Run an effective stock count strategy (plus, a schedule to stick to)

Editorial Team

3 min read
Barcode scanner scanning price tag

In successful small businesses, stock counting is as routine as putting together a purchase order. Thrive’s Stock Counts App for Clover helps ensure your count goes smoothly and quickly, so your team can get back to growing the business.

Inventory counting is one of the best ways to reduce stockouts, hold your staff accountable, and keep accurate bookkeeping. The process consists of physically counting and recording the quantity of products or materials held in your inventory.

Types of inventory counting

Full-physical inventory count

This occurs when your staff records inventory levels for your entire product assortment in a single count. Then, any discrepancies are updated in your inventory management software at once.

Cycle count

Counting limited sections of products on a rotating basis refers to a cycle count. You only update the inventory levels for the products you count and eventually, cycle through your entire stock.

Getting ready for your inventory count

Trained staff

Spending time with your staff before your count will help ensure it runs smoothly and produces results you can trust. Offer hands-on practice using your inventory management setup, while emphasizing the importance of attention to detail.

Divide your inventory list into manageable pieces and assign two team members per section to help increase accuracy.

Stock count sheet

Set up an inventory count report so your staff can record their counts. We recommend a printable spreadsheet or an app that integrates with your inventory management system, like Thrive’s Stock Counts for Clover.

Barcode scanner

Barcode scanners are one of the best ways to help reduce human error during your count and eliminate one-to-one manual adjustments. Thrive’s Stock Counts app lets businesses use their Clover device to scan products during a count.

Creating an inventory count schedule

Full physical inventory counts

We recommend that you complete a full inventory count quarterly. Depending on how many products your store carries and how many employees are available, you may have to close your store for a day or limit open hours. While this is a large time commitment, it helps ensure you stay on top of any stock discrepancies.

Jan 1-7: Complete your end-of-year inventory count. This is used for your beginning and ending inventory balance come tax time.

April 1-7

July 1-7

October 1-7: This is the ideal time to get your stock counts in order before the holiday shopping season begins.

Cycle counts

Your cycle count schedule will depend on your business. However, your team should set some aside either daily, weekly, or monthly to cycle through your entire inventory.

For example, a coffee shop may cycle count their milks and syrups nightly, while only counting their to-go products weekly. On the other hand, a boutique with a rotating assortment of clothes might cycle through a different product category each month. Before your next stock count, try Thrive’s Stock Count app for Clover free for 14 days.*

*Terms and conditions apply.

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