Capital Assets

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Capital Assets and Collections

Capital assets include land, land improvements, infrastructure, buildings, building improvements, machinery, equipment, software, library books, publications, and construction in progress. They are recorded at cost at the date of acquisition, or at fair market value at the date of donation, in the case of gifts. Building renovations that materially increase the value or extend the useful life of the structure are capitalized, but normal repairs and maintenance are expensed in the year in which the expenses are incurred. The threshold for capitalizing land improvements, infrastructure, buildings, software, building improvements, and construction in progress is $100,000 and, for moveable equipment with an estimated useful life of two or more years, is $5,000. Using the straight-line method, capital assets are depreciated over their estimated useful lives; generally, 40 years for buildings and building improvements, 30 years for land improvements and infrastructure, 15 years for library books and publications, and five to ten years for machinery and equipment. Land and construction in progress are not depreciated. The university does not capitalize works of art and historical treasures that are held for exhibition, education, research, and public service. These collections are not encumbered or sold for financial gain. Consequently, such collections are not recognized in the financial statements.


Wright State University depends on a wide variety of equipment to support its mission of providing a quality education for its students. The university’s movable equipment inventory (i.e. non-fixed items valued at $5,000 or greater) totals in excess of 2,700 items with an original cost of approximately 87 million dollars. The task of recording and accounting for this property is the responsibility of the property records office located in the Office of the Controller. This task, however, requires on-going review by all university departments. Colleges/departments may apply more stringent policies than are contained in this document.

I. Equipment Procurement

  1. Definition

    Capital equipment includes all movable items that have a probable useful life of two or more years, have an original cost of $5,000 or more (either for a single item or fabricated equipment—individual parts that cumulatively have and aggregate cost of $5,000 or more), and are neither permanently attached to a building nor its utility systems nor incorporated into the building at the time of initial construction nor during later modifications. The total cost includes all expenditures incurred in acquiring the equipment and preparing it for use. This would include the purchase price, freight and handling charges, insurance on the equipment while in transit, the cost of special foundations required assembly and installation costs, and the cost of conducting trial runs.

    Special consideration is given to computer systems:

    Computer hardware that is a complete functioning (whole) unit within itself and costing at least $5,000 is capitalized and tagged with its own unique ID number; examples include printers, external disk drives, and CPUs. Hardware costing less than $5,000 is not tagged, but is included in the cost of the system if purchased at the same time; examples include circuit boards, keyboards, and monitors ordered with the main system. Computer hardware accessories that are ordered after the initial system order are capitalized only if the cost is at least $5,000 and they are physically taggable; examples again include monitors and printers. Any hardware ordered after the original system order and costing less than $5,000 is not capitalized; it is treated as a noncapital hardware or supply item. Because of lack of taggability, some hardware items that are ordered after the original system and costing $5,000 or more, even though they may be considered an integral part of the system, are also not capitalized. Again, this hardware is treated as a supply item; examples primarily include circuit boards/graphic boards, network boards, and internal modems and hard drives.

    Computer software is capitalized only if it is considered the main unit's operating system. The software is not tagged but is included in the cost of the main system at the time the system is ordered; examples include Windows Vista and Office applications for use on a personal computer, or special application software dedicated to a PC.

    Special consideration is given to moveable equipment attributable to major projects:

    Effective with the fiscal year ended June 30, 2015, the capitalization threshold for the purchase of moveable equipment may be waived when the acquisition is related to a major project.  Moveable equipment items attributable to a major project may be capitalized and depreciated over a 5 year useful life.  A major project is defined as a project in which: (1) the total construction cost (building improvement, land improvement, infrastructure, etc.) is anticipated to be $100,000 or more and the moveable capital equipment expenditures are expected to be at least $100,000; or (2) although the construction costs are anticipated to be less than $100,000, the total project costs, including moveable equipment, are anticipated to be at least $200,000.
  2. Invitation To Negotiate

    In order to obtain the best possible value and observe existing regulations governing purchases, written invitations to negotiate are normally requested by the purchasing department. In accordance with present Wright State purchasing guidelines, orders of $25,000 or more, regardless of the source of funds, must be bid. However, the purchasing department may issue invitation to negotiate for orders less than this amount if market conditions justify this action. Please see Purchasing from External Vendors (University Policy 9320) for exceptions.

