There are two parts to a stocktake – the physical counting, and the analysis. Yes, you could count your stock and record the counts on sheets of paper, and some businesses still do, but it can be stressful and very labour intensive, and until you enter the counts into a computer, you won’t be able to analyse it properly anyway. With paper stock count sheets, you need to go to each stock item, write the item code or description down on the sheet, then count the items and write that count onto the sheet. Then, you need to take the sheets back to a computer, and enter the item codes and counts into your accounting program (like MYOB or QuickBooks) or perhaps into a spreadsheet. Does that sound like much fun to you? The alternative is to use a barcode scanner. Most items now days have a barcode label on them already, but even if your products don’t, you can easily make your own labels with a computer, a laser printer, and pre-cut laser label sheets, and attach them to your products. There are two main types of barcode scanners – devices that connect directly to a PC (or notebook) via a cable or Bluetooth, and self-contained portable battery powered units with their own display and keypad. With the first type of barcode scanner, you scan the barcodes on your stock directly into your accounting program or spreadsheet, then type in the count. With the second type of barcode scanner, you take a small handheld device around with you, scanning barcodes and typing in quantities on the barcode scanner itself, then bring the barcode scanner back to your computer and download all the collected stocktake information into your accounting program or spreadsheet. With this type of barcode scanner, each person conducting the stocktake would have their own barcode scanners, which will allow the stocktake to be finished much sooner.