686  Equipment/Movable Property Inventory Control

Approved by President
Effective Date: June 5, 2017
Responsible Division: Business and Finance
Responsible Office:  Administrative and Business Services
Responsible Officer:  Assistant Vice President, Administrative and Business Services

I. Purpose

This policy outlines consistent accounting controls and procedures for equipment and movable property inventory acquired by Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU or University).

This policy applies to movable equipment and not to supplies, fixed equipment, library books, or campus recreation equipment. Nor does it apply to items such as built-in furniture, lights, and plumbing fixtures, which are considered fixtures and a part of the building.

II. Definitions

A.  Equipment. Items of a movable nature, having a minimum unit cost of five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) and having an estimated life expectancy of at least one (1) year.

B.  Surplus Property. Equipment no longer usable/useful to the department that has possession.

C.  Movable Property. Follows the definition of equipment, with no minimum cost figure associated.

D.  Sensitive Minor Equipment. Items of a movable nature, which are particularly vulnerable to theft, and have a cost or fair value (for donated items only) between one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500.00) and four thousand nine hundred ninety-nine dollars and ninety-nine cents ($4,999.99), regardless of funding source. 

III. Responsibilities

Ownership of property acquired by University rests with the State of Tennessee, whether acquired by departmental funds, grants, or by gifts. The property officer will maintain inventory records and make all additions and permanent interdepartmental transfers of equipment. Deletions of equipment are recorded by the Business Office.

University Department Heads or Directors are responsible for the custody and maintenance of all equipment/movable property purchased for, or assigned to, their respective departments. Deans and Directors have this responsibility with respect to all equipment in their colleges or departments which is not assigned to a specific department.

IV. Procedure

Equipment purchased will be added to inventory each week for equipment that is paid for completely. A fixed asset tag will be placed on equipment when it is added to inventory. The fixed asset capitalization report is generated through Banner.  

A.  Items not owned by University

Items owned by the federal government and other contracting agencies will be inventoried and accounted for separately by the department, in accordance with the contract provisions. This method of accounting will also be followed for all other equipment in possession of, but not owned by, the University. Items on loan to University should be reported to the Vice President for Business and Finance, in writing, when entering or leaving the campus of University. University will not be responsible in any way for the personal property of others used or kept on University property.

B.  Equipment listings

Annually (or more often if requested by the department) a computerized listing of equipment will be furnished to each Department Head or Director. It will be the responsibility of the Department Chair, Director, or person assigned to locate equipment.

The listing will contain the following information:

1.  Asset description

2.  Serial number

3.  Permanent tag

4.  Acquired date

5.  Location

6.  Room

7.  Cost

C.  Recordkeeping of Capitalized Assets

Procedures should ensure proper recording, movement, eventual disposal of assets, and the periodic inventory of these assets. A physical inventory shall be conducted by Receiving and Moving Services annually for all capital equipment assigned to a department, college, or division.

D.  Inventory Deletions

Deletions to the equipment inventory records are necessary when items are traded, sold, lost, stolen, destroyed, permanently transferred, or become surplus to a department’s needs. Deletion requests are submitted by written memorandum, email, or online form to the property officer. Deletions of equipment are recorded by the Business Office.

After submitting a request to have an item removed from inventory, the Department Head or Director is relieved of responsibility for the item, subject to the following conditions:

1.  Department Heads and Directors may recommend the trade-in of equipment. The Procurement Office, in coordination with the Department Head or Director, will make best use of the equipment to be traded. All sales of excess equipment will be made by the Procurement Office under Policy 685 Disposal of Surplus Property.

2.  Department Heads and Directors will report the theft or loss of property immediately, by phone, to Public Safety, and to Receiving and Moving Services. Until such time as the process may be handled electronically, the Department Head or Director will also initiate the MTSU Missing Inventory Declaration (MID) form, in its entirety, forward the white copy to Receiving and Moving Services, and retain the yellow copy for departmental files. MID forms may be acquired through Receiving and Moving Services. The department will notify the Vice President for Business and Finance and Audit and Consulting Services by sending each office a copy of the MID and a cover letter explaining the loss. University Police will furnish copies of the police report to the Vice President for Business and Finance, Audit and Consulting Services, and Receiving and Moving Services.

3.  Surplus items in excess to a department needs are to be listed in a letter, email, or online form and sent to Receiving and Moving Services.

4.  Permanent transfers between departments will be reported in writing to Receiving and Moving Services as a deletion by the department which had the item. The transfer will be done by using the Banner database.

E.  Off-Campus Use of Equipment and other Movable Property

1.  University equipment and other movable property are to be used for University related professional purposes only by University employees. University students may be authorized to use University equipment and other movable property off campus for academically related purposes. If State equipment or property is to be removed from campus for those individuals to pursue University related activities at other locations, such request must be submitted in writing from the individual requesting such action (see Equipment Loan Form). The written request must identify the item by fixed asset tag number, manufacturer, model number, and serial number. The request shall specify why the item is needed off campus and will identify where it is to be located. The request shall be approved or denied by the appropriate Department/Division Head or Director who shall maintain records of equipment/movable property, including who is in possession of the item, proposed use of the item, and expected date that the item will be returned to campus (see Equipment Loan Form).

2.  The individual responsible for the equipment is required to inform the Department/Division Head or Director of the off-campus equipment use. Individuals using equipment off-campus are liable for damage or loss due to their negligence. The department or individual budgetary unit is responsible for the cost of typical maintenance or repairs due to ordinary use on or off-campus.

3.  University will treat loss or damage through fire, theft, storm, etc. the same as if it occurred on the campus, provided that the responsible individual exercised care and diligence in the use and security of the equipment, and the loss or damage was not otherwise covered by insurance.

4.  Equipment may be loaned on a temporary basis from one department or division to another. In such instances, the Equipment Loan Form should be used to keep a record of equipment use and location and should be maintained on file at the department or division loaning the equipment. Permanent transfer of equipment from one department to another should meet the provisions of Section III. and Section IV.

V. Sensitive Minor Equipment

A.  Sensitive minor equipment items are of a movable nature, which are particularly vulnerable to theft, and have a cost or fair value (for donated items only) between one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500.00) and four thousand nine hundred ninety-nine dollars and ninety-nine cents ($4,999.99), regardless of funding source.

1.  The following items are examples of items that may be viewed as sensitive minor equipment: binoculars, boat motors, boat trailers, boats, cameras, camera lenses, canoes, computers, external computer storage devices, ham radios and receivers, marine band transmitters and receivers, microscopes, musical instruments, scientific equipment, oscilloscopes, PDAs, printers, projectors, radio scanners, external computer scanners, spectrum analyzers, televisions, two-way radio transmitters and receivers, vector scopes, video cameras, video recorders and players, and waveform monitors.

2.  All weapons, regardless of cost, should be considered sensitive minor equipment.

B.  The University will perform a risk assessment to determine which items should be designated as sensitive minor equipment. The useful life of sensitive minor equipment is estimated at three (3) years, after which the fair value will be considered to be nominal.

C.  Although sensitive minor equipment items are not capitalized, they must be identified and inventoried.

1  Physical inventory of sensitive minor equipment should be conducted annually.

2.  Sampling is an acceptable method of conducting the physical inventory of sensitive minor equipment.


Equipment Loan

Revisions: none.

Last Reviewed: February 2022.

References: Policy 685 Disposal of Surplus Property.