    The invitation to negotiate process normally requires formal advertising if the cost is expected to exceed $50,000 in addition to the review and award process. Departments may participate in development of the specifications before an order is placed. For additional information on this process, contact the Purchasing Department.

    All contracts, agreements, and expenditures that total $500,000 or more in a fiscal year by a single unit (defined as a level 5 organization) to a single vender, require approval by the WSU Board of Trustees prior to issuance of a purchase order, that causes the cumulative expenditures to that vendor to exceed $500,000, with a written justification prepared by the department requesting the expenditure. Orders between the amounts of $250,000 and $500,000 are reported to the WSU Board of Trustees but do not require approval.
  3. Order Processing

    Equipment purchases may be requested by submitting a rRequisition through the WrightBuy System to the Purchasing Department. When the Purchasing Department issues a purchase order, the funds will be encumbered against the fund, organization, account, program, activity and location specified. The correct account code to use when ordering capital equipment (unit cost of $5,000 or more) is 794500. Be sure to include the appropriate location code when ordering a capital item. Also note the number of inventory tags required, the total capitalization amount of the item(s), and a reference to all PO or requisition numbers that include items that will be consolidated into a single tagged unit within the External Notes section of the WrightBuy requisition. The Purchasing Department will prepare and forward the purchase order to the appropriate vendor.
  4. Equipment Delivery, Errors, and Damage

    To determine the status of an order which appears to be delinquent, first review the status in the WrightBuy purchasing system. If further information is needed, contact the Purchasing Department. When making an inquiry, refer to the purchase order number.

    For items shipped to the University Central Shipping and Receiving (S&R) department, (031 Allyn Hall) receiving documentation must be signed by the department as evidence of delivery and receipt of items from the vendor. The department will be requested to sign a hand palm pilot as acknowledgement of receipt from S&R. S&R will close out the purchase order once this signature is obtained.

    If an item is shipped directly to the department bypassing S&R, it is the department's responsibility to notify the Property Records office and to send a payment approval/receiving report request to Accounts Payable.

    This process must be followed to close the order allowing Accounts Payable to make payment to the vendor and Property Records to capitalize the asset. For additional information regarding the shipping and receiving process, see Shipping and Receiving (University Policy 9440).

    The Purchasing Department should be notified as soon as possible if the equipment is unsatisfactory, in error, or if it does not conform to the specifications of the purchase order. Purchasing will either work with the vendor or advise the department of what to do in order to resolve the problem. All damaged equipment should be reported to S&R immediately.

II. Equipment Management

  1. Definition

    Equipment management includes activities and documentation associated with control of equipment while in use by University departments. All equipment assigned to a college or department, as well as the accuracy of the equipment records for that area, is the responsibility of the appropriate Business Manager. The Property Records office is responsible for maintaining a permanent detailed record of all capital equipment owned by the University including Sponsored Programs acquisitions and all equipment gifts. All equipment gifts must be received through the WSU Foundation and approved by the WSU Board of Trustees. If a department has an individual, company, or organization desiring to donate equipment, please contact the WSU Foundation Office for the complete procedure.
  2. Equipment Coordination

    The Business Manager or designee in each school, college, or major administrative area is responsible for all equipment concerns. The Business Manager or designee serves as a liaison with personnel from Property Records, Excess and Surplus Property Management (ESPM), and Public Safety.
  3. Departmental Records and Responsibilities

