The Overlooked Inventory: Personal Property

by Cindy Hartman - November 15th, 2012

Manufacturers, distribution centers, and retail companies concentrate on having thorough inventories of their consumables and/or resell items. Unfortunately, many small and medium businesses don’t realize the importance of a personal property (asset) inventory. This information is commonly out of date or has never really been captured in a thorough document of photos and a detailed list.

Today’s guest post is by Schaefer Shelving. Their specialty is helping customers improve their supply chain, logistics, storage and distribution processes, featuring their Logimat Storing System. They recognize the value of a personal property inventory and we thank them for contributing!

Take Inventory of Personal Property

Business owners often overlook a very important feature of inventory control: their own personal property. Loss of valuable personal property may initially go unnoticed as a result of a lack of regular use or visibility. Take inventory of personal property as a measure of additional property from unnecessary loss and costly replacement.

How To Identify Personal Property

Generally, inventory of a business is regularly monitored by the use of computer aided software applications. However, to identify personal property you must first review the actual capital assets of the businesses to accurately assess whether they fall into the category of personal property. Try to evaluate the legal definition of personal property as it applies to business owners in a particular state or federal jurisdiction. The general ledger may define several aspects of equipment and the office systems as personal property. Real estate such as home and business property also must be clearly defined before including them in personal property inventory. Vehicles used by a business owner may also be considered personal property if the circumstances of use warrant it.

Know Your Personal Property To Avoid Risk

Business owners need to have access to a clearly outlined inventory of their personal property. This can be extremely helpful whenever legal issues arise of a personal or business nature. Setting up an inventory for business and one for personal would be highly advisable. Most inventory control software applications provide a feature for this purpose. If there are questions about the status of a category of property, consult with a legal expert. Lawyers and accountants are extremely useful when preparing a proper inventory assessment or integration.

Business Liens, Damage, Theft and Insurance Claims

There are other significant reasons to set up a personal property inventory:

Business Liens
Property Damage
Theft
Insurance Claims

An unexpected financial difficulty that causes a lien against a business may negatively impact personal property. This is also true of property damage caused by natural disasters and theft. In the process of filing an insurance claim for any of these situations, a personal property inventory makes the recovery process more expedient. Take the time to create a detailed personal property inventory. Protect it from possible damage by creating several types of copies:

Hard copies kept in a fire-proof and waterproof safe
Copies to a computer disk
Copies to an outsourced online computer backup system

The Value of a Personal Property Inventory

Each item listed in a personal property inventory should also include the current value. This would portray the total financial value of all personal property as a secondary means of establishing asset value for loss purposes and insurance claim processing. Don’t forget to determine the values of items that may be irreplaceable like antiques and collectors pieces. Most computer software applications for inventory control make this a simple step.

Personal Property Inventory – Worth the Time and Effort

There’s a sense of relief once a personal property inventory is completed. Creating this type of inventory is worth the time and effort when risk of loss and cost of replacement of valuable personal property is considered.

Cindy Hartman
Hartman Inventory, LLC
317-501-6818
cindy@hartmaninventory.com

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