It is a new fiscal year and as business owners, you are probably in the middle or finishing up your EOFY stocktake. This year may have seemed like it went on forever with the constant opening and closing of our economy. With this, some bad habits or inconsistencies may have been developed and the new financial year is an opportune time to remedy them.

At Acumen, we have developed ten steps to stocktaking to help you get back on track.

Why is a stocktake necessary every financial year?

Stocktake may seem like an exhausting and overwhelming task, but stocktakes are actually very beneficial for businesses. Here are just a few reasons you should undertake a stocktake at least once a year:

  • Improved Cash Flow: Stocktake removes the guesswork. You know exactly what and where you are spending and can reduce stock levels if needed.
  • Accurate Profit Margins: With a stocktake, you can see where the needs and demands are and adjust your pricing strategy accordingly.
  • Highlight Poor Practices: If your operations are struggling or there is potential for theft, stocktake highlights those poor practices so you can remedy them.
  • Identify Slow-Moving Stock: You can then reduce stock orders for these products and sell them at a discounted price.
  • Improve Stock Management: With a stocktake, there is less waste of products and raw materials for more profitable production.

Steps to stocktaking

Step 1. Plan For It

One of the best ways to undertake a stocktake is to plan for it. It seems relatively simple but decide when and how often you are going to undertake stocktaking and begin to prepare the stock room and equipment needed. Arm yourself with scanners, pens, paper, clipboards and markers.

Step 2. Choose a Quiet Time

The time of day is critical to an accurate stocktake. It is best practice to try and choose a time at the start of a generally slower day or at the end of a day so that you can ensure that every item is accounted for. If you cannot do it outside of work hours, spot counting is also a good way to undertake a stocktake.

Step 3. Organise your Staff and Roster

To undertake a stocktake, you need some staff to help you and double-check things. Make sure to have a seasoned staff member who understands policies, knows the stockroom well and potentially has undertaken a stocktake before. Another staff member should have fresh eyes and be able to pick up things that might have been overlooked.

Step 4. Know What Needs to be Counted

A good stocktake requires preparation, so in the lead up to stocktake there are a few things you can do to make it easier for yourself and your staff.

  • Clean the stockroom. Don’t leave stock on the floor.
  • Prepare large quantities of stock into units.
  • Label everything and make it easy for things to be found.
  • Double-check what is being counted and where it is supposed to be located.

Step 5. Conduct in an Orderly Fashion

A stocktake should not be overly difficult or too time-consuming, it should be quick and effective. One of the ways you can ensure this is by demonstrating how you want things to be counted i.e start at the top and go left to right on each line. Another way is by using steps 1-4 and preparing the stockroom to be accessible and organised in the appropriate categories.

Step 6. Count Everything

This may seem a little obvious but it is amazing how many businesses assume their stock quantity by the amount of boxes left on the shelf. Open every box and double-check what’s inside. By doing so you may be able to improve stock processes such as implementing a FIFO procedure.

Step 7. Mark Items to Avoid Duplicate Counting

Naturally, humans will make mistakes, so it is important to prepare different colour markers for the stocktake. This way as you are counting you can mark a box and avoid double counting your stock.

Step 8. Value Items Correctly

Stocktake is an effective method of determining if your pricing strategy is working effectively. Within a stocktake, make note of the price and check for variances. After you have completed a stocktake, evaluate your sale price against the current market price. If products aren’t selling as well as they should, consider discounting the product and reducing the stock order to free up the cash flow.

Step 9. Review and Improve

The actions you take following a stocktake are the most important for your business. Stocktaking gives you a clear picture of your stock levels, stock management and outlines errors and areas that could be improved. Following a stocktake, there should be a few key takeaways that you are able to pass on to the staff immediately and some processes that may need to be adjusted to streamline your operations.

Step 10.  Simplify Everything

In 2021, a stocktake does not need to be completed by hand. After all, who has time to individually count each item? One of the first ways you can make your stocktake easier is by using a handheld scanner to scan SKU codes. This not only cuts the time down but also categorises your stock and will help you identify if there is an incorrect barcode.

Alternatively, if you have a lot of moving parts, it may be better to invest in an integrated POS system such as Acumen Computer Systems. With an integrated POS, you can manage and confirm your stock levels across multiple devices, making stocktake a smooth and stress-free process.

Choose Acumen Computer Systems

Unlike other POS providers, Acumen tailors its systems to your business model. Our customisable features, including POS reports, means you can compare products at any given time and adjust the stock levels from one device. At Acumen, it is about the quality of our products and service. We provide you with ongoing support, regular updates on technological changes and new products or reports to help your business succeed. Get in touch with our team today.