    A status report, which is a complete listing of equipment in a department or area, will be sent to each Business Manager in February of each fiscal year. An inventory must be performed, the status report updated and approved by the Business Manager or designee, and returned to Property Records by March 31 each year. Changes in equipment status that must be reported are:
    1. Equipment Trade-In

      Departmental personnel may trade in equipment that is outdated or surplus as needed for replacement purchases. The words "TRADE-IN" must be included in External Notes on the WrightBuy Requisition to Purchasing followed by the trade-in item's WSU inventory tag and serial numbers. This will serve as notice to Property Records that capital equipment is being traded-in. Before trade-in decisions are made, the department should consider disposal alternatives by contacting the ESPM office for discussion of valid alternatives. Generally, the potential ESPM sales price for a trade-in item should be at least 20 percent higher than the trade-in allowance to be cost effective to the department and the University. If an item is traded-in, the traded-in item will be deleted from inventory records by the Property Records office and the net book value of the traded-in item will be added to the cost of the new purchased item.

      If the department finds that the requisition was submitted without "TRADE-IN" noted, the above information should be communicated to Property Records immediately.
    2. Relocation of Property Within a Department

      When capital equipment is moved to another room or building, the new location must be reported to Property Records at the time of the move using a Property Status Change Form, which can be found on the Office of the Controller’s website.
    3. Sale or Transfer of Property to Another WSU Department

      When ownership of capital equipment is transferred from one WSU department to another, Property Records must be notified using a Property Status Change Form. Only internal sales or transfers of capital equipment may be reported on the Property Status Change Form. The transfer of funds related to an internal sale or transfer of capital equipment should be done using a Wings Express journal voucher and rule code J16. All external sales must be reported on an ESPM Disposal Requisition (Form 1500). For additional information, see Excess and Surplus Property Management (University Policy 9410).
    4. Sale or Transfer of Property to Another Institution, University or Agency

      Occasionally when a faculty member leaves Wright State, research projects transfer to the new institution. Permission to transfer grant and contract funded purchases must be obtained from the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs. Wright State owned equipment may be transferred to another institution at the discretion of the Dean after the following is done:
      1. If the item was a gift through the WSU Foundation, the department will check with the Foundation to ensure the item can be transferred. (There may be tax implications for the donor.)
      2. If the item was purchased with external funds, the department will request permission first from the Dean and then from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs to ensure that the transfer meets with government and sponsor regulations. Items purchased with restricted funds cannot be transferred or donated without permission from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.
      3. The department forwards a Property Status Change Form to Property Records. The equipment will then be deleted from the department's inventory.
    5. Sale or Transfer of Property from Another Institution, University or Agency To WSU

      Equipment transferred to Wright State from another institution, university or agency will be negotiated by the department and college when the new faculty is hired. The department will contact the transferring institution to obtain the appropriate information. Property Records must be notified of the transfer using a Property Status Change Form. The equipment will then be added to the department's inventory.
    6. Equipment Used Off-Campus

      Using equipment off-campus is permissible if it is approved by the Dean, director, or designee. A "Permission to Use Equipment Off-Campus Form”, which can be found on the Office of the Controller’s website, must be completed. One copy will be kept in the department's files and another copy will be kept by the holder of the equipment. In the Property Records inventory system, the room and building fields will indicate the individual's on-campus address. This equipment is the property of Wright State regardless of its location.
    7. Cannibalizing Equipment

      University property that is designated as capital equipment should not be cannibalized until approved by the Business Manager. The ESPM office should be consulted and a joint determination made if cannibalization is in the best interest of the University. Property Records must be notified using a Property Status Change Form.
    8. Stolen Equipment

      Public Safety must be immediately notified of each piece of equipment that cannot be located and is believed stolen. The Business Manager or designee must provide as much detail as possible to police investigators and should contact Property Records for this information if it is not readily available in the department. The promptness with which the police are contacted as well as the completeness of record detail is essential for a successful investigation. Property Records must be notified of the theft using a Property Status Change Form. The equipment will then be deleted from the department's inventory.
    9. Destroyed Equipment

