Stores Ledger

Updated on April 24, 2024
Article byPriya Choubey
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is Stores Ledger?

A Stores Ledger refers to a manual or computerized recording of the items in a firm’s store or warehouse to track their quantity, value, date of purchase, and sale or movement. It facilitates efficient inventory control and management and ensures accurate financial reporting.

What Is Stores Ledger

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In other words, such a ledger is prepared and managed to document and monitor a business’s inventory. It plays a crucial role in maintaining accurate records of stock levels by maintaining details such as stock received, issued, and current balances. Moreover, this ledger is updated frequently to enter the changes in stock level with every movement.

Key Takeaways

  • A stores ledger is an accounting record of a company’s inventory that monitors and tracks the movement of goods and products kept in the warehouse, thus, facilitating effective inventory management.
  • In large business entities, the cost accounting department is responsible for preparing and managing such ledger accounts.
  • There are three prominent sections of a stores ledger, i.e., inventory receipts, issues, and balance.
  • The stores ledger is a more comprehensive record of overall inventory, serving broader financial and accounting purposes. On the other hand, the bin card is a focused tool for tracking specific items in a designated storage location or bin.

Stores Ledger Explained

The stores ledger in cost accounting is maintained by the executives of the cost accounting department in an organization or sometimes by the inventory management head. Their responsibility involves recording information like incoming and outgoing stock, quantities, and values to maintain accurate and current details about the company’s inventory.

The two commonly used methods in stores ledger are First In, First Out (FIFO) and Last In, First Out (LIFO). The selection of a suitable method affects the financial statements and tax liabilities of the company. While stores ledger FIFO method leads to a higher reported income during periods of rising prices, LIFO results in lower income and tax liabilities.

The FIFO method emphasizes considering the oldest inventory items first for selling or production. The cost of goods sold (COGS) is based on the costs of the earliest acquired inventory. Also, the ending inventory is valued at the most recent costs, reflecting current market prices. However, LIFO focuses on using the most recently acquired items first for sale or production activities. Here, the COGS is decided by the most recent inventory costs, and the ending inventory is valued at older, lower costs, different from the current market prices.

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A stores ledger account comprises the following three primary sections:

  1. Receipts: It documents the quantity of various items received or added to the inventory.
  2. Issues: It notes the quantity of all the items issued or moved out of the warehouse.
  3. Balance: It states the running balance of the overall inventory after each transaction.

Given below is a general format:

Stores Ledger

Material Code: ………. Description: ………. Unit: ………. Location: ……….  

Maximum: ………. Minimum: ………. Reorder Level: ………. Reorder Quantity: ……….

QuantityCost Per UnitTotal CostQuantityCost Per UnitTotal CostQuantityCost Per UnitTotal Cost


Let us understand the concept through some examples.

Example #1

Let us consider the following stores ledger of XYZ Retail:

DateDescriptionReceipt (Qty)Issued (Qty)Balance (Qty)
01/01/2023Opening Balance0
05/01/2023Acquired – Product A100100
10/01/2023Sold – Product A2080
11/01/2023Acquired – Product B50130
21/01/2023Sold – Product A3050
23/01/2023Sold – Product B10120
27/01/2023Acquired – Product C75195

Note: The above example only records the units of products A, B, and C and not the Cost.

Example #2

Suppose a company selling beverages maintains the following stores ledger:

Stores Ledger

Material Code: 003 Description: French Vanilla Coffee Beans Unit: Kgs Location: Bin 4  

Maximum: 410 Kgs Minimum: 250 Kgs Reorder Level: 300 Kgs Reorder Quantity: 100 Kgs

Quantity (Kgs)Cost Per Unit ($)Total Cost ($)Quantity (Kgs)Cost Per Unit ($)Total Cost ($)Quantity (Kgs)Cost Per Unit ($)Total Cost ($)
Jan 1, 2023Opening Stock325154875
Feb 3, 2023Issued (For Processing)2515375300154500
Feb 10, 2023Purchase100161600300100151645001600
Feb 11, 2023Issued (For Processing)5015750250100151637501600

As seen in the above example, on Feb 11, 2023, the store issued 50 kgs of coffee beans for processing, but from the previous lot, which costs $15 per kg, thus following the principle of First In First Out method for maintaining stores ledger.

