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What’s the difference between work-in-process and work-in-progress?

Work-in-process means the manufacturer’s inventory that has started the manufacturing process but hasn’t been completely built yet. Work-in-process are the goods that are on the factory floor of the manufacturer. The amount of work-in-process inventory would be reported along with raw materials inventory and finished goods inventory on the manufacturer’s balance sheet as current assets.

So, essentially, we’re talking about things that are in the middle of being made but not quite made. For Tesla this would include all of the cars that are on the assembly line but have not actually been rolled off the factory floor.

A work-in-progress is the partial construction of long-term assets that will be used in the company’s business. For example, this could include a building that’s only partially completed. The amount that the company has spent on the incomplete construction of a long-term asset would fall under work-in-progress. That amount would show up on a line item on the company’s balance sheet in long-term assets under the property, plant and equipment line item.

As soon as a company’s building project wraps up and they start using the building that would no longer be under work-in-progress, or construction work-in-progress. It would now be just under property, plant and equipment and you would start depreciating that asset.

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