As soon as the summer holidays are over, Christmas decorations are already appearing in many supermarkets. Rarely are you already in the mood for gingerbread and chocolate Santas at this point. And yet every time it is amazing how quickly the end of the year suddenly approaches. Is what seems to be the premature appearance of Christmas decorations possibly a perfect example of excellent planning instead?
How well is your company prepared for the challenges it faces every year? Recurring tasks at the end of the year, such as stocktake, should not come as a big surprise for many companies. And yet in most companies, the time before the end of the year in particular is characterised by time pressure and stress. Why don't you prepare yourself for regular stocktaking earlier this year?
This feature tells you everything you need to know for efficient planning and trouble-free performance of your stocktake. First, we are answering some frequently asked questions about stocktake.
Carrying out a regular stocktake at your company helps you to determine the current “actual stock” situation. The stocktake covers all tangible goods (physical inventory), intangible circulating assets and liabilities (book inventory) and moving fixed assets, i.e. vehicles, machinery and business equipment (inventory).
At least once a year, on a fixed day, you carry out a stocktake to ensure that the continuous recording of receipts and issues in your inventory management system as well as the bookkeeping in your company is carried out correctly.
To summarise, regular stocktakes in your company:
Annual stocktake not only serves as a statement for the tax office. Stocktaking is also a useful tool for your company to verify in-house bookkeeping and to compare the target and actual inventory.
HMRC specifies a stocktake for your company if your business is subject to annual accounting records.
Expert tip: Don't just focus your stocktake on the goods in your warehouse. C-goods, i.e. articles which are not directly involved in the value creation chain in your company should be listed as well. This refers, for example, to office supplies or cleaning equipment.
In principle, a stocktake is required at different points in time: on specific occasions, for example when a company is founded and when personnel changes occur in management, and regularly at the end of each financial year.
For most companies, the financial year coincides with the calendar year, which is why the reporting date for the annual stocktake is specified on you annual tax return. It is often impossible to carry out the complete stocktake in one day. The different stocktake types therefore allow you to carry out the stocktake before or after the annual reporting date (see stocktake types).
There are different types of stocktakes that you can carry out. However, make sure you find out which type of stocktake is suitable for your company. For deferred stocktake types, you should ensure that your inventory management system is kept accurate. An ongoing stocktake must not be used for recording perishable goods.
Annual stocktake is the most common type of stocktake. The complete stocktake is carried out on the balance sheet key date itself.
A deferred stocktake carried out a maximum of ten days before or after the balance sheet key date is permissible. In this case, any changes to the quantity and value of stock within these days must be backdated or updated to the actual stock on the balance sheet key date by means of receipts.
Please note: This is not an inventory sampling procedure, for which stocktake is carried out by means of representative samples.
Ongoing stocktake involves recording inventory for different merchandise categories on different days throughout the year. Once a year, on a fixed balance sheet key date, a physical stocktake of all material groups is carried out to compare the target stock with the actual stock. To save resources and time, you can choose a day when stock levels in the warehouse are low.
This is a deferred type of stocktake. In the case of a deferred stocktake, the stocktake can be carried out either three months before or two months after the actual balance sheet key date. However, the actual stocktake on the actual balance sheet key date remains decisive. This must be updated or backdated based on value.
The deferred stocktake makes greater flexibility possible. However, it also contains some pitfalls, since any changes to inventory must be documented exactly for the correct updating or backdating over the months.
You will find some practical tips for optimal planning and carrying out your next stocktake below:
The day for the stocktake in your offices is best scheduled for a period when there is little urgent business in the company.
The same applies to the inventory in the warehouse. Please also note: A good time for physical stocktake is when your stock is low.
The deferred types of stocktake give you some flexibility at first. However, do not forget to plan additional time to reconstruct the stocktake on the annual reporting date. The more days there are between the day on which they were recorded and the annual reporting date, the more work you will have to do.
Depending on the size of your business, the stocktake may take a few hours, a day or several days. In case of doubt, try to plan a little more time to avoid careless mistakes when working under time pressure.
Many companies even carry out the stocktake outside regular working hours in order to be able to concentrate fully on the stocktake.
Weigh up whether you can carry out the stocktake with your own employees or whether it makes sense to appoint stocktake assistants.
Even if additional help is another expense, in many cases it is still worth paying for. Experienced stocktake assistants usually complete the stocktake quickly and reliably, while your own employees are not stopped from doing from their work.
Outsiders also have an unbiased view of the situation in your company, which makes it easier for them to spot discrepancies. If you are having your own employees carry out stocktake, then assign them to a different department, not in their everyday work environment.
During stocktaking, employees should ideally work in teams of two. One employee writes and the other takes notes. In this way you minimize errors and the stocktake proceeds faster.
If you decide to hire stocktake personnel, the temporary staff will usually know all about the normal procedure. You should always remind your own employees of the rules before carrying out your stocktake.
It is advisable to proceed from left to right and from top to bottom when entering articles. Once a team has completed an area, it should be marked accordingly to avoid duplication. The stock lists should be completed legibly and in block letters. If necessary, define guidelines for writing numbers to avoid confusion later.
There's still plenty of time left until the annual reporting date? You should not, however, underestimate the benefits of good preparation. The following checklist will help you plan your next stocktake process efficiently.
Set a date for your stocktake
Determine the time required for the stocktake
Organise stocktake assistants, if applicable
Communicate rules on how to carry out the stocktake, and a schedule, to employees and send it to them in writing
Room preparation: tidying up and cleaning to facilitate work
Divide the company into stocktake areas with the same scope of work and colour code them
Determine an stocktake manager and organise a central contact point (coordination of the work flow, queries, submission of inventory lists)
Divide employees into teams of two
Assign one or more areas of responsibility to each team
Provide sufficient working material: Notepads, writing materials, etc.
Ensure proper stocktaking by employees
Verify all submitted inventory lists (legibility, filled out with ballpoint pen, endorsed with the date and signature of the respective employee)
Tour and check of all inventory areas
Repost any differences in inventory to the right accounts
Submit documents to HMRC (and archive the documentation for ten years)
If you have any other questions, you can reach us by calling the following free telephone number 1 800 677 300 . Or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
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