Best Practices to Conduct an Effective IT Inventory Audit


It's no secret that IT asset management (ITAM) is key to keeping track of your devices and boosting your team's efficiency. But an effective ITAM strategy isn't something you can set and forget – to keep your data accurate and up to date, you need to conduct routine audits of your IT inventory.

We know that audits can sound daunting – whether you're auditing your IT hardware for compliance purposes or to inform an upcoming purchase order, your company's operations rely on audit reports. But when you have the right processes and tools in place, you can easily audit your IT inventory to collect accurate data and ensure that the assets that power your organization are running smoothly. Let's review the elements of IT inventory audits, their importance, and tips to build an effective audit process.

What is an IT Asset Inventory Audit?

An IT inventory audit is an assessment of an organization's IT assets, including hardware, software, and other technology resources. An audit not only involves confirming your overall IT asset inventory count but also corroborating an individual asset's location, condition, and status. The purpose of an IT inventory audit is to provide up-to-date records for your IT assets so you're able to determine any discrepancies and increase accountability in your organization.

An IT equipment inventory typically consists of the following components:

  • Hardware (e.g., laptops, monitors, printers, etc.)
  • Software (e.g., software applications, operating systems, and licenses)
  • Network devices (e.g., servers, routers, modems)
  • Kits of IT equipment accessories (e.g., mice and keyboards)
  • IT asset components (e.g., chargers, HDMI cables)

The Importance of IT Inventory Audits

Now that we've reviewed the elements of IT inventory audits, let's take a deeper dive into 5 reasons why they're so important for your organization.  

  • Accurate asset records: When you routinely conduct IT inventory audits, you'll ensure that your asset records are regularly updated and accurate. Accurate asset records not only help you effectively manage your current inventory but also plan for future purchasing needs.
  • Better asset utilization: Since audits help you identify underutilized assets, you can, in turn, optimize your resource allocation and lengthen the lifespan of those assets to ultimately save money.
  • Increased compliance: By routinely verifying the status and condition of your IT assets, your organization can remain compliant with licensing agreements, regulatory requirements, and industry standards, avoiding the legal and financial risks associated with non-compliance.
  • Improved efficiency: Accurate IT inventory records enable your team to more efficiently assign assets, troubleshoot technical issues, and plan and budget for future purchases. Plus, having a pulse on the current state of your IT assets and network infrastructure helps to ensure your employees have the right tools they need to effectively do their jobs.
  • Reduced downtime: By tracking the exact location, condition, and repair history of your IT assets, you can accurately forecast upcoming maintenance needs and, in turn, reduce downtime. This also applies to the state of your overall network and your software licenses – when you can ensure your servers are in working order and you have enough software licenses for your employees, everyone can stay on track and productive.

Building an Effective IT Inventory Audit Process

Now that we've reviewed the importance of IT inventory audits, you're probably wondering, "How do I efficiently conduct these audits?" In order to do so, there are various steps to take to ensure you have a pulse on your current IT inventory and, of course, the right tools to audit it. Let's look at how you can build an effective IT inventory audit process.

Planning your audit

As with any process, the first step in your audit procedure is to plan and document exactly what it will look like. Define the objectives of an IT inventory audit along with each step of the process. It's important to note you may have multiple iterations of this documented process as there may be slightly different steps to take when auditing IT hardware versus software. Of course, be sure to include any relevant resources (e.g., links, help center guides), stakeholder information, and timelines in your documented audit process.

Choose the right IT audit software

Once you've taken stock of your full IT inventory, you need to ensure you have the right software in place to audit it effectively. If you're using an IT asset management platform, see what audit capabilities it offers – you may already have an audit solution at your fingertips! Whether you're vetting your current asset management solution or other audit tools, here are a few features to consider to make your IT inventory audits as efficient as possible:

  • A mobile app: IT audit software that offers a mobile app can save your team lots of time and energy. Rather than carrying a laptop or bulky scanner through an office, warehouse, or job site, your employees can more easily (and safely!) get to what they need. Plus, a mobile app will save you even more time if it offers...
  • Built-in barcode technology: A mobile app with built-in barcode technology will not only save your team even more time but will also reduce the risk of errors by eliminating manual entry. This technology will also allow you to easily create barcodes or QR codes for new items in the future and avoid the additional cost of scanners.
  • Unlimited users: With the ability to add unlimited users to your IT inventory audit platform, you'll be able to get your entire team on the same page. Not to mention, you can easily build and assign audits to the right team members to help you stay on schedule. This feature is especially important for hybrid and remote-first companies.
  • Robust audit reporting: While you want to make the actual audit process as easy as possible, you can't draw the right insights without the right reports. Ensure that your chosen solution offers robust reporting filters and/or a full audit dashboard so you can effectively analyze your data and make better, informed decisions.

Create and assign audits

With your IT inventory accounted for and your asset audit software in place, you're ready to actually build and assign your audits. As you create these audits, consider the different groupings for each, such as location, group (e.g., hardware or software), category (e.g., laptops, monitors, servers), etc. Of course, if your organization is on the smaller side, you may only create a couple of audits to start.

Once you've built your audits and trained your team on your documented audit process (more on this later), you're ready to assign them to your team members. If it's possible in your software, set your audits to your desired recurring frequency (e.g., monthly, quarterly) to maintain data accuracy.

Analyze audit reports

After your audits are completed, it's time to analyze the reports. While you may have other specific metrics to evaluate, you'll primarily want to use these reports to note any discrepancies within your IT inventory. Of course, missing items are the biggest discrepancies to consider, but also factor in any unexpectedly damaged devices, devices in different locations, or ones with different statuses (e.g., assigned to an employee when they were expected to be available). This will allow you to hold your employees accountable as needed for any lost or damaged assets and identify trends and potential room for improvement over time.

Remediation and action

If you've identified any discrepancies or non-compliance issues within your audit reports, you can then take the necessary steps to hold the right people accountable and correct policies as necessary. During this step, you may also need to update your asset records to account for these discrepancies, so your data is up to date. However, if you're completing these audits directly through your IT asset management system, your records will update automatically once the audit is completed.

      IT Inventory Audit Best Practices

      Once you've built out your IT inventory audit process, you're ready to put it into action. Here are a couple of best practices to help you effectively implement your plan and maintain accurate asset data.

      Training your team

      As with any new process, it's essential to train your team on your newly created IT inventory audit routine. This training should include the key stakeholders in this process as well as their team members that may be assigned audits at some point. As you continue to conduct audits and identify any trends or discrepancies, repeat the training as necessary.

      Finally, add a live or recorded training session to new hire onboarding for the key stakeholders and teams involved in the IT inventory audit process – this will help you ensure that team members old and new will understand the procedure and be prepared for future audits.

      Tag your IT asset inventory items with barcodes

      As we mentioned in the asset identification step of the audit process, creating unique asset IDs and, ideally, labels for your IT inventory is crucial. When you take the time to tag your IT inventory items with barcodes or QR codes, your team will realize various benefits by eliminating the need for manual asset entry. By accounting for items with a single scan, you'll not only save time but have more accurate and reliable data at your fingertips.


      With the right process and software in place, regularly auditing your IT inventory is a breeze. If you're still searching for a comprehensive IT inventory audit solution with built-in barcode technology, Asset Panda can help.

      Asset Panda is a fully customizable IT asset management and audit platform. With our robust web and mobile apps, you can manage your IT inventory from anywhere, at any time. Our built-in barcode technology makes it easy for you to create, print, and scan your own barcode labels (and, of course, conduct routine audits to keep your data up to date!).

      If you're ready to see how Asset Panda can help you better manage your IT inventory audits, request your demo today.

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