How do small businesses keep track of inventory for free?

By Annapoorna


Updated on: Apr 5th, 2022


3 min read

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Inventory tracking might sound simpler–but it isn’t. Managing inventory is essentially a key pain point for businesses, whether large or small. A poor inventory management system would lead to wasted resources and could be costly for a business. It might also lead to product stockouts putting a halt to your business.

Advantages and disadvantages of conventional inventory tracking

Some businesses use just a sheet of paper or spreadsheets for tracking their inventory. It’s extremely restricted and suits businesses stocking limited items at a particular location and employing just a handful of people.

Here are some benefits of conventional inventory tracking using the traditional method:

(1) Cost-effective – This method doesn’t cost anything literally. All you need is your stock book, ledger, and pen to get started.

(2) Minimal Training – You don’t have to be tech-savvy to track inventory conventionally. Anyone can do it, and it requires minimal training.

(3) Simple – It’s the simplest form of inventory management, and they’re easier to read and interpret.

Tools or systems to track inventory for free and low cost

Though conventional inventory tracking offers some benefits; however, there are apparent disadvantages as well. Some of the major issues using a conventional system are as below:

  • Security – Irrespective of size, it’s imperative to protect its data for a business. One of the major security risks for any business is handwritten or printed documents which can be easily mishandled or lost. At the same time, digital data can be encrypted and kept safely in electronic devices.
  •  Prone to Damage – Handwritten or printed documents could be damaged easily. Fire, theft or a natural disaster would lead to loss of essential information. If you don’t have a backup, once the documents are gone, there’s no way to retrieve that information.
  • Editing – If you wish to change your inventory in a paper-based method, you might need to rewrite the entire content again. You would need to repeat the same every time you wish to make more changes.
  • Accuracy – Manual systems place pressure on individuals to be correct in every detail at all times, the problem being manual systems are prone to error. Inconsistency in data entry miskeying information allows a lot of room for errors in a manual conventional inventory management setup.

Today, increasingly, businesses are employing inventory software for tracking their inventory. Much of such software is offered as inventory apps with free and paid subscriptions. Your business could significantly benefit from inventory tracking tools by improving productivity and overall profitability while curbing waste and inefficiency. A systematic and organised inventory tracking tool would help you achieve more work within less time. Inventory tracking tool would reduce the time it takes for processing, auditing, and tracking your products.

Look for an app that’s modern and spontaneous, even if you have to pay a small fee. Some of these apps could be very expensive. You should look for an app offering a valid subscription. 

You can also keep a reminder of ClearOne’s inventory tracking tool, which would do all the number crunching for you and will offer best-in-class features as follows

(1) Easy-to-use interface

(2) Notifications and alerts for low stock

(3) Tracking inventory from anywhere and anytime

About the Author

I preach the words, “Learning never exhausts the mind.” An aspiring CA and a passionate content writer having 4+ years of hands-on experience in deciphering jargon in Indian GST, Income Tax, off late also into the much larger Indian finance ecosystem, I love curating content in various forms to the interest of tax professionals, and enterprises, both big and small. While not writing, you can catch me singing Shāstriya Sangeetha and tuning my violin ;). Read more


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