Finance & Procurement

Recording and disposing of equipment and maintaining asset registers

A department will buy and dispose of equipment as part of its teaching, research or administrative activity. The individual value of that equipment can vary from less than £100 up to a few hundred thousand pounds.

Financial Regulation F1.2 makes heads of department responsible for the security and custody of these assets. In order to do this, a department needs to record the equipment purchased, keep track of its location and, when the time comes, properly authorise its disposal. This is the prime reason for the requirement detailed below to maintain a departmental asset register. Such a register though, should provide significant benefits to a department in helping it to manage its equipment efficiently.

An asset register is intended to be a useful tool for a department. It should enable a department to ascertain its stock of an item of equipment, locate where that item resides and who is responsible for it. It should enable departments to plan better for replacement. It will provide a record in insurance cases and enable departments to account for their expenditure on equipment.

If a department wishes, it may add additional information such as details of maintenance contracts. From an audit point of view, it will enable a department to demonstrate that it can account for assets purchased and has exercised control over the disposal of its assets.

The University also maintains a central capital asset register of equipment costing in excess of £25K. It has to do this because these high value assets are included in the University's accounts. This register is kept on the finance system (Agresso) and is maintained by the Finance Office. Once a year, in preparation for the Accounts, this is checked with departments for verification of accuracy.

For advice on this area please contact Anne Winchester in the Finance Office.

Summary of key points

  • Every department shall be responsible for maintaining an Asset Register. Guidance on what that register should contain is given below.
  • A department should set up procedures such that additions and disposals of equipment are picked up and the register adjusted.
  • Disposals of equipment, whether scrapped, sold, part exchanged or otherwise disposed of must be authorised on an Equipment Disposal Form. If the original cost was over £25K, then the form must be passed to the Head of Prcurement to authorise. From there, it is sent to the Finance Office.
  • The Finance Office has to account for equipment costing over £25K within the University's financial statements and so will continue to keep its own record of such equipment. Where equipment is purchased at a cost in excess of £25K, an Inventory Addition Form should be sent to Anne Winchester in the Finance Office.
  • An asset register is intended to be a useful tool to a department, to enable it to readily ascertain what equipment it has, where it's located and provide an insurance record. It can be used to track maintenance contracts or for electrical testing purposes. It will enable a department to demonstrate that it can account for assets purchased and to have exercised control over the disposal of its assets.