      Capital equipment that was destroyed by a disaster must be reported to Property Records using a Property Status Change Form.
    10. Missing Equipment

      When equipment assigned to a department is missing; the dean or a vice president together with the business manager are notified and a record of it is made as inactive in the fixed assets system. If the equipment is not found for the next three years, and is not expected to reappear, WSU will remove it from the equipment inventory and the provost, the head of area, and the business manager are notified. WSU cannot continue to carry it on its equipment records. These items, if carried as an active item on the inventory, may cause non-compliance with federal regulations. Property Records must be notified immediately using a Property Status Change Form.
  4. Marking of WSU Items

    When a capital equipment item is delivered to Central Receiving, Central Receiving staff will affix a metal tag bearing a property tag number to the item in a place where it can be easily observed and protected from abuse (usually next to the model and serial numbers). It is the responsibility of the department to contact Property Records if an item is not tagged by Central Receiving. Property Records will send a tag to the department that the department will affix to the items. The tag will be accompanied by a form that must be returned to Property Records with model and serial number information. This tag must not be removed except by personnel from ESPM or Property Records. If a tag has been removed or becomes unreadable, a duplicate can be requested from Property Records.
  5. Federal Government Property
  6. Please see Section IV (Federal Government Property) of the procedure.

III. Surplus Property

  1. Definition

    University property that is no longer in active use in a university department is considered surplus property. It is the responsibility of ESPM to promote and facilitate the efficient use of this surplus property whether it consists of equipment or supplies. For additional information, see University Policy 5403, Excess and Surplus Property Management.
  2. Policies
    1. The Business Manager is responsible for the identification and disposal of items that are surplus to the department’s needs.
    2. All surplus equipment or supplies must be disposed through ESPM.
  3. Disposing of Surplus Property

    Immediately after an item is identified as surplus to a department, the Business Manager must initiate an ESPM Disposal Requisition (Form 1500). Form 1500 is a five-part form. The department should retain the last copy (goldenrod) as proof of submission. The first four copies should be sent to ESPM. When ESPM personnel pick up the item from the department, they will sign all four copies of the form and leave the last copy (green) with the department. ESPM will be responsible for forwarding the pink copy to Property Records. The item will be deleted from the department's inventory after receipt of the pink copy in the Property Records office. The item will become part of ESPM's inventory until sold or otherwise disposed. After sale or disposal, ESPM will take the yellow and white copies to the Property Records office.  The Property Records office will sign both copies acknowledging the item is no longer the property of WSU. Property Records will keep the yellow copy and remove the item from ESPM's inventory. ESPM will keep the white copy signed by the Property Records office. A separate Form 1500 must be used for each tag number. All forms filled out incorrectly will be sent back to the department for correction.

IV. Federal Government Property

  1. Definitions

    Property owned by the Federal Government and utilized by Wright State University in the fulfilment of contract or subcontract work shall be subject to safeguarding, controls, and reporting as required by Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), specifically FAR 52.245-1(f)(1).  The complete FAR Section 52 is available at

    According to FAR, “Government property” means all property owned or leased by the government. Government property includes both government-furnished and contractor-acquired property. Government property includes material, equipment, special tooling, special test equipment, and real property. Government property does not include intellectual property and software.

    “Government-furnished property” means property in the possession of, or directly acquired by, the government and subsequently furnished to the contractor for performance of a contract. Government-furnished property includes, but is not limited to, spares and property furnished for repair, maintenance, overhaul, or modification. Government-furnished property also includes contractor-acquired property if the contractor-acquired property is a deliverable under a cost contract when accepted by the government for continued use under the contract.

    “Property Administrator” means an authorized representative of the Contracting Officer appointed in accordance with agency procedures, responsible for administering the contract requirements and obligations relating to government property in the possession of a Contractor.

