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How to Conduct an Annual Stocktake for Your Business

Businesses are constantly depleting and stocking up on their inventory. As long as you’re selling goods to customers, you need to keep replacing what’s been taken off your shelves.

But there’s also a need to check what’s in stock at any given time. Doing this will help you:

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  • Determine what’s selling at an appreciable pace, and what isn’t.
  • Find out if goods are being wasted or stolen.
  • Increase your profit margins by restocking on popular products and phasing out slow-moving ones.

You won’t always have the time to do a comprehensive inventory check. Many businesses review their stock periodically. If your business’s financial year coincides with the calendar year, you may want to conduct your annual review at the end of the year.

This process of physically counting goods in stock is called stocktaking. It’s done to ensure that the quantity and value of stock available correspond with what’s been recorded.

Steps to a Successful Stocktake

Here’s how to conduct a stocktaking exercise.

1. Plan

Choose a convenient time for your stocktake, preferably outside of business hours. Or you could do it during a low-traffic period of the workday. Get the things you’ll need for the exercise: stock sheets, pens, calculators, and barcode scanners.

2. Determine What Will be Counted

Be sure that your goods are ordered in a way that makes counting easy. Separate incoming items that haven’t been recorded yet from preexisting stock. And while counting goes on, there should be a focus on identifying goods that aren’t selling as much as expected, damaged products, or outdated items.

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3. Let Your Staff Know How to Conduct Stocktaking

Tell your staff how to go about the stocktaking process. Take into account things like where they should start, the direction in which they should count, and what they should count first. Assign the tools they’ll need to work with and ensure that they are sufficient for the task.

4. Count Your Stock

Count every item; don’t miss out on anything. If there are things that are damaged or expired, separate them from the other goods, and take note of their removal. Also, note slow-moving goods and items that are running out of stock.

5. Update Your Records

Double-check the figures you have obtained from stocktaking. Once you have ascertained that they are accurate, proceed to input them into the relevant records and accounting systems.

If the prices of products on your shelves have changed since the last time you checked your stocks, you should make the necessary adjustments to their valuation.

Final Words

Stocktaking helps you remain in charge of your inventory levels, allowing you to make the most of what’s available to you. You can follow the steps laid out here to conduct a stocktaking exercise today and enjoy the benefits that come with it.


Featured Image Source: iStock

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Ikenna Nwachukwu

Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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