Fixed Assets, a unit within the Purchasing Department, maintains accurate and current data on movable equipment campus-wide, records and facilitates annual inventories, and provides the school departments with timely reports and information regarding their assets.
This policy/procedure is designed to comply with state regulations and guidelines and to assist management in carrying out their responsibilities regarding the accountability for school equipment, including:
- Reporting of changes in equipment status.
- Temporary relocation of equipment.
- Tracking of fixed assets
This policy applies to all school departments and activities utilizing equipment purchased with state/grant funds, equipment furnished by sponsoring agencies through external contracts or grants with the school, or equipment donated to the school.
School Equipment. For purposes of this policy, School equipment is defined as non-consumable, movable items with a useful life of one year or more. Equipment items are used in normal departmental operations and are not for resale purposes. Equipment items are generally complete in themselves (i.e., do not become a component item and do not lose their identity).
Fixed Assets are defined as property, such as equipment, buildings and land, with a cost or value equal to or greater than $5,000 at the date of acquisition, and has an expected useful life of more than one year.
- For donated equipment items, the fair market value at the time of donation determines whether the item meets the fixed asset definition.
- For other equipment items, the initial acquisition cost determines whether an item meets the fixed asset definition. The initial acquisition cost includes the total of the following, if all these costs are on the same initial order:
- Purchase price of the equipment, and
- Reasonable and necessary expenses (such as shipping charges, tax, start-up or installation if applicable) to prepare the equipment for its intended use.
To meet the fixed asset definition, the total of these costs must equal at least $5,000.
- Items with an initial acquisition cost of less than $5,000 are not defined as fixed assets, even when a subsequent addition or improvement to the equipment causes the cost to exceed $5,000.
Accountability for School Equipment
Each department head is responsible for safeguarding all assets purchased for the department and assisting with the physical inventory process. It is recommended that departments have an internal tracking procedure for its fixed assets to track asset locations and to ensure assets are safeguarded against theft or loss. Each department is also susceptible to internal and external audit verifications of its fixed assets. Departments must notify the Fixed Asset Officer if an asset needs a new tag.
Fixed Asset Officer:
The Fixed Asset Officer within the Purchasing department has the responsibility for:
- Entering fixed assets (all assets with a cost of $5,000 or more) into the fixed asset system.
- Assigning each asset a unique number.
- Attaching a UNCSA silver decal with the corresponding unique number to each recorded fixed asset.
- Coordinating with campus departments the physical inventory of the fixed assets.
Maintaining a positive identification of assets is the primary purpose of tagging. Tagging is important to:
- Provide an accurate method of identifying individual assets,
- Aid in the annual physical inventory,
- Control the location of all fixed assets,
- Aid in maintenance of fixed assets,
- Provide a common ground of communication for both Financial Services and the assets’ users.
Fixed Asset Tracking
All school equipment meeting the fixed asset definition is tracked in the school’s computerized fixed asset system. A UNCSA fixed asset tag number is attached or assigned to such equipment for inventory and identification purposes. If equipment meeting the fixed asset definition is not tagged within a reasonable time after receipt, the owning department is responsible for notifying the Fixed Asset Officer. Once items have been tagged, it is important not to remove, relocate, or damage fixed asset tags.
Equipment not meeting the fixed asset definition (i.e., cost is under $5,000) is not tracked in the school’s computerized fixed asset system and a fixed asset tag number is not attached or assigned to the equipment, even when a subsequent addition or improvement to the item causes the cost to exceed $5,000. However, such equipment items are subject to random selection for audit.
Receipt of Equipment as a Gift
All non-cash gifts to the school should be coordinated with the Development Office, the Controller, in cooperation with the department receiving the gift, is responsible for establishing the fair market value of the gift for reporting purposes.
