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Tracking Finished Goods Inventory

Accounting for Inventory

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From the email box: I have less than 50 crafts in my finished goods inventory, is there an easy accounting way to keep track of my inventory?

Answer: This is a question I get a lot. You have a smaller arts and crafts business or maybe a large one with few finished goods in your inventory and you don't want to go through all the accounting hoopla of tracking it with accounting software. Well, the good news is that there is a quick and easy way to handle this inventory accounting task!

I can't take the credit for the following suggestion. One of my craft clients uses this method to track the over 100 pieces he has on consignment at various galleries.

Keeping an Arts and Crafts Finished Goods Journal to Track Inventory

My client uses regular lined-paper and hand-writes each item on a single line. Drawing in columns with a ruler, he notes particulars about each item such as the current date, number of items, description of the item, where he consigned it and the price. When he gets to the end of the front of one page, he moves onto the next and so on.

When the item is sold, he uses a hi-lighter to draw through the entire line. If he has more than one of any item, he simply draws a line through the current number and hand-writes in the next lower. For example, if he originally has five, he draws a diagonal line through the 5 and pencils in 4.

When all the items on one sheet of paper are hi-lighted, he removes that sheet from the group and files it away for accounting and tax purposes. If items on the same sheet are sold in different years, he uses a different color hi-lighter. For example, 2011 is yellow and 2012 is pink.

This nifty system doesn't take a heck of a lot of time to maintain. Taking out the consignment column, this is appropriate for tracking unsold finished goods in your arts or crafts studio/workshop.

Tracking Arts and Crafts Sales at Craft Shows

This is also a very low-tech way to keep track of inventory at craft shows. While preparing the receipt for your customer you can also mark the item as sold on your finished goods inventory sheet. If it's a two-day show, you can quickly scan the list at the end of the first day to see what arts and crafts items are needed to replenish your stock for the second day.

Using Excel to Maintain a Finished Goods Journal

This method is very easy to set up and maintain using a spreadsheet program such as Excel. You could use the hi-lighting tool in Excel, save your file, then delete the sold items and save again with a different file name to create a running account of your finished goods inventory and gross sales.

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