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Why are perpetual inventory systems so much more popular today than back in the early 1960s and earlier? Why would a company employing a perpetual inventory system still take a physical inventory periodically?

With a perpetual inventory system is able to provide better control over a company's inventories than a periodic system. In a perpetual system the inventory records show the quantities that should be on hand, which means that the company can go and do a physical count of the goods to see if the amount of goods match their records. By doing a physical inventory a company is able to see if a shortage has occured and if it has then the company can investigate and fix the problem.

A perpetual inventory system is popular today because all phases of creating and supplying a product are much more advanced and the customer has grown used to this supply system. In modern western cultures, people are used to being able to purchase and obtain most any item they wish whereas in the 1960’s the time it took to produce and supply a product was much slower and people were in the habit of placing an order and waiting for it to be delivered.

Physical inventories are accomplished to provide solid and undisputable evidence of inventory levels. This evidence can serve to bolster customer and stakeholder confidence as well as identify and correct any errors within an inventory system. Fraudulent activities such as falsifying inventories, misleading auditors, or claiming that inventory is owned or is in transit when in actuality it does not’t exist, are sought to bolster stock prices, company bonuses, and financial statement numbers. A physical inventory will help identify such behavior before it can do lasting damage to a company’s reputation.

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