Assets and Property Control
What is my role as Department Head?
The Department Head should be reasonably assured that physical assets are:
- Accounted for (either on the books or within a listing of property)
- Used for business purposes (for example, computer usage must comply with the University’s Policy (Acceptable Use Policy)
- Secured or protected from theft by outsiders or employees;
- Inventoried or tracked periodically; and
- Returned to the University when an employee who is assigned assets leaves the University
What policies and resources are available?
Per the Fiscal Responsibility Policy, it is all employees’ responsibility to ensure that all the assets of the institution are properly received, recorded, and protected. Per our accounting practices, any equipment that is purchased in amount of $5,000 or more is capitalized (whether bought or donated.) Thus, it must be recorded in the fixed asset system. Property may be procured in the following ways: Procurement Card, Procurement Services Requisition, Payment Request, or received through the Foundation.
This does not mean that anything under $5,000 should not be tracked. All departments should maintain an internal inventory of computers purchased and their disposition. We should be able to substantiate the purchases of all equipment with inventory support. Use the Non-capitalized Personal Computers Inventory form to track computer equipment.
Another responsibility of the department head is to ensure that when an employee leaves the University, for any reason, all University property must be returned to the University. An employee is sent an Exit Questionnaire and Property Clearance form by the Office of Human Resources. The Property Clearance form must be completed and certified by the department head, and returned to the Office of Human Resources before 5:00 p.m. on the last day of employment. (Refer to Employee Handbook Section 3.20.l – Property Clearance)
Specific University policies regarding University assets are found at the following links:
- Capital Assets Policy – Defines capital assets as all equipment whether obtained by purchase, donation, or other means, with a cost (or estimated fair value if actual cost is not available) of $5,000 or more and an estimated useful life of more than one year. Capital assets are required to be tagged by Property Control Office and recorded in the fixed asset system.
- Property Control Procedures Manual– This addresses how property is inventoried, returned to vendors, disposed of, transferred to other departments, etc.
- Property Control and Central Receiving Website – Provides information such as public auction dates, disposal procedures, and forms for surplusing property.
- Acceptable Use Policy – Use of University resources should support the University’s purpose of developing educated persons and mission of public affairs.
- Computer Inventory – Keep a log of your personal computers (see the link below) for computer equipment that is valuable but is between $1K and $5K in cost. If this equipment has a useful life of more than two years and may be easily convertible to personal use, it’s important to support your purchases with this ‘log’, and account for computers when an employee may transfer or resign from the University.
- Note: Beware when surplussing any data storage device! - Any computers, scanners, photocopy machines, and even telephones that store University information MUST go through the process of having the hard drive/storage device “zeroed out”. This process ensures confidentiality of data that may have been temporarily stored on these devices. If you have any questions, contact Jim Taylor, the University’s Information Security Officer, to ensure this process is performed and the University does not experience a breach of security.
On a practical basis – what should I do?
It’s a good idea to have your assistant or someone within the department to keep a log of all personal computers and related equipment, and other equipment of higher value to ensure you know what is on hand and will know if property is missing. If you notice an amount of depreciation that does not make sense, contact Financial Services. Once a year, make sure that items on the inventory are in place.
Disposal of equipment should be documented, even when giving to other departments, and in compliance with the University’s surplus policy. Otherwise, the equipment remains on your account and you will be responsible for it. Any major purchases should be added to your own computer listing or tracking (if under $5K).