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» Economics » Record keeping » Topics begins with S » Stocktaking

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The stocktaking (latin. invenire =) are the stocktaking of all existing net assets and debts of an enterprise find something and/or to a certain deadline. Each buyer is obligated 140, 141 AO in accordance with "§ 240 HGB and "§"§ in the context of regular record keeping to the stocktaking, if he creates an enterprise or takes over, if he closes it, as well as in the end of each financial year. The result of a stocktaking is the inventory, an inventory register, which specifies all pieces of property and debts after kind, quantity and value.

Kinds of the stocktaking

Physical stocktaking

The physical fortune articles are taken up by counting, fairs or cradles. An estimation with following evaluation is likewise permitted, if an accurate admission economically unreasonable or impossible is (for example coal supplies on waste dump).

Book stocktaking

The book stocktaking seizes related to value all not physical articles and debts, for example demands, commitments or bank assets, on the basis from buchhalterischen recordings (vouchers) or other documents.

Plant stocktaking

In the asset accounting the plant stocktaking replaces the physical stocktaking for goods of the mobile fixed assets (motor vehicles, machines, office and business equipment, not however inferior economic goods). In the plant listing an assets card with the following data must be led for each article:

  • exact designation of the article
  • Balance value on balance-sheet date
  • Day of the acquisition or production
  • Height of the acquisition or manufacturing costs
  • Service life
  • annual writing-off
  • Day of the outlet

Time of the stocktaking

Fundamental the stocktaking is to be accomplished to the balance-sheet date, thus to 31.12. one calendar year or on the last day of the financial year. Since the admission of the existence can be connected however with a substantial temporal and personnel expenditure, so-called simplification procedures with more flexible dates are permissible for goods of the stock capital.

Stocktaking procedure

Timenear fixed date inventory

With the fixed date inventory the existence are quantitatively seized on a fixed photograph day and registered in stocktaking lists. The stocktaking does not have to take place directly on balance-sheet date. For the deferred admission one period of 10 days before or after the deadline is permissible. And the outlets between the photograph day and the deadline, also the movements at the deadline, are updated and/or reckoned back on the basis vouchers quantity and related to value. The evaluation of the commodity takes place to the initial costs, damaged commodity can be devalued. The consideration of increases in value is not however permitted according to the minimum value principle.

The fixed date inventory illustrates the existence in such a way, as they are actual at the end of the financial year. It leads however to a large work load within less day, which entails disturbances of the flow chart or even a closing down makes necessary often. The risk of photograph errors increases.

Shifted stocktaking

The shifted stocktaking can be applicable, if the admission to the deadline is impossible (for example with very large existence), or if the conditions for a permanent stocktaking are missing.

The physical stocktaking takes place on any day within the last 3 months before or the first 2 months after the balance-sheet date. On the photograph day the determined existence is updated only related to value (not quantitatively) on the deadline or reckoned back, the inventory carries the date of the actual admission.

Value updatedValue back calculation
Worth on the day of the stocktaking (e.g.,15 October.)Worth on the day of the stocktaking (e.g. .28.Feb.)
(+) value of the entrances of the 15.Okt. - 31. Dec.(-) value of the entrances of the 1.Jan. - 28 February.
(-) value of the outlets of the 15.Okt. - 31.Dez(+) value of the outlets of the 1.Jan. - 28.Feb.
(=) value at the conclusion deadline (31.Dez)(=) value at the conclusion deadline (31.Dez)

Permanent stocktaking (permanent stock check)

The permanent stocktaking makes it possible to tighten the existence existing at the deadline also without simultaneous physical stocktaking. A condition for it is the guidance of a camp book as well as verifiable documents for all and outlets. On a freely selectable day once in the financial year a physical stocktaking is accomplished and planned stocks of the stock accounting are compared with the actual result. Deviations lead to a correction of planned stocks. Inventory differences flow fully success-effectively into the profit and loss calculation.

The preference/advantage of the permanent stocktaking lies in it that the physical stocktaking can be distributed over the whole year and planned meaningfully, for example if the existence is lowest. It can be however inappropriate, if the stock movements for individual categories of commodities for organizational reasons cannot be determined separately. This is for instance in the retail trade the case.

An enterprise can freely decide to use for certain articles the fixed date inventory and for others the shifted or the permanent stocktaking. However if uncontrolled risks are to be feared, approximately by decrease or decay of the goods, the income tax right permits the flexible stocktaking procedures not and requires one time near admission of the existence. The same applies to particularly valuable goods.

Sample stocktaking

With the sample stocktaking it concerns an according to commercial law permissible procedure for the stocktaking optimization, which is particularly used into large-scale enterprises. To Germany at the beginning of the seventies introduced the Siemens AG Munich as the first enterprise the sample stocktaking. 1977 were then legally embodied this method.


  • The camp is to cover at least 2000 articles.
  • A EDP stock accounting system must be furnished.
  • 5% of the existence take at least 40% off of the stock value.


Only the few high-quality articles are physically counted. A majority of the stock value is already seized thereby. Out of the residue one takes a sample according to the coincidence principle, from which afterwards total stocks are projected.

The legal requirements for the sample stocktaking are in "§ 241 exp. 1 HGB regulated: The logical value must the value of one corresponds, and the list of the inventory may take place only by recognized mathematical-statistic procedures (e.g. difference estimation). Before the first application of the sample stocktaking must besides the permission of the tax office are caught up. In Switzerland and in Austria similar regulations apply, whereby in Austria still additional, national editions must be fulfilled.


  • Kurt bent-calibrate: Material and inventory control, Duesseldorf 2006. ISBN 3-87841-249-5

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