immediately helps in reflecting the company's financial position more accurately. This early recognition can prevent sudden and unexpected losses in future financial periods.
  • Decision Making for Receivables: When applied to accounts receivable, NRV aids in assessing the collectability of these amounts. This can lead to more effective net terms, credit policies, and accounts receivable management.
  • Strategic Business Decisions: Information on NRV can inform broader business strategies, including product development, market positioning, and competitive tactics. It helps in understanding the profitability and viability of different segments of a company's offerings.

Net Realizable Value Challenges

  • Estimation of Selling Price: Determining the expected selling price involves forecasting future market conditions, which can be uncertain. A market price can fluctuate because of changes in consumer demand, economic conditions, competition, or technological advancements. These changes can make it difficult to predict the selling price.
  • Assessment of Costs: Estimating the costs of completion, disposal, and transportation also involves some uncertainty. Costs can vary because of changes in material prices, labor costs, overheads, and external factors like shipping rates and tariffs. Accurately forecasting these costs can be challenging, especially over longer periods.
  • Valuation of Obsolete or Slow-Moving Inventory: For items that are obsolete, slow-moving, or otherwise impaired, estimating a realistic selling price can be difficult. Such items will need to be discounted heavily to sell, or they will not have a market at all.
  • Subjectivity and Judgment: The calculation of NRV often requires significant judgment and subjectivity, especially in the absence of active markets for the goods or services. This subjectivity can lead to inconsistencies and a lack of comparability between companies.
  • Regulatory and Compliance Issues: Ensuring compliance with accounting standards and regulations is crucial. Different accounting frameworks will have varying requirements regarding the calculation and reporting of NRV, which can complicate the process for companies operating in multiple jurisdictions or under different accounting standards.
  • Frequency of Revaluation: Market conditions and costs can change frequently, requiring a regular reassessment of NRV. This can be resource intensive and can require systems to track and update values regularly.
  • Impact on Financial Statements: Incorrect estimation of NRV can significantly affect the financial statements, leading to overvaluation or undervaluation of inventory and receivables. This can affect profitability, asset valuation, and critical financial KPIs, potentially misleading stakeholders.
  • Inventory Diversity: For businesses with a wide range of products, each with different costs and market conditions, calculating NRV can be complex and time-consuming. Unique items can require individual assessment, adding to workload.
Growfin Book a Demo

Don't miss these stories: