Accounting Services

Property Acquisition

Property Control, Alejandra Estevez, 970-351-2389

Capital equipment may be acquired through purchase, donation, trade-in or construction. Regardless of the way the equipment is acquired, if it meets the definition of capital equipment, it must be added to the property records and tagged with a University of Northern Colorado property tag. Capital equipment is defined as equipment having a useful life of more than one year and a cost of $5,000 or more.

Property tags are to be placed on the front of the equipment in a conspicuous place, so that they can be easily read during the annual inventory process.

Title to the property rests with the University, not the Organization, regardless of whether the equipment may have been donated or purchased from Organization budget allocations or from special appropriations or allocations. Organizations are assigned property for custody through the property tagging process and are responsible for such property. Organizations are responsible for completing transfer forms when equipment is moved or otherwise disposed of, in order to transfer that responsibility.

An Organization is designated as the "Responsible Organization" when property is acquired by the Organization through purchase, gift or transfer. The responsible Organization is carried on the property and inventory records of the University and will be relieved of responsibility only if the property is transferred to another Organization, donated to a non-profit agency, declared surplus, traded in on a new acquisition, or reported as lost or stolen to the University Police. In these cases, the responsible Organization must fill out the appropriate form and forward it to Property Control so that adjustments can be made to inventory records.

All items will be carried on the accounting records at cost or purchase price. This will include shipping, installation and training costs. Where the actual purchase price cannot be established, as in the case of a gift, fair market value may be used.

Equipment can be acquired utilizing the trade-in value of a similar asset. Purchase of items where the purchase price is reduced by the value of a similar asset traded in will be recorded on the property records at the actual list/invoice price of the item purchased. The cost, therefore, for the new piece of equipment will equal the cash paid for the equipment plus the trade-in allowance documented by the seller. A gain or loss on disposal of the asset traded in will be calculated as the difference between the book value of the asset traded in and the trade-in value provided by the seller.

Equipment can be acquired through a lease purchase. The principal amount of the item is the capitalized value adjusted for any trade-in value provided by the seller on equipment traded in upon purchase and calculated as noted above.

Equipment can also be acquired through component building. Occasionally someone will build a piece of equipment from components. Property Control will assist in determining a fair market value for the item. If the value is $5,000 or greater, the equipment will be assigned a property tag.

Reconditioned items will be recorded at the total purchase price plus all reconditioning costs. Reconditioning of already owned items normally will be charged to expense, and the initial property records will remain unchanged, unless the amount is $5,000 or more and reconditioning will prolong the life of the asset more than an additional year. In this case, the reconditioning will be considered an improvement, and a separate property record will be kept for the improvement.

Property Control will initiate equipment tags in one of several ways. All purchase orders will be reviewed. When a purchase order meets the capital equipment requirements, Property Control will prepare a property record and create a property tag after the purchase order has been paid. The property record will contain the following information:

  1. Description of equipment
  2. "In-service" date or purchase date
  3. Original cost
  4. Depreciable life
  5. Serial number of equipment
  6. Vendor or manufacturer
  7. Building and room number where equipment is located
  8. Source of funds used for the purchase
  9. Responsible Organization
  10. Purchase order, voucher or EIO used to pay for equipment
  11. Asset type

The property tag and a tag notice will be sent to the individual who requested the purchase order. That individual is responsible for attaching the property tag.