A stock take, or physical inventory, is the process of counting or measuring the stock at a company's location or sub-location. The stock quantities from a stock take system are known as quantity on hand, as they represent the quantity physically present, independent of whether the items have been reserved for future sales.
Stock take system practices vary in frequency for different kinds of businesses. For retail and restaurants, a business may do stock takes daily or weekly as a means of keeping a regular count of what is on hand. Other types of businesses, wholesale and distribution and manufacturing, may use stock takes on a less frequent or less regular basis to verify and correct stock levels that are kept up-to-date between stock takes based on the quantity deltas from shipments received or sent from purchases, sales, and transfers.
Businesses may do stock takes on location using paper and pencil, or typing into a mobile device, or scanning with a barcode scanner. Whichever process the company uses, the stock take software process should facilitate an efficient means of counting the stock items and recording them to update the stock records on the fly or after the stock take is completed.
Examples from Finale Inventory
Here is a video of using Finale Inventory for a stock take.