Physical Inventory Policy
A physical inventory of all fixed assets is taken to verify assets recorded in the Fixed Asset System, which are physically located at the school. This requires a hands-on inspection of each asset, verifying UNCSA tag, location and if applicable the serial number. Inventories are taken at least annually and shall be completed prior to the financial reporting due date.
The Fixed Asset Officer will send inventory worksheets listing all tagged assets to the department head, along with instructions on how to properly conduct the physical inventory. The department head or his or her designee shall locate all inventory items listed, update the inventory worksheet data, and return the information to the Fixed Asset Officer within 10 business days.
Upon completion of the physical inventory, the Fixed Asset Officer will update the Fixed Asset System as needed and send a missing items schedule and a final inventory printout to the department. On a timely basis, the Fixed Asset Officer will prepare and send missing asset reports to the Purchasing Director and the Internal Auditor
Equipment Missing During Physical Inventory
Fixed assets are considered missing when an inventory is taken and assets on the Physical Inventory Worksheet are not found. This can occur because an asset is moved to another location but the new location is not recorded on the system before the Physical Inventory Worksheets are printed, or the asset could be lost or stolen.
During the annual physical inventory, missing assets are noted on the Physical Inventory Worksheets. After the sheets are completed, they are forwarded to the Fixed Asset Officer for reconciliation to the Fixed Asset System. The Fixed Asset Officer compares assets listed as missing on the Physical Inventory Worksheets at one location with assets found at other locations that were not listed on the Physical Inventory Worksheets. If there are any matches, location changes are made to the Fixed Asset System to list the asset properly.
Equipment missing after this process is then flagged in the Fixed Asset System as “suspended.” The Fixed Asset Officer and the department representative have responsibilities in the attempt to locate the missing property.
- The department having items of equipment missing during the annual inventory will be given a period of 90 days to locate the items in question.
- If the items in question are still missing after the 90-day period, the Fixed Asset Officer will submit a report to the appropriate dean or department head and copy the Purchasing Director. The dean or department head will be requested to respond within 30 days.
- After 180 days, if the items are still considered missing, a second report will be submitted to the dean or department head, with a copy to the Purchasing Director. The dean or department head will be requested to respond within 30 days.
- If items are still missing after 210 days, the Fixed Asset Officer will consult with the Purchasing Director to determine appropriate steps to be taken based on the individual circumstances, including, filing a misuse report, conducting an on-site audit, or awarding additional time to locate items. University disciplinary action will be taken when appropriate, up to and including termination.
- Equipment that is not located at the end of one year and is still on the missing status report will be removed from the Fixed Asset System at the end of the next fiscal year.
The following actions will occur simultaneously with the steps described above:
The designated departmental representative will submit to the Fixed Assets Officer a quarterly status report of efforts to locate the missing equipment.
The Fixed Asset Officer will monitor the progress of the department’s investigation by comparing the quarterly status reports.
The Fixed Asset Officer will update the inventory database when missing equipment is located.
Lost or Stolen Equipment
According to G.S. 114-15.1, if any state property has been stolen, the employee discovering the theft must report it to his/her supervisor. This is to be done as soon as possible, but no later than three days from the date of discovery. The supervisor is then to notify Campus Police. In addition an Inventory Action Form must be prepared and forwarded to the Fixed Asset Officer with a copy of the police report attached.
Change in Location within the School Policy
Prior to changing the assigned location of any fixed asset within the university, the Equipment Action Form must be completed. The form must be signed by the giving and receiving department heads and submitted to the Fixed Asset Officer.
The Fixed Asset Officer approves all location changes. Upon approval, the Fixed Asset Officer will enter the location changes into the Fixed Asset System. A copy of this form will be signed and returned indicating inventory records have been adjusted.
Disposal of School Equipment through Surplus Property
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES CAN STATE-OWNED PROPERTY BE DONATED, TRADED-IN, OR GIVEN TO ANOTHER ENTITY WITHOUT APPROVAL OF THE STATE SURPLUS PROPERTY OFFICE.
