University of Alabama at Birmingham
EQUIPMENT ACCOUNTABILITY POLICY
June 26, 2000
(Replaces policy dated February 22, 1996)
Introduction, Definitions, and Scope of Policy
Where the term "equipment" is used in this policy, it is referring to both "capital equipment" and "noncapital equipment." When referring to "capital equipment" or "noncapital equipment" exclusively, the more specific term is used.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is required by the State of Alabama, federal grant sponsors, and good business practice to maintain a current inventory of all UAB capital equipment.
"UAB capital equipment" is non-expendable property which has an individual cost in excess of UAB’s capitalization threshold, has a useful life in excess of one year, and is of sufficient size and individuality to make control feasible. (Contact the Equipment Accounting Department or access its World Wide Web site for the up-to-date dollar amount of the capitalization threshold established by the State of Alabama.)
Equipment that does not meet the definition of capital equipment is considered to be noncapital equipment. If a piece of equipment was classified as "capital equipment" at the time it was purchased but later falls under the threshold for capital equipment because the threshold has been raised, the equipment no longer is considered to be capital equipment.
This policy covers all equipment, regardless of source, such as the following:
a. Equipment purchased with funds from any UAB account number (for example, grant funds, state funds, professional service funds, and gift funds).
b. Equipment donated or transferred to UAB by external entities, including other universities.
c. Equipment purchased by related foundations (for example, the Health Services Foundation, the UAB Educational Foundation, and the UAB Research Foundation) when the equipment is purchased by the foundation and is donated for use by UAB.
The department/unit head ultimately is responsible for the equipment affiliated to his or her department/unit. Each UAB department/unit is responsible for, and will be held accountable for, equipment as follows:
a. Equipment which is affiliated with that department/unit (through purchase, donation, or transfer) and is located in that department's or unit's space.
b. Equipment which is affiliated with that department/unit but is located in another department's or unit's space.
c. Equipment for which the department/unit has custodial responsibility because the equipment is located in the department's or unit's space but is affiliated with another department or unit. The department/unit in which the equipment is located is responsible for safeguarding such assets and for reporting applicable equipment inventory transactions to the department or unit with which the equipment is affiliated.
The "Accountable Equipment Officer" for each unit is the department/unit head unless otherwise designated in writing to the Equipment Accounting Department. The Accountable Equipment Officer will be responsible for all equipment matters covered by this policy. These responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following duties:
a. Assisting the Equipment Accounting Department in locating, accessing, and tagging capital equipment.
b. Verifying capital equipment inventory lists.
c. Reporting to the Equipment Accounting Department donations or other acquisitions of equipment not processed through the UAB Purchasing/Accounts Payable System.
d. Reporting to the Equipment Accounting Department all long-term relocations of capital equipment from one room to another.
e. Reporting to the Equipment Accounting Department changes in capital equipment affiliation.
f. Reporting to the Equipment Accounting Department missing or lost equipment.
g. Assisting in all internal and external equipment audits, and responding to equipment audit findings.
h. Enforcing all UAB equipment policies and procedures.
i. Securing equipment properly.
For purposes of capital equipment inventory and reporting, the official UAB capital equipment information is maintained by the Equipment Accounting Department in the Equipment Accounting System. The Equipment Accounting Department receives information from the UAB Purchasing/Accounts Payable System regarding capital equipment purchased by UAB. Other acquisitions of equipment, including donations and grant equipment transfers, should be reported promptly to the Equipment Accounting Department by the department/unit receiving that equipment.
Equipment fabricated into a single system resulting in capital equipment should be assigned one property number, even though the components of the system may have been ordered separately and at different times and later integrated into the system. The Accountable Equipment Officer for each department/unit purchasing the equipment is responsible for notifying the Equipment Accounting Department of any fabricated equipment resulting in capital equipment so it can be recorded properly in the Equipment Accounting System.
Equipment Inventory Verification
Periodically, the Equipment Accounting Department will provide to the Accountable Equipment Officer of each UAB department/unit a computer-generated listing of all capital equipment affiliated with the department/unit. The Accountable Equipment Officer of the department/unit will verify the accuracy of the list and will return it to the Equipment Accounting Department with any changes noted.
Disposal of UAB equipment is strictly regulated by state law and also is controlled by legally binding restrictions of donors or sponsors as well as by UAB policy. UAB equipment may not be transferred, loaned, or leased to another organization or individual, including a departing faculty or staff member, except with advance written approval from UAB’s Controller. UAB equipment may not be sold other than through UAB’s official surplus property auctions, traded in, scrapped, cannibalized, or otherwise disposed of by any UAB department, unit, or individual, except with advance written approval from UAB’s Equipment Accounting Department.
Stolen equipment must be reported immediately by the Accountable Equipment Officer to the UAB Police Department, and the UAB Police Department will report it to the Equipment Accounting Department.
In the rare circumstance in which equipment cannot be located by the department/unit, it is considered to be misplaced or "lost." Missing equipment that is reported to the UAB Police as stolen is not considered to be "lost." In the event that capital equipment cannot be located by the accountable department/unit and the capital equipment has not been reported as "stolen" as outlined above, a percentage of the approximate real value of the missing capital equipment as estimated by the depreciation tables will be charged to the accountable department/unit. In the case of fully depreciated equipment, a percentage of the estimated "street value" will be charged to the accountable department/unit. The percentage is established by the President in consultation with the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate and currently is set at 25%. Current practice is to notify the accountable department/unit one month in advance of the charge being posted to the account. If the lost capital equipment is located later, the percentage charge will be returned to the department/unit whose account was charged. For Hospital equipment, the penalty funds will be placed into a Health System reserve account. For equipment under the control of a non-Hospital administrative unit, the penalty funds will be placed into an equipment reserve account. For equipment in academic units, the penalty funds will be placed under the control of the Provost. The chair of the academic department which was penalized will have the right to present a case through his or her dean or library director for restitution of the funds, but the decision for return of the funds or use of the funds for other purposes shall be vested solely with the Provost.
The Office of the Vice President for Financial Affairs and Administration is responsible for the development and maintenance of procedures to implement this policy.