If you are a business owner, it’s important to keep an up-to-date list of your inventory. Inventory items are considered business assets, and should be listed as such in your financial records. You also need this information to accurately compute how much insurance you need in case of a theft, fire, flood, or other incident that could affect your inventory. If an incident does occur, your inventory list will help you when you file an insurance claim.
Decide what type of computer software you want to use to record and update your inventory. Many companies use an Excel spreadsheet to list their inventory items.
Enter information such as a description of each item; quantities of items; serial numbers on equipment; the name of the manufacturer; purchase price; and date of purchase. Every type of business will have different things to include. A law office might only have office equipment; a construction company could have bull dozers, trucks, trailers and tools; a grocery store could have cash registers, shelving, refrigerators, freezers and the food products they sell. A large store or company may need to inventory items on a daily basis; a small office might only need to inventory equipment once a year. Not everything needs to be inventoried. Office supplies such as paper, pens, and paper clips don't need to be inventoried (unless you have an office supply store). As a general rule, you should inventory anything that you would include on an insurance report.
Include scanned copies of receipts from your original purchase in your computer records.
Include scanned or digital copies of photographs of your inventory in your computer records. For example, take photos of computers, copiers, cars, trucks, jewelry (if you own a jewelry store), machinery, etc.
Save your computer records in a secure location where a password would be required to access. Only provide the password to those you trust with this information.
Make sure you have a number of copies of your inventory kept offsite in a secure location. Provide an electronic copy of your inventory to your lawyer, accountant, and insurance agent.
Consider getting a safe deposit box at your bank where you can keep printed and electronic copies of your inventory.
JIm Cooper is an attorney and business consultant. He serves on the board of many corporations. He is also a published writer with more than 30 years of experience. Cooper's articles have been published in "American Executive," "Men's Health" magazine, "Newsweek," "Marie Claire" and "Mademoiselle" magazines.