Advantages & Disadvantages

The effectiveness of a stores ledger in cost accounting majorly depends upon the company’s inventory management practices. Moreover, implementing routine audits and effective tracking systems is necessary for reaping maximum benefits and offsetting the various drawbacks as discussed below:


  • Internal control system: The stores ledger book aids in maintaining a comprehensive record of stock quantity, value, and movement, contributing to an effective inventory management system internally.
  • Cost monitoring: It facilitates the tracking of costs of various items at the time of receipt, storage, and issuance, thus enabling organizations to implement effective cost control measures.
  • Systematic record keeping: Through proper documentation, the stores ledger book ensures transparency and accountability by recording all purchase, issue, or return transactions related to the warehouse.
  • Provides inventory information: This tool helps evaluate the real-time store items’ value for preparing financial statements like the Profit and Loss Statement.
  • Audit trail: The store’s ledger account simplifies the auditing process by furnishing a traceable and verifiable record of inventory-related transactions during a particular accounting period.
  • Budgeting: As such data is available in the cost accounting department, the organizations can track and analyze the historical consumption patterns and inventory-related expenditures for budgetary planning.


  • Complexity: Maintaining a detailed ledger of inventory items can be a complicated and time-consuming affair, specifically for organizations with extensive stock items.
  • Difficult to Tally: It is challenging to immediately tally the stores ledger account with the physical inventory levels in case the record needs to be updated in a timely fashion.
  • Resource intensive: Accurate record-keeping demands trained personnel with sufficient knowledge of cost accounting. Hence, it poses a potential financial burden for small businesses.
  • Delays: Since the cost accountants maintain such data, it may take time for them to promptly furnish the critical inventory information to other departments when needed.
  • Chances of errors: Manual record-keeping increases the possibility of human errors, potentially leading to inaccuracies in stock-level recording and financial reporting.
  • Dependence on technology: In computerized ledger accounts, heavy reliance on technology can disrupt data recording and retrieval if there are technical issues or system failures.
  • Cost intensive: The maintenance of an efficient stores ledger system requires relevant tools and software and skilled labor, which is an expensive affair for small and medium enterprises.
  • Inventory adjustment: The stores ledger needs to be updated with stocks lost due to issues like theft, damage, or obsoletion, which complicates the process. 

Difference Between Stores Ledger And Bin Card

The stores ledger and bin card are two different tools essential for a company’s inventory management process. However, they have the following dissimilarities:

BasisStores LedgerBin Card
DefinitionIt is a centralized accounting record of all items in the company’s stock or warehouse.It is a subsidiary record bearing details of individual items in a specific storage location (bin), offering a quick overview of stock levels for a particular item.
TypeAccounting recordRecorded document
PurposeSuitable for financial and accounting purposes, managing detailed records for all stock transactions, including receipts, issues, and balancesOffers a more concise and location-specific view, apt for day-to-day stock management
RecordsTracks and manages all the inventory items available in a company’s warehouse.Provides details about the movement of a specific item in and out of the storage location
Maintained ByInventory management or cost accounting department executivesStorekeeper or warehouse personnel
UpdatesUpdated frequently as per stock items’ movementUpdated with every related transaction
LocationAccounting department or main officeStored in bins or at a specific location 
AuditPeriodically auditedFrequently audited for precision
FormatGenerally available as a spreadsheet on the computerPhysical card format
IntegrationSelf-sufficient, doesn’t link with other softwareUses inventory management tools like inventory control software and barcode scanner

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How to use stores ledger?

A stores ledger can be prepared using the following steps:
1. Recording the opening inventory,
2. Entering received goods,
3. Choosing a FIFO or LIFO valuation method,
4. Recording issued goods,
5. Calculating remaining stock and closing inventory,
6. Periodic reconciliation,
7. Generating reports,
8. Making inventory adjustments for damages or losses, and
9. Passing closing entries at the end of the accounting period.

2. Can a stores ledger be audited?

Yes, a stores ledger can be audited. Periodic audits ensure the accuracy and reliability of recorded inventory transactions, contributing to financial accountability and effective inventory management. Auditing helps identify any discrepancies and maintains the integrity of the stores ledger.

3. Is a stores ledger manual or computerized?

A stores ledger can be either manual or computerized, depending on the organization’s preferences and technological infrastructure. It involves handwritten entries, while computerized systems utilize software to record and manage inventory data efficiently.

This article has been a guide to what is Stores Ledger. Here, we compare it with bin card, and explain its format, examples, advantages, & disadvantages. You may also find some useful articles here –

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