Auditing inventory is the process of cross-checking financial records with physical inventory and records. It can be completed by auditors and other parties.
An inventory audit can be as simple as just taking a physical count of stock and inventory to verify a match to the accounting records.
Auditing is the process of verifying that the financial records of an entity are accurate and fairly represented. Transactions in financial records must fairly represent the entity’s financial positioning and actual operating activities.
Since financial documentation and records are produced internally, there is a high risk that records can be manipulated by inside parties. Insiders can make mistakes or intentionally alter information while preparing financial records, which is considered fraudulent behavior. Auditing ensures that these mistakes are prevented.
Evidence is needed to determine whether financial statements or records have been prepared in accordance with standards and free from material error. It is also required to promote the accuracy, transparency, and independence of audit reports.
Evidence is required by auditors to verify the validity of financial records. It can either verify or provide support for the financial information that is presented. On the other hand, the evidence can contradict the financial information, which indicates errors or fraudulent behavior.
Importance of Auditing Inventory
Observation of inventory is a generally accepted auditing procedure, where an independent auditor issues an opinion on whether the financial records of inventory accurately represent the physical inventory being carried.
Auditing inventory is an important aspect of gathering evidence, especially for manufacturing or retail-based businesses. It can represent a large balance of assets or capital.
Auditing inventory must verify not only the amount of inventory but also its quality and condition to see whether the value of the inventory is fairly represented in financial records and statements.
Inventory Audit Procedures
Some common inventory audit procedures are:
1. ABC analysis
An ABC analysis includes grouping different value and volume inventory. For example, high-value inventory, mid-value, and low-value products can be grouped separately. The items can be tracked and stored in their separate value groups as well.
2. Analytical procedures
Analytical procedures include analyzing inventory based on financial metrics such as gross margins, days inventory on hand, inventory turnover ratio, and costs of inventory historically.
3. Cut-off analysis
The cut-off analysis includes pausing operations such as receiving and shipping of inventory while making a physical count to avoid mistakes.
4. Finished goods cost analysis
Finished goods cost analysis applies to manufacturers and includes valuing finished inventory during an accounting period.
5. Freight cost analysis
Freight cost analysis includes determining the shipping or freight costs for transporting inventory to different locations. Generally, freight costs are included in the value of inventory, so it is important to track the freight costs as well.
Matching involves matching the number of items and the cost of inventory shipped with financial records. Auditors may conduct matching to verify that the right amounts were charged at the right time.
7. Overhead analysis
Overhead analysis includes analyzing the indirect costs of the business and overhead costs that may be included in the costs of inventory. Rent, utilities, and other costs can be recorded as part of inventory costs in some cases.
Reconciliation includes solving discrepancies that are found in an inventory audit. Errors may be re-checked and reconciled on financial records.
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