School equipment that is no longer needed by a department cannot be thrown away or discarded. If not transferred directly to another school department, all school equipment regardless of cost must be sent to Surplus Property for disposal.
Trade-In of Equipment
Some equipment, such as office machines may have a trade-in value on the purchase of new or similar equipment. When equipment is used for trade-in, the responsible department should get prior written approval from the Fixed Asset Officer, who must get approval from the State Surplus Agency. Once approval is received from the State Surplus Agency, the Fixed Asset Officer will forward an approved copy of the Inventory Action Form back to the requesting department. An Inventory Action Form should be completed and sent to the Fixed Asset Officer before the Purchase Requisition is completed. A notation should be made on the Purchase Requisition detailing the equipment to be traded-in.
Temporary Relocation of Equipment
Departments are required to maintain a current record of any temporary relocation (using the Equipment Temporary Check Out List), whenever equipment is removed from the custody of the department, or the employees to which the equipment is normally assigned, regardless of whether or not the equipment meets the fixed asset definition. Equipment may be temporarily relocated with prior department head approval. Except for repairs, the temporary removal of equipment is authorized only for school departments. Off-campus use should be for work on a school assignment. Removal of school equipment for off-campus use without department head approval may result in the individual being prosecuted for misappropriation of state property and/or larceny. School equipment used off campus or loaned to another campus department or activity is subject to immediate return if requested by school officials, state auditors, or other state agencies.
Items purchased with school funds are the property of the state and are not intended for personal use.
- Purchase of School Equipment
- To facilitate tracking of fixed assets, use the correct object code. To obtain the correct object code, refer to the UNCSA Chart of Accounts Account Codes. For additional assistance in determining the appropriate object code, contact the Fixed Asset Officer.
- Permanent Changes in Equipment Status
- The listing provided by the Fixed Asset Officer is the official record of fixed assets for which the dean or department head is responsible.
- When fixed asset items are permanently transferred to another department or relocated, or when any equipment items are lost, stolen, traded in, or sent to Surplus Property, prepare a Inventory Action Form to notify the Fixed Asset Officer so that appropriate records may be adjusted.
- Temporary Loans or Transfers of Equipment
Departments are required to maintain an equipment check out list whenever equipment items are temporarily removed from the custody of the campus department or employee(s) normally assigned the equipment. This record may be reviewed during an audit.
- Annual Physical Inventory of Fixed Assets
- Each year by March 31, the Fixed Assets Officer provides a fixed asset listing to each dean or department head, itemizing all fixed assets for which he/she is accountable.
- The dean or department head or his/her designee conducts the physical inventory and records any changes on the listing as follows:
- Additions (Attach Inventory Adjustment Form)
- Location changes within the responsible department
- Equipment transferred to the responsibility of another dean or department head (attach Inventory Disposition Form and a copy of the signed Inventory Action Form.)
- Equipment placed in surplus (attach Inventory Disposition Form and a copy of the Inventory Action Form.)
- Lost or stolen equipment (attach a police report and an Inventory Disposition Form.)
- By April 30 each year, the dean or department head will need to sign and return the completed fixed asset listings to the Fixed Assets Officer. If listings are not returned within two weeks, the Fixed Asset Officer will send a second request to the department, with a copy forwarded to the Senior Director of Business Affairs. Delinquent listings after the second request are referred to the Senior Director of Business Affairs.
- Adjustments to Fixed Assets Records after Physical Inventory
The Fixed Asset Officer will adjust the school records to reflect the results of the inventory and will make on-site verifications as necessary. A corrected listing will be returned to the department by September 30. This listing is for departmental information only and does not need to be returned to the Fixed Asset Officer unless corrections need to be made.
- Requests for Additional Fixed Asset Listings
In addition to the annual fixed asset listing, deans or department heads may submit a request to the Fixed Asset Officer to generate additional fixed asset printouts at any time if there is a need to review or verify the fixed assets for which he/she is accountable.