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Keeping track of your stock

Stocktakes are essential to stock control and are the best way to keep track of your business’s merchandise. Implementing an ongoing system for tracking stock and items that have been bought and sold is also an efficient way to keep track of when you need to reorder stock.

Performing a stocktake involves making a list or inventory of all the stock a business holds.

A business should be able to track each item in its stock by:

  • unique item numbers
  • stored locations
  • selling prices
  • stock numbers and costs
  • supply sources
  • applicable tax
  • point-of-sale details

Stocktaking is a valuable practice that can identify lost, stolen or damaged items. Businesses may be able to write these items off as a loss, sometimes against the cost of goods sold, for accounting purposes.

Depending on a business’s stock and size, owners may be legally obligated to perform an annual stocktake. Manual stock management is best suited for businesses that carry a small amount of stock.

A manual stock management system may include:

  • a stock book to record the items that have been bought and sold
  • a reorder system based on the stock book
  • labels or codes for each item in the stock i.e. information on the value of each item, when it was received and its location

Businesses can also use simple computer-based programs to manage their stock. Computer programs can track what stock has been ordered and sold, and record the costs involved. Stock control programs can present information on particular stock management techniques, as well as help on specific stock management problems.


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