Office of Internal Audit

Capitalized Assets and Surplus

1. Are all University assets meeting the University's definition of capitalized equipment (tangible personal property, having a useful life of more than one year, and an acquisition cost of $5,000 ) tagged with a serially numbered University tag?

  • Ideal Answer: YES. The tag number and the associated asset information are recorded in the University's central database of assets and are used when departments complete their biennial equipment inventory. The tag is also a theft deterrent as it allows for tracking capital asset identifying information (serial number, model number, etc.) allowing for easy identification.

    Tag numbers are also assigned to assets acquired by gift and fall under the University's capitalized equipment definition. University tags Without a number can be requested for assets not meeting the University's equipment definition.

2. Is the Office of Business Operations (OBO) notified of any equipment obtained through sources other than purchasing, such as gifts, transfers from other departments, transferred to the University with new faculty members, and fabricated items that meet the University's equipment definition?

  • Ideal Answer: YES. The responsibility for providing OBO with all required information for capitalized equipment inventory records lies with the department initiating the acquisition or transfer of the equipment. The equipment information is maintained on a central database to track the University's assets, compute depreciation expense for the University's financial statements, and to provide departments with inventory reports. The necessary forms and instructions can be located at Office of Business Operations’ (OBO)s web site: Fixed Assets.

3. Has a departmental capitalized equipment inventory been conducted within the last two years?

  • Ideal Answer: YES. Each department is required to conduct a complete physical inventory of capitalized equipment every two years. Any additions, deletions, transfers or corrections (i.e. changes in the location or custodian) discovered during the biennial inventory must be reported to OBO on the proper reporting form. The department can use a current departmental equipment listing provided by OBO to complete the inventory. Upon completion of the inventory, the unit’s chief officer must sign any applicable equipment adjustment forms and forward them to OBO along with the signed certification letter, certifying that the physical inventory has been completed.

    The department is responsible for notifying OBO of all changes in the status of equipment between biennial inventories. This shall include, but is not limited to, assets stolen, lost, cannibalized, sent to surplus, changes in location and custodian. The necessary forms and instructions can be located at OBO's web site: Fixed Assets.

4. When any asset (capitalized and non-capitalized) has been identified for disposal, is the first step to contact University Surplus?

  • Ideal Answer: NO. Equipment dispositions result from sales, trade-ins, donations, declarations as surplus property, cannibalizing for parts, scrapping, transfers to another department or another institution related to a departing faculty member. Regardless of the method of disposal for any asset (capitalized and non-capitalized), the proper disposal form must be completed and submitted to OBO for authorization. The responsibility for providing OBO with all required information lies with the department initiating the disposition of the asset. The necessary forms and instructions can be located at OBO's website: Fixed Assets.

5. When any University property is stolen, destroyed or missing would OBO be contacted first?

  • Ideal Answer: NO. Any University property, including items of equipment, destroyed, stolen or otherwise missing, must be reported to Public Safety at the time it is discovered missing. If the property is not recovered within 48 hours, the incident must be reported in writing to the University's Risk Manager.  At the same time the Equipment Inventory Deletions Report and a copy of the Public Safety report must be sent to OBO to assure that the item will be removed from the University's asset management system. There are additional requirements if the asset is federal property. The necessary forms and instructions can be located at OBO's website: Fixed Assets.
6. Are University assets used off-campus properly accounted for?
  • Ideal Answer: YES. Short-term use: When any equipment belonging either to the University or the federal government, and under the custody of the University, is going to be used off-campus for periods up to six months, it must be approved and documented by the appropriate departmental office. Such records are to be maintained at the department and do not need to be sent to the PMO.
  • Long-term use: When any equipment belonging either to the University or the federal government, and under the custody of the University, is going to be used off-campus for periods longer than six months, it must be approved and documented by the appropriate departmental office. The responsible department must notify OBO by submitting UNI’s Authorization Form for Off-Campus Use of University Property. Policy and guidelines for this form and instructions can be located at OBO's web site: Fixed Assets.
7. Are University employees allowed to use University property for personal use?
  • Ideal Answer: NO. No public officer, deputy, or employee of the State of Iowa or any governmental subdivision thereof, who has charge or custody of any governmental subdivision of Iowa, or by the federal government while in the custody of the State of Iowa, shall use or operate the same or permit the same to be used or operated for any private purpose (IC 721.2).