This is a guest post by contributor Marla DiCarlo outlining how inventory and its value should be approached in any company which handles stock and its business depends on keeping detailed information about the inventory costs.
Inventory has the potential to become quite the contentious issue when selling a business. If the seller and buyer do not agree on the inventory count or value, it will prove difficult to reach an agreement on the business’ sale price. Though it will be challenging to accurately value the entirety of your company’s inventory, it can be done. Let’s take a quick look at how to value inventory when selling a business.
Tabulate the Inventory Cost
The first step to accurately gauge the value of your inventory is to determine the price of your inventory based on what you paid for those items or spent to manufacture them. If you paid varying costs for different items in your inventory, you need to know all this information in detail. It does not matter if the items were bought in bulk, purchased individually or made at varying cost at your manufacturing facility; you must determine the true cost of the entirety of the inventory based on what it cost to acquire or make those items. The individual or entity bidding on your business deserves to know exactly what it costs to acquire your inventory down to the penny.
Calculate the Inventory Sale Price at Current Rates
Break out the calculator and add up the true cost of your inventory based on the sale of each item at its current price. As an example, a company that sells widgets for $25 a piece would have an inventory value of $2,500 if it had 100 units stocked in inventory. The sale price of your inventory will prove critically important to those interested in placing a bid. Such a sale price can be determined at today’s rates or – if that’s impractical to find out – in the rates you typically sell at.
Account for Goods That Cannot be Sold
The value of unusable goods, damaged goods and goods that cannot be sold for another reason must be subtracted from your inventory’s retail value. As an example, consider a frozen fish supplier that has a power outage along with a generator failure that causes 100 servings of fish to spoil. If the retail value of each fish serving is $20, a total of $2,000 must be subtracted from the inventory’ value. However, the cost of inventory remains unchanged. Unusable goods affect the inventory’s retail value as opposed to what it cost to acquire or make the inventory. This is also information which needs to be maintained at any time and be easily retrievable.
Perform Ongoing Adjustments of Inventory Values
Inventory value is dynamic rather than static. The true value of your inventory hinges on current market rates. This means business sale negotiations that take place weeks or months prior to the current date will be based on the inventory’s price at the point of those initial talks. Continue to adjust your inventory value as time progresses to ensure they reflect the items’ true value at the current moment in time. Otherwise, there will likely be a disagreement as to what the actual inventory value really is when negotiations advance. Furthermore, inventory value must be adjusted as new items are added and old items are sold.
Strive for a Mutually Beneficial Inventory Value
The inventory value must prove acceptable to the business buyer as well as the seller. In some cases, it makes sense to sell inventory separately from the company. The bottom line is there is no 100% foolproof means of tabulating the true value of inventory as there are multiple methods to calculate value. Discuss inventory valuation with the party interested in acquiring your business, reach an agreement on a mutually beneficial inventory value and both sides will feel as though they are getting a fair shake.
Marla DiCarlo is an accomplished business consultant with more than 28 years of professional accounting experience. As co-owner and CEO of Raincatcher, she helps business owners learn how to sell a businessso they can get paid the maximum value for their company.
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