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University of Bath

Recording and disposing of equipment and maintaining asset registers

How heads of departments should maintain asset registers for their equipment, including recording and disposing of equipment on the register.

The purpose of the register

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 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.

Frequently asked questions

Do assets purchased on research grants need to be included in the asset register?

Yes, all assets bought on any University account should be included.

The department has bought some equipment costing £20,833.33 plus VAT. Should I send an inventory addition form into Finance?

Send an addition form in if the cost charged to the account exceeds £25K. This will be the case where the VAT is not recoverable.

We have purchased some equipment costing £25K including VAT. In addition there was carriage costs and installation costs totalling another £1K. Where do I code the carriage and installation costs?

These costs are effectively part of the total price paid for the equipment. Add these costs into the cost of the equipment.

Do I need to include personal computers in the asset register?

Computers are assets and should be recorded. That is unless BUCS are keeping their own record of computers and their location for your department and agree to maintain the computer register for your department.

Can an asset be kept off campus?

Yes, but its location should be recorded on the asset register

Can an asset be sold to a member of staff?

An asset that has come to the end of its useful university life may be sold or given to a member of staff provided that the head of department is one of the two signatories on the disposal form. If the beneficiary is a head of department, then the University Purchasing Manager must sign the form. The University's Health and Safety regulations must always be followed.

The value of assets on the Register is the original purchase price, but the asset depreciates in value over time. Should I adjust the value on the register?

No, no attempt is made on the asset register to show current value. However, this can be readily deduced, if required, from its age and original purchase price, both of which are recorded.

The department has assets that are over 10 years old and have no value. Should I remove them from the register?

No, unless they are disposed of, they are still an asset in the department and should remain on the register.