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Stock-taking or inventory checking is the physical verification of the quantities and condition of items held in an inventory or warehouse. This may be done to provide an audit of existing stock valuation. It is also the source of stock discrepancy information.

Stock-taking may be performed as an intensive annual check or may be done continuously by means of a cycle count.[1]

The above is also referred to Periodic Count. Periodic counting is usually undertaken for regular, inexpensive items. The term 'Periodic' generally refers to annual stock count. However, periodic may also refer to half yearly, Quarterly, monthly, bi-monthly or daily.

For expensive items a shorter period of stock-taking is preferred.

A stocktake sale is a sale with reduced prices in a shop designed to sell off stock from previous seasons. This makes the task of stock-taking easier.

Another purpose of stock take is determination of Cutoff point. i.e. What was the stock position of the company/organisation at a specific point of time. The following forms may help in this regarded usage:

Cut-Off Procedures:
Goods Received Note: Vehicle Number:
(Received by Store)
Date: Bill-T Number:
Quantity: Value:

Goods Issued Note: Vehicle Number:
(Goods Dispatched)
Date: Bill-T Number:
Quantity: Value:

Gate Inward Number:
Gate Outward Number:
Materials Requisition Order: Quantity:
(Issued by Production)

Materials Issue Order: Quantity:
(Issued by Process)

Materials Returned Order: Quantity:
(Returned by process)
Purchase Requisition:
(Raised by Stores)
Last Cheque Issued: ________ Date ________ Ch. # ________ Amount ________ Issued To ________


  1. ^ Antony Wild (2004), "Inventory checking (stocktaking)", Improving inventory record accuracy: getting your stock information right, pp. 96–107, ISBN 978-0-7506-5900-0