Work in Progress or Work in Process Which is Correct?

These concepts do not apply to construction projects, for which there is a separate construction-in-progress account that accumulates costs. Once a construction project has been completed, the balance in this account is shifted into a fixed assets building account and then depreciated. Work in progress assets are much larger endeavors and may require capitalization if the work in progress investment is not an inventory item. For example, if a company decides to build an entirely new headquarter office, that project is considered work in progress that will be capitalized when it is completed. Where work in process is often not depreciated over time, work in progress is more like to incur depreciation expense over its useful life. Many business dictionaries state that there is no difference between the terms work in process and work in progress, so it is possible to interchange the terms.

Work in progress projects usually span many accounting periods, have more complex and technical requirements, and represent larger jobs such as building a building. Work in progress items will have substantially less liquidity, and the company incurring work in progress costs may find it much more difficult to liquidate the asset as it is being completed. Work in progress items (i.e. the construction of a new warehouse or specialized piece of equipment) may be very specific to a company and hold little to no value to other market participants. Work in progress items may require substantial pricing discounts to entice buyers, especially if the items are not standardized. Some of us don’t complete most of the projects we undertake until the very last minute.

  • Thus, work in process applies more readily to a manufacturing environment.
  • Work in progress is therefore a little closer to the meaning of the phrase as it is normally used.
  • For example, the company must not only assess the financial value of incomplete goods but estimate what percent complete its products are.
  • WIP, along with other inventory accounts, can be determined by various accounting methods across different companies.

When the product is finalized, it switches from WIP to being categorized as a finished product. Finally, when the product is sold, it moves from a form of inventor to cost of goods sold (COGS) on the balance sheet. Thus, it is important for investors to discern how a company is measuring its WIP and other inventory accounts. Allocations of overhead can be based on labor hours or machine hours, for example.

More meanings of work in process

Work in process (WIP) inventory refers to the total cost of unfinished goods currently in the production process at the end of each accounting period. When combs are manufactured, plastic is moved into production as a raw material. Since the combs are only partially completed, all costs are posted to WIP. When the combs are completed, the costs are moved from WIP to finished goods, with both accounts being part of the inventory account. Costs are moved from inventory to cost of goods sold (COGS) when the combs are eventually sold. However, the nature of each may be slightly different and require different accounting treatment.

We used both “in process” and “in the process” to show you when the two phrases are used differently. As we said, it’s much more likely to come across the phrase “in progress,” but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still appropriate times to use “in process” in your writing. Work in progress is an asset account used to report larger undertakings.

If you look at this graph, you can see that there’s a much more substantial difference between the phrases in British English. In British English, “work in progress” is the only acceptable phrase, and “work in process” is rarely used. As you can see from these examples, we use “in progress” when we’re not quite ready to announce a date or time of completion on a project. “In progress” simply means that we’re working towards a goal, but otherwise, we’re not sure when that goal will be achieved. The words “progress” and “process” are very similar, but the end intention of both is what sets them apart. Usually, “in process” refers to completing something, whereas “in progress” can refer to simply moving forwards but not necessarily reaching the end (at least not for a while).

Can you solve 4 words at once?

Much of the progress in public health in the Region has been driven by innovation. COVID-19 has made health innovation more pervasive, involving a broader spectrum of stakeholders and approaches than ever before. C4H refers to a set of principles and practices to ensure communication interventions are strategic, evidence-based, and designed to inform and change attitudes and behaviours. Understanding WIP inventory can be challenging, especially since it consists of many moving parts during the production process. To help you better understand how to determine the current WIP inventory in production, here are some examples.

Let’s finish with some examples of “work in progress” or “work in process” being used. Remember, these are both interchangeable in American English, so we’ll show you how they look. It’ll help you to see “in progress” in a sentence to really tell the differences apart. We’ll include a couple of different variations, some of which you might already be familiar with. You can see from these two examples that “in the process” is by far the most popular choice. This isn’t a case where “in process” works very well, so it shouldn’t be used here.

In Process vs. In Progress: Difference Explained (14 Examples)

Work in process (WIP) inventory is a term used to refer to partly finished materials within any production round. Work in process in production and supply chain management refers to the total cost of unfinished goods currently in production. Knowing how to accurately calculate WIP inventory can impact your balance sheet. If your business offers highly customized products, then it’s important to understand how WIP inventory works, what goes into the cost, and how to calculate it at the end of the accounting period. This will give you a sense of COGS based on how much it costs to produce and manufacture finished goods.

You can think of WIP inventory as all inventory that has not yet reached the finished product inventory but is not raw materials. ‘Work in progress’ refers to the ongoing construction of complex, long-term assets (such as raw supplies that can be transformed into finished products over a long period of time). Work in progress inventory is accounted for as an asset on a company’s balance sheet, similar to raw materials or inventory. The general ledger account used to track work in progress is the work in progress inventory account.


Some writers aren’t sure whether to use work in progress or work in process, but you will discover the truth in this article. One of the best phrases to use to describe such a work is a work in progress, or an alternative form, work in process. Managing inventory is a significant part of growing a successful online store. You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary. Being in progress implies that it is progressing or moving forward to a point or of completion.

The difference between WIP and finished goods is based on the inventory’s stage of relative completion, which, in this instance, means saleability. Finished goods refer to the final stage of inventory, in which the product has reached a level of completion how much does a bookkeeper cost where the subsequent stage is the sale to a customer. Developers and manufacturers take raw materials and convert them into finished goods. Depending on the scope of the undertaking, they may be better suited to report work in process or work in progress.

When these goods are completed, they are often transferred to inventory to later to be treated as a cost of good sold when purchased by a customer. On the other hand, ‘work in progress’ is often used in construction and other service businesses and refers to the progress of a project and how much it costs compared to the percentage of completion. When these terms are used by businesses selling a physical product, both mean the same thing. Any raw material inventory that humans have worked on but is not yet considered a finished good is a work-in-process inventory.

A work in progress is a project that is underway, but not yet complete. A family who buys a fixer-upper house and gradually remodels it might describe it as a work in progress.