    Additional definitions are available at the link above.  Individuals working with, or otherwise responsible for government property should familiarize themselves with FAR 52.245-1.
  2. FAR Requirements

    As required by FAR 52.245-1(f) (1), in reference to government property, Wright State University and its representatives shall ensure the following outcomes:
    1. Acquisitions of property shall be consistent with its engineering, production planning, and property control operations and shall be appropriately documented as such.
    2. Receipt of the property shall include recording the information necessary to meet the requirements of paragraph (f)(1)(iii)(A)(1) through (5) of FAR 52.245-1 (as highlighted in #3 below).  Records shall identify the property as government owned and shall include details as to any discrepancies, damages, etc. noted upon receipt of the property.  In the case of any government property acquired by Wright State University, Wright State shall take all actions necessary to adjust for overages, shortages, damages or discrepancies discovered so as to ensure proper allocability and allowability of associated costs.
    3. Records of government property shall include government-furnished and contractor (Wright State)-acquired property.  Records shall be a complete, accurate, current, auditable account of all transactions and shall include information such as: the name, part number, and description; quantity received (or fabricated), issued and available on hand; unit acquisition cost; unique identifier or equivalent (if available and necessary for tracking purposes); unit of measure; contract number or equivalent designation; location; disposition (if applicable); posting reference and date of transaction; and date placed in service.
    4. Wright State University shall periodically perform, record and disclose physical inventory results.  Upon contract completion, a final physical inventory shall be performed.
    5. If Wright State University utilizes a subcontractor, the subcontractor award shall clearly identify property to be provided and restrictions or limitations on its use.  The contract shall define the extent of liability for loss of government property.  Wright State shall assure the subcontractor’s property management system is adequate.
    6. All discrepancies, loss of government property, physical inventory results, audits and self-assessments, corrective actions, and other property related reports shall be shared with the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, Post-Award (RSP). In accordance with other provisions of Section C. Responsibilities, RSP is responsible for resolving discrepancies with the federal government.  RSP will communicate all necessary changes with the Office of the Controller.  
    7. In the case of loss of government property that occurs at a subcontractor or alternative site location, Wright State University will take corrective actions as appropriate to prevent recurrence.  In addition, the University shall investigate and report to the government the following information:  date of incident (if known); identifying property information as described above in #3; the quantity of property affected; the contract number; a statement indicating current or future need; estimated repair or replacement costs, in addition to any estimated sales proceeds; the extent of commingled material; corrective or other action to be taken to prevent recurrence; statement regarding compensation to the government covering loss; copies of all supporting documentation;  the property’s last known location; and a statement as to whether or not sensitive, export controller, hazardous or toxic material was involved and the appropriate agencies and authorities that were notified.

