Although counting year-end inventory isn’t anyone’s idea of fun, it’s something that every store has to do. End of year inventory is necessary for tax purposes, to prepare an accurate profit and loss statement, as well as to inform inventory practices for the new year. Whether you manage a small store or a chain of stores, year-end inventory counts don’t have to be stressful or time consuming.

Use an intelligent inventory analysis and planning app

Equipped with the right inventory control software, the tedious aspects of year-end inventory counting are automated to speed up the process and eliminate human errors. Add to that data from your QuickBooks or Xero accounting software and from your barcode tracking system, and the seemingly onerous count becomes much more straightforward, even for large stockrooms.

Clean up your warehouses and locations

Storage rooms and warehouses have a tendency to get messy over time, and it’s often at the end of a year that they look their worst. Before starting to count stock, have your local staff tidy them up and organize them, separating damaged and expired items from the rest.

Taking the time to organize and label your inventory can speed up the counting significantly, as well as improve its accuracy. And don’t forget that with a cloud inventory management app keeping up to date lists of your different stock across locations becomes less of a hassle.

Use mobile inventory control software

A mobile inventory control app can help your staff make changes to the inventory in real time, as they count it. Since your staff can access inventory data straight on their mobile devices, they won’t be bound to a desk or a computer. The greater portability they will enjoy can make the whole process smoother. It will also enable them to take advantage of any barcode scanning software available to speed up the count.

Pre-count to avoid disrupting operations

Pre-counting enables you to count significant portions of your stock such as reserved items or damaged items in advance, before the date assigned for the year-end count. This strategy can be very useful if you want to reduce the duration of the count so that you won’t have to close shop while it lasts. Make pre-counting work for you by carefully labeling all items so that you won’t count them twice later.

Assign clear responsibilities

Year-end inventory counts can become unnecessarily complicated if everyone tries to do the same thing at the same time. For each location, consider dividing tasks between employees. For example, two employees can do the counting, a third can create and assign tags, a fourth can fill online forms, and so on.

For larger counts, consider dividing your staff into teams, or supplementing the staff for a few days with employees from other locations. If you use a cloud inventory management app, make sure that it allows different users accounts to connect at the same time.