How to Build a Business Inventory List to Help the Claims Process

As a business owner, one of the most important aspects of your company running like a well-oiled machine is staying organized and efficient. Building a comprehensive business inventory list may not seem like a high priority, but in the end it’s worth the effort. It keeps you and your staff organized, allows you to make more informed decisions, and can even help during the insurance claims process.

[Case Study]: Protect Your Bottom Line With Prompt Claims Reporting

Building a Business Inventory List

An inventory list can serve many purposes. It can keep track of all products and equipment within a store location, track the number of properties associated with a business and their overall condition, uphold equipment maintenance schedules, and make item/equipment storage easier to handle.

Here’s how you can quickly and efficiently build a business inventory list.

1. Open Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets

The easiest way you can keep track of your products, equipment, etc. is by using a good old-fashioned spreadsheet. These tried and true programs have been used by business professionals because they offer unrivaled organization, efficiency through automated formulas, and unlimited customization. However, it’s important to note that some point-of-sales systems can provide live inventory reporting as well. 

Read, ‘7 Best Restaurant POS Systems in 2021.’

2. Fill in Meta Info at the Top

As they say, first thing’s first. At the top of the document, list general information that will help you stay organized in the future. This means including what the list is for, who it was created by, when it was created, contact info, etc. Chances are your business inventory list will be ever-changing, so documenting this information will help you identify which list is most up-to-date and for which business location (if you have more than one).

3. Decide What Data is Most Important For Your List

When creating your business inventory list, no one but you will know what info is crucial and what can be ignored because it really depends on your industry and what you’re using the list for. For instance, a property inventory list will differ greatly from a business insurance inventory list. 

For restaurant owners, generally speaking, these are some of the more important fields to fill in:

  • Item name
  • Quantity 
  • Purchase date
  • Purchased from
  • Item description
  • Value

4. Take Inventory

Bring your list with you either via printout, laptop or tablet and begin taking inventory of all the necessary products and equipment, filling out all the crucial fields in the spreadsheet. If you’re unsure of any of the info, don’t play guessing games since it may end up hurting you in the future. For instance, if you are unsure of when equipment was last maintained, don’t guess it. Be sure to ask employees and colleagues. The last thing you need is for crucial machinery to fail because it wasn’t maintained in a timely manner.

5. Maintain Your List and Create Backups

Your inventory list is only as good as the people who maintain it. Whenever you purchase new equipment or products, have repairs done, etc. be sure to log it into your comprehensive business inventory list! This will not only help you maintain efficiency and accuracy while conducting business, but it will also help you in the event that you have to make an insurance claim. 

Additionally, be sure you backup your list each time you make a change. Oftentimes, people prefer having hardcopy inventory lists, but these can get destroyed – or at the very least turned illegible – quite easily.  Create backups on a cloud-based server so even in the event of a natural disaster or fire, you’re able to keep track of your products and equipment.

Business Lists Help Insurance Claims

Having a comprehensive business inventory list doesn’t just help you uphold operational efficiency, it also makes your life much easier in the event of a disaster. For example, if your business were to undergo a fire, you may not know just how much insurance will cover the damage. Being able to tell the insurance company what was in your building, the make, serial number (when applicable), how much money it was worth, etc. will go a long way in saving you further headache and will expedite the claims process significantly.

If you’re playing the guessing game when it comes to the equipment that was destroyed in a disaster, you may not be recouping all of the funds that you’re entitled to. 

Society Insurance is Here to Protect Your Business 

In the event of a disaster that halts your business operations, it’s of utmost importance for you to articulate quickly and succinctly what was destroyed and how much it was worth. Nothing facilitates this better than having an up-to-date business inventory list.
Society is here to protect your business in your time of need. Contact a local Society agent to discuss your business insurance policies.


As a mutual insurance company, we operate and exist for the benefit of our policyholders. For more than 100 years, Society has been helping businesses overcome the unexpected with comprehensive coverage packages and outstanding claims handling, underwriting and risk management.

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