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Inventory – Notes – 2018 – Part I

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1) Preparation of the inventory

A prerequisite for the preparation of the balance sheet is the recording of the individual assets (inventory). In particular, the recording of inventories (balance sheet items: Raw materials and supplies, work in progress and finished goods, merchandise) generally requires a physical inventory.

Inventories may also be determined using recognized mathematical-statistical methods on the basis of random samples if the result is equivalent to that of a physical inventory (Section 241 (1) HGB). Group valuation (see Note 6.1) and fixed value (see Note 6.2) are further inventory simplifications.

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2) Time of the inventory

Timely inventory: A proper inventory must be taken regularly on the balance sheet date or within 10 days before or after the balance sheet date. Changes in inventories between the inventory date and the balance sheet date must be taken into account.

Time-shifted inventory: The physical inventory can be carried out on a day within the last three months before or the first two months after the balance sheet date if an update or retroactive accounting procedure ensures proper valuation as of the balance sheet date. Updating can be carried out using the following method if the composition of the inventory on the balance sheet date does not differ significantly from the composition on the inventory date:

Physical inventory November 30 EUR 220,000
+ Goods received December 1 to 31 EUR 70,000
/ Cost of sales December 1 to 31 EUR 90,000
Inventory/balance sheet value December 31 200,000 EUR

It is also permissible to record parts of the inventory on the balance sheet date and other parts by way of updating or retroactive accounting. For assets with high value, high shrinkage or items that are subject to large price fluctuations, a time-deferred inventory is regularly not applicable. Cf. also R 5.3 para. 2 and 3 EStR.

Perpetual inventory: An inventory can also be taken on the basis of a perpetual inventory; in this case, the inventory for the balance sheet date can be determined according to type and quantity on the basis of stock books (e.g. EDP-supported stock management). However, the book inventory must be checked by physical inventory at least once in the business year. For further requirements, see H 5.3 “Permanent inventory” EStH. A permanent inventory is regularly not recognized for assets of high value, with high shrinkage or with high quantity differences (R 5.3 para. 3 EStR).[/vc_message][vc_message message_box_color=”blue”]

3) Scope of the inventory

The inventory (inventory) must allow to prove that the assets have been completely recorded. In this context, the following should be noted:


Auxiliary and operating materials, packaging, etc.: Auxiliary materials and supplies shall also be included. Auxiliary material is, for example, the glue used in furniture production. Operating materials are, for example, heating materials and gasoline and oil for motor vehicles. In general, it is sufficient if they are recorded at a reasonable estimated value (see also note 6).

However, an accurate inventory is also required for supplies and packaging materials if the values involved are either substantial or if the inventories fluctuate significantly on the balance sheet dates.


Work in progress and finished goods: The inventory documents must show how work in progress and finished goods were valued, i.e. the determination of production costs must be easily verifiable and verifiable – if necessary, by reference to work slips or costing documents. In the case of work in progress, the degree of completion should be indicated. Cf. also R 6.3 EStR.


“Floating goods”: goods in transit are also to be included in the inventory if they are economically part of the assets (e.g. by receipt of the bill of lading or the delivery bill).
If the company’s own goods are stored on other people’s premises (e.g. with forwarding agents), an inventory must be requested from the warehouse keeper.


Goods on consignment: Goods on consignment are not own goods and therefore not to be included as own stock. On the other hand, the company’s own goods that have been given to customers as goods on consignment are to be recorded as own stock (if necessary, stock certificates are to be requested from customers).


Inferior goods: Inferior and worthless goods shall also be included in inventory. The valuation can then be carried out with 0 euros, if necessary.[/vc_message]

(For further comments and information, please see our Information Letter 12/2018).

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