University of Vermont

Cost Accounting Services 

Movable Equipment FAQs Movable Equipment - Frequently Asked Questions

What is the University's definition of movable equipment?

The University’s definition of movable equipment is an article of non-expendable, tangible, personal property which stands alone, is complete in itself,  has a useful life of more than one year and has a value of $5,000 or more. Common categories of movable equipment include scientific equipment, computer equipment, vehicles and furniture.

What is the difference between movable equipment and fixed equipment?

Fixed Equipment is permanently attached fixtures, machinery, and other appurtenances that cannot be removed without cutting into walls, ceilings, or floors or otherwise damaging the building. Movable equipment stands alone and can be moved without impacting the building. If you have any questions in determining whether an item is fixed or movable equipment, contact in Cost Accounting Services for help.

Why are some expense accounts used to account for equipment less than $5,000?

Although expense accounts such as "65002 - Other Equipment <$5000" does not fall within the definition of movable equipment, expense accounts were established to help departments account for similar University movable property.

What costs are included in the unit acquisition cost of movable equipment?

The net invoice price of the equipment including the cost of modifications, attachments, accessories, or auxiliary apparatus necessary to make the equipment operable. Other charges such as the cost of installation, configuration, shipping/freight, handling,  duty, and protective in-transit insurance, shall be included in determining the acquisition cost.

Training, maintenance and warranties should not be included in the unit acquisition cost.

What if costs such as maintenance and warranties are included into one inclusive cost ("bundling") item on the vendor's quote and the primary item meets the $5,000 minimum threshold?

For bundled costs, the entire cost can be charged to the unit acquisition cost of a movable equipment item. If any item is itemized with a separate cost on the quote, the item must be charged to the proper expense account. For example, if software maintenance is itemized separately, the cost of software maintenance would be charged to " 65103 - Software Maintenance".

What is the University's policy on purchasing movable equipment?

Departments must purchase movable equipment by using the University’s requisition process. It is important to use the correct expense accounts to classify the movable equipment types and whether it should be a capitalized asset.

How important is selecting the purchasing category during the requisition process in accounting for movable equipment correctly?

It is very important. Expense accounts are assigned to each purchasing category. Determining which costs are included in the Unit Acquisition cost and whether the Unit Acquisition cost is equal or greater than $5,000 should occur before selecting the purchasing category. Any line items on a requisition which are included in the unit acquisition cost should have the same purchasing category.

What are common pitfalls to avoid during the submission of a requisition to buy movable equipment?

The most common oversight is not accurately determining which costs are included in the Unit Acquisition cost of a movable equipment item. When ordering multiple units of the same movable equipment item, the unit acquisition cost is critical in determining whether it meets the $5,000 threshold of movable equipment.  Line items on a requisition which include costs of the unit acquisition cost such as shipping should have the same purchasing category.

May I use the University’s purchasing card program to purchase Movable Equipment?

No. Requisitions must be used to purchase movable equipment.

When are repairs and upgrades to an existing movable equipment item considered movable equipment?

When the value is $5,000 or more and the action extends the useful life of the original piece of equipment by one year or more,  Equipment repair, replacement, and upgrade costs will be included in the University's Asset Management System.  A new asset will be created in the Asset Management system with a new asset ID and be classified as a component of the original movable equipment item.

May I trade-in my existing equipment  and use the proceeds to offset the purchase of new movable equipment?

Yes. Enter the asset tag number and the trade-in allowance amount on a line item in the requisition. In addition,  email the model number, serial #, UVM Asset ID and a description of the trade-in equipment item to for audit trail purposes.

Is donated equipment addressed by the University's movable equipment policy?

Yes. For donated movable equipment, the department is responsible to follow the University’s gift acceptance guide as well as ensuring the equipment is sufficiently evaluated for correctness and completeness and is in good working order. The unit acquisition cost of the donated equipment will be the fair market value of the equipment at the date of the gift and must be greater than or equal to $5,000 to be considered movable equipment. Contact to tag any donated movable equipment items that have values which are equal or greater than $5,000.

Which department do I notify to tag a movable equipment item in my department?

Cost Accounting Services oversees the University Asset management database and is responsible for working with departments to apply a unique asset tag on each movable equipment item. All movable equipment items should have a visible asset tag unless agreed to by Cost Accounting Services. Contact to schedule a movable equipment item to be tagged.

What are the departmental responsibilities of assigned movable equipment?

Each movable equipment item has a department assigned to it which requires the department to be ultimately responsible for the complying with the University's property standards which include:

  • Report any loss, damage, or theft of equipment in a timely manner to Police Services, Risk Management and Cost Accounting Services
  • Implement adequate maintenance procedures to keep the equipment in good condition
  • Use federally purchased equipment as described in the University movable equipment policy
  • Conduct annual movable equipment inventories as prescribed on the Space and Movable Equipment web site
  • Dispose of movable equipment per the Disposal of Surplus Property and Movable Equipment policy
When is the annual movable equipment inventory performed?

The movable equipment inventory is part of the space and equipment inventory which is conducted each spring. For movable equipment located in University rooms, the assigned department of each room updates the location of the movable equipment items in their assigned space of the University's space database (FAMIS). For movable equipment located outside University space such as vehicles, the department is responsible for inventorying equipment items and providing the results of their inventory in an excel spreadsheet to

What QA steps should department personnel who are conducting the inventory take to ensure the completeness of their inventory prior to submitting to Cost Accounting Services?

1) Rerun the UVM PeopleSoft Report Mov_Equip by Dept w/ Comments and to confirm the last inventory dates are in the fiscal year being inventoried.
2) Confirm that off-campus movable equipment e.g. vehicles have been inventoried and ensure a  comment of the inventory results has been added on the excel spreadsheet.
3) Confirm equipment in other departmental space has been physically inventoried
4) Confirm that the dispositioned movable equipment is reflected on your updated movable equipment excel spreadsheet

What are the guidelines of transferring equipment?

There are four types of transfers which have different procedures. Guidance for the types of transfers are provided at this web page.

What are the University policies/procedures for disposing of movable equipment?

Prior to the disposition of movable equipment by a department, the department shall notify its respective College/School/Unit to determine whether the equipment item can be utilized within its College, School, or Unit. Each Dean’s office or Unit shall retain a record of their ultimate disposition of each equipment item for audit purposes. Upon approval to disposition the equipment by the College, School, or Unit, the department shall use the appropriate disposal business procedures outlined by UVM Surplus Disposal policy.

May I sell used movable equipment using on-line auction sites such as EBAY?

No. The University's appropriate disposal business procedures outlined by UVM Surplus Disposal policy must be used.

May I donate movable equipment to an organization or employee?

Upon obtaining approval from the Custodial Recycling/Surplus Program and the Controller, donating movable equipment including surplus computers to employees is allowable. Please refer to the UVM Surplus Disposal policy for more details

Last modified January 31 2019 01:21 PM