Acquiring Capital Equipment
The capital assets we are referring to on these pages are moveable equipment owned by UO that meet the following criteria:
- used for operations; not held for resale
- has a useful life over one year, and
- a cost that exceeds the capitalization threshold (which is currently at $5,000 for equipment)*
Capital assets may be new or used and may be acquired by purchase, lease, loan, gift, transfer, trade, or fabrication. They are tagged and tracked centrally by Property Control, are subject to our biennial inventory, and require approval for disposal. Capital assets are not expensed in the year of purchase, but are capitalized and depreciated over the asset's useful life. Equipment leased greater than one year, regardless of cost, is also tracked with capital equipment.
Buildings, land, land improvements, museum collections, and library collections are also capitalized and depreciated but not tagged and tracked in the same manner.
*Allowable acquisition costs include the purchase price, shipping (including all costs related to the importation of equipment from foreign countries), installation, and registration/license fees. Unallowable costs include extended maintenance, warranties, and training.
Every capital asset should have an equipment manager assigned. This is an individual who is responsible for making sure the asset gets tagged, reporting any location changes to Property Control, locating the asset for inventories or audits, and ensuring safe use and propert disposal.
Depending on the department, an equipment manager could be one central person, or each lab or user could manage their own equipment. An equipment manager could change if an employee leaves their position, or if the asset is transferred to a different unit. Regardless, departments are ultimately responsible for following appropriate procedures regarding both capital and minor equipment.
New capital equipment is tagged on a rolling basis, as items are acquired. Typically, if capital equipment has been purchased with the appropriate 401XX/A801X account code, a notification will be sent to our Property Control accountants. If it meets capital equipment requirements, they will assign a number, and someone from our office will email you to arrange an appointment to tag it. On the tagging appointment we will place a sticker with the unique inventory number, and verify information such as: model number, serial number, room location, and in use date (the point at which depreciation begins). We also take a photo to document the asset.
If you think you have a new capital asset and no number has been assigned, please contact us. Sometimes assets are acquired outside of the normal purchasing process, as with a gift, or an incorrect account code may have been used. Property Control will investigate if we see potential capital equipment on campus that is not recorded as such in Banner.
Depreciation is an accounting process that distributes the cost of an asset over its useful life. All capital assets (except land, art and museum collections, and library special collections) valued at or above their capitalization threshold with a useful life of more than one year are required to be depreciated. Depreciation is calculated as part of the monthly closing process through FIS Banner on a straight line method with zero salvage value and useful lives that vary depending on the type of asset. Assets purchased by proprietary funds will generally depreciate within the fund that purchased the asset. Assets purchased by non-proprietary funds will generally depreciate in the net investment in plant fund 890000.
Please reach out for information on right-to-use assets and their related amortization.
NOTE: Assets will continue to be inventoried, regardless of age or net book value, until it is disposed of from the University.
No. As of July 1, 2019 we no longer assign numbers or inventory what used to be referred to as "high risk" equipment. This was minor equipment with acquisition values under $5,000 per unit, such as most computers and other items that are desirable and portable and are at a higher-risk of loss.
We strongly encourage departments to track these items internally. Please feel free to print a Property Check-Out Form or use the online version for any items checked out, or inventory.uoregon.edu which is a platform offered by Information Services to catalog electronic equipment.
Yes, please report any Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) to the office of risk management by completing the online drone registration form. Departments must follow the Universities policy and procedures regarding the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or more commonly referred to as Drones.
Drones Registration Form:
Drones Policy and Procedures:
Regardless of the purchase method, when paying for capitalized equipment (unit value equal to or more than $5,000) the account codes in the 401XX/A801X series are to be used. Minor equipment (unit value is less than $5,000), uses the account code series, 202XX. (Full definitions of account codes at this link)
When a Banner invoice is processed using capital equipment account codes, the invoice is routed to an approval queue that is monitored by Property Control. Each asset purchased is then added to the Fixed Assets system using invoice data. Therefore, it is important that all pertinent information be in the text field (FOATEXT) of the invoice, including:
- Description of equipment purchased
- Model name and number
- Serial number
- building and room number where equipment will be located
- Name of User/Lab/Office equipment is intended for
- Date expected to be in service
Pcards are not to be used in the purchase of capital equipment, except in the case of constructed assets (see below). However, more recently PCS has authorized exceptions for this, so reconciling your purchases and having the correct account codes attached is very important (and subject to audit). For more information on how to purchase equipment, please visit Purchasing and Contracting Services.
