Inventory spreadsheets managed in Microsoft Office Excel are a popular means of managing inventory on a desktop. If you are looking for a free spreadsheet to download, you can find one here. Microsoft Office offers many different inventory spreadsheet templates that can be modified to your preferences.
It’s understandable, when businesses first start out, they want to keep costs down. An inventory sheet template download seems like the easiest choice because there is no cost involved. But, if you want to have more control over your operations and a single version of the truth, there’s a better way.
SOS Inventory was designed for business owners just like you who are looking for an affordable way to manage inventory costs and organize information for easy analysis, accounting, and reports. If your goal is to grow, entice investors or sell one day down the line, inventory software in the cloud is the optimal way to achieve it.
SOS Inventory goes beyond the Excel inventory template to offer you control over all departments of your business. It’s ideal for anyone who manufacturers, sells or buys products, tracking every step a product makes in the path from supply chain to end user.
Many SMEs use spreadsheets as a basis for their internal business information system, and they are great for flexibly managing and analyzing data on a small local scale.
They are particularly widely used by QuickBooks customers who find the inventory control functionality with QuickBooks inadequate.
And there are many free Excel Inventory Management Templates available to choose from (just Google Excel Inventory Management Templates, and you will be spoiled for choice)!
But this wonderful tool carries with it pitfalls and constraints when it comes to growth, and here are just three to ponder. (The full list is much longer!):
- One version of the truth. As your business grows more people will want their own version of your inventory spreadsheet; sales will want one, purchasing for sure, warehouse, as well, and so it goes on. Each will embellish it to suit their local needs, and they will inevitably try to manage their version of the quantity in stock. So how many do you have in stock? Sales says 10, purchasing says 6, the warehouse can see 14. What is the true number? They could all be right, just adjusted by timing. So how can you make decisions when you have multiple versions of the truth?
- Transcription errors. With more people accessing the spreadsheet(s) and entering data without checks and balances, you can be assured that errors will occur. You can almost guarantee that the base data in each of your multiple departmental inventory spreadsheets is wrong from the outset.
- Knowledge decay. Some of the bright young things in your business will create quite amazing inventory spreadsheets – it’s fun to do, and they are clever, so you get great results. The problem is that people seldom fully document the genius model they have just created, and you think this is fantastic, until the person leaves, and then you are left with an Excel formula that resemble Egyptian hieroglyphics to the untrained eye.
“We ran with spreadsheets controlling our inventory until our product range grew and it became unmanageable. We called in SOS Inventory, and we have since grown 10-fold,” says Joan Pacetti, founder of The Cookie Dough Company.
Should you stay away from spreadsheets? Of course not. They are amazing tools if used in the right context. And as a start-up they will certainly be at the heart of much of your planning and management.
But, early in your growth journey (and the earlier the better), you really do need to adopt an affordable integrated inventory management system, as it will give you a single core set of consistent data and easy-to-use subsystems designed to support sales, purchasing, warehouse, manufacturing, etc.
Some of these systems, like SOS Inventory, have been designed to operate as an extension of QuickBooks, offering seamless real-time integration to the world’s most popular and most successful financial control system.
Thousands of exceedingly happy customers have now migrated from spreadsheets and other local support systems to SOS Inventory, so you are treading a well proven path and joining a very happy club!
And from $24 per user per month it IS affordable!!
What next – why not take a look for free? Click here to get started.
1. Excel is designed to allow you to sort your columns however you like – by smallest or largest quantity or by certain conditions. Simply place your cursor at the top of the column you want to sort, then sort either A to Z for lowest to highest values or Z to A for highest to lowest values. You can also sort by specific text or conditions. To do so, choose “Data” from the options, then “Filter.” A drop-down arrow will appear across the row where you have your cursor, normally the header row. Then you can click on the arrow to the right of the field and choose text or other conditions.
2. Formulas created in a single cell can be quickly extended down a column by pulling down the bottom right corner of the cell to the cell you want to extend it to. You can also double click the bottom right corner and the formula will repeat to the bottom of the table. Please note that it is very easy to accidentally move a formula into a cell where it was not intended to go, and this transposition can instantly change all the data in your spreadsheet.
3. Quickly generate totals at the bottoms of any column by typing in =(SUM and then you will be prompted to select a range of fields. If you are totally a single column, you will place your cursor in the top cell in the column, drag the mouse until you reach the last cell and click enter. For the next column, you can simply copy the cell with the total and paste it. Excel will apply the same rules to all the cells in the column above that cell. You may want to use this function to total inventory sold, purchase order costs and sales orders. You may find you will need more than one spreadsheet to track every function across your business. The concern then becomes having consistent numbers across the different departments.
When creating your inventory spreadsheet, beware that you can very easily transpose a formula from one cell to another which can disrupt the data in every cell that depends on that faulty formula. This typically happens when you accidentally drag a cell from one place to another instead of copying it. Periodically check on the formulas in your cells to make sure the data is accurate.