      Wright State University shall be relieved of its responsibility of stewardship and potential liability for government property when the property is consumed or otherwise expended in the performance of the contract; such relief is granted by the Property Administrator; the property is transferred to another location under government instructions; or the property is otherwise disposed in accordance with FAR provisions.
    8. Wright State University shall utilize, consume, move and store government property only as authorized in the applicable contract.  Government property shall not be commingled with other materials unless otherwise authorized by contract or the Property Administrator.
    9. Wright State University shall properly maintain government property including normal and routine preventative maintenance and repair.  Any need for replacement or rehabilitation will be reported as soon as possible to the Property Administrator.
    10. At the close of the contract, Wright State University shall promptly contact the Property Administrator with an accounting of the physical inventory and the property disposing or transfer of government property.  Wright State University shall maintain records of this process.
  3. Responsibilities
    1. All Wright State University staff and faculty with interaction with, or responsibility for, government property will be expected to understand the provisions of the Capital Equipment Policies and Procedures and FAR 52.245-1(f)(1).  Research and Sponsored Programs will provide a copy of, or a link to, FAR 52.245-1(f)(1) to all Principal Investigators (PI) of awards and contracts involving government property.
    2. RSP will utilize field indicators in Banner (FWAGRNT and FRIEVNG) and APPWORX to track grants with government property.  RSP will notify the Office of the Controller (OOC) when the University has received or acquired government property.  RSP will provide the necessary information (as per FAR 52.245-1(f)(1) and item B) above to properly record the property as a non-owned asset.  The OOC will confirm receipt of this information to RSP.
    3. At the close of the contract or at any time it becomes known ownership of the property has been transferred to Wright State University, the PI must notify RSP. RSP will convey that information to the OOC.  If appropriate, the OOC will transfer the property from a non-owned asset to a University owned asset.
    4. Property without a readily ascertainable value will be recorded at $1 until such time, if ever, a more accurate value is determined.
    5. Principal investigators are responsible for safeguarding government property and for providing accurate information as to the location and status of the property.  PIs may request assistance with record keeping from their Business Manager. 
    6. The OOC will provide RSP with a quarterly inventory report for assets associated with a grant fund.  RSP is expected to review this report and provided revisions to the OOC as necessary.
    7. Similar to the receipt of government property, RSP will utilize field indicators in Banner and APPWORX reports to track the termination of grants with government property.  When a contract with associated government property concludes, RSP will work with the PI to fully understand and appropriately record the disposition of the asset – whether it will be returned to the government, transferred to a third party, or given to the University.
    8. RSP has ultimate responsibility for: (1) keeping accurate records of government property at WSU and communicating all changes to the Office of the Controller, (2) filing all government owned property reports on time, and (3) coordinating and submitting WSU responses to government property audit(s) as necessary.
    9. The Office of the Controller is responsible for: (1) updating University financial records to accurately reflect government property as communicated by RSP, (2) providing RSP and the University with timely records for reconciliation and inventory purposes, and (3) assisting in any governmental property audit(s) as appropriate.

Policy Revised December 31, 2015

Inventory Instructions

The inventory process attempts to account for all capital equipment over $5,000 held by the University. With the department inventory report, the existence of each item must be verified. This inventory report lists all equipment over $5,000 currently assigned to your department that has been delivered by the last day of June.

Steps to Complete the Inventory

  • Locate the silver inventory tag on each piece of equipment and match the number to the tag number on the report. For items that are in regular use, please place an 'X' in front of each tag number. If you cannot locate an item, leave the space in front of the tag number blank.
  • If the equipment has changed departments, indicate the 5-digit organization code that now owns the equipment in the 'Action/Status' column.
  • The location of each item (location code) should be correctly reported on the inventory report. If necessary, please correct the physical location of the item (location code) and make any changes in the proper 'Action/Status' columns.
  • Note on the inventory report equipment that is not in regular use. If the item is in storage or not in regular use, please indicate this in the 'Disposition' column. As an example, equipment that is used once a year in a class is considered to be in regular use. On the other hand, a piece of equipment held or stored for future use is not considered to be in regular use.
  • If an item has been sent to ESPM, please note the number from the ESPM 1500 form, in the 'Action/Status' column. Also, attach a copy of the form to your report.
  • For equipment that has been authorized for an employee’s use at home and is, at the time of this inventory, located at the employee's residence, enter 'HOME' in the 'Action/Status' column.
  • If in the course of taking the physical inventory you find other capital items which are not listed on your report, please add the WSU tag number to your list. Do not list equipment received after the last day of June. Indicate whether or not the item is in regular use, and indicate the building and room where the item is presently located.
  • Please fill in any missing serial numbers as you take your inventory. If anything else on the report is incorrect, for example department number or name, please make the necessary corrections.

Due Date

The inventories must be completed and returned to Resta Zeremariam, 312 University Hall, by the end of March. The inventory must be submitted in the format that is in TAG NUMBER ORDER and the department head must sign the report. Furthermore, the name and phone number of the person responsible for taking the inventory must be indicated.

If you need your inventory in another format or have any other questions, please contact Resta Zeremariam by email or at 937-775-3109.