Defective capital equipment can be exchanged under the vendor or manufacturer warranty - a process sometimes called a "return merchandise authorization" (RMA). You must notify Property Control if this happens. A new tagging appointment will be set, and depreciation may be adjusted.
A trade-in involves the disposal of equipment, with a value given by the vendor towards the purchase of new capital or minor equipment. Items acquired by trade-in are capitalized at their full value, not the amount after it was reduced by a trade-in allowance.
Please see our Disposal page for more information on trade-ins.
An Intent to Construct Capital Equipment form must be completed and forwarded to Property Control in order to capitalize costs for a constructed asset.
Constructed equipment is comprised of a number of individual components that are fabricated/built into a single functional unit. It is capitalized as a single asset for a combined total cost in excess of $5,000 and a useful life greater than one year. Typically these components would be purchased with separate transactions and may be from multiple vendors. All components must function as a singular unit and will be collectively disposed of at the end of the useful life of the equipment. The asset with all assembled parts must be physically affixed to each other and found in one location at all times. If audited, departments must be able to justify the capitalization of constructed equipment.
What is not included?
- Components greater than $5,000 which are not physically attached or can function independently should be considered stand-alone capital equipment. Items less than $5,000 should be expensed.
- Connecting components together in a system (physically or virtually) does not constitute an equipment fabrication (e.g. when individual computers and servers are joined to create a network).
- If a computer is purchased because it is required to run complex scientific equipment and the constructed equipment cannot function without it, the computer can be capitalized as part of the asset. However, the computer MUST be used strictly for that fabricated equipment and cannot be used in any other capacity.
- Network and communication wiring cannot be capitalized as equipment
- Software that is leased or licensed for use and which is separately itemized on a vendor invoice cannot be capitalized.
- Faculty time used to construct the asset is not included, but the work of an putside specialty shop may be.
The UO allows equipment expenditures using PCards for the construction of capitalized equipment using account code 40199 (Construction in Progress Equipment or CIP) and for service centers and auxiliary funds account code A8014. When distributing PCard charges utilizing these account codes, the assigned asset number and amount must be added to the journal voucher text field. No other capital equipment expenditures are allowed using PCards without PCS approval. This includes attachments for existing capital assets.
Attachments are parts purchased to be incorporated into an existing capital asset. Attachments are depreciated and disposed with the parent asset. The $5,000/unit does not apply. Parts related to maintenance and repairs are not attachments and are to be expensed.
Since attachments are additions to capital assets, they should use the corresponding capital asset account code, regardless of value. Please state in FOATEXT which UO capital asset number (000XXXXXX) the attachment adds value to.
All gifts-in-kind need to be reported to the UO Foundation and to Business Affairs in a timely manner by the receiving department. This ensures that donors receive proper acknowledgement, and that the gifted property is entered into Banner Fixed Assets if it meets the criteria for a capital asset.
Please see the Finance and Accounting page "Procedures for Gifts in Kind" for more information.
Accurate location and department data for every asset is integral to our system. Equipment managers must notify Property Control of transfers of capital equipment. For multiple assets, please use an Asset Maintenance Form.
Transfers include but are not limited to:
- Acquiring a capital asset off the surplus website
- A move or transfer from one department to another department
- A long-term move from one location (building or room) to another
- A move off-campus for University business
- A lab or unit moving under the umbrella of one department to another
When a transfer of equipment between departments includes financial compensation, Property Control can assist departments with the completion of a Journal Voucher (JV) in Banner.
When a department receives capital equipment from another institution or state agency, Property Control needs to be notified in order to record the asset information in Banner. The department must request from the transferring institution: current market value, age, description, serial number, funding source, condition and federal accountability.
Equipment transferring to UO from other institutions with new faculty should be reviewed and documented immediately upon receipt. This property becomes UO property (not personal property of the principal investigator) and must be added to the inventory in order to be tracked and insured.
In general, the UO does not accept responsibility for non-University owned property that is damaged, lost, or stolenm unless it is registered officially as a loaned asset.
When property is loaned to the University for official use, all arrangements must be approved in writing by the department head, and Purchasing and Contracting Services. Loaned property will be registered in our Banner database with capital assets, but it is not usually subject to the same inventory requirements. Whenever the loaned item is returned, please inform Property Control.
Faculty and staff members who keep personal items at the University should label those items to indicate private ownership. Unless there is a written agreement approved by Business Affairs, personal equipment is used at the owner's risk.
Leased equipment, regardless of cost, is tracked in our Banner fixed asset database to comply with GASB rules. As with any other asset, if a leased asset (such as a copier) is replaced, removed, or relocated, please notify Property Control.
Any new lease contracts should be reported to Property Control.