"Movable equipment" is any tangible, non-expendable, institutional personal property that has an anticipated useful life of one year or more with an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more. Equipment under $5,000 is considered expendable and is outside the University's definition of movable equipment. Common classes of movable equipment include scientific equipment, computer equipment, vehicles, and furniture.  

Movable equipment differs from fixed equipment which includes 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.

With a subset of the University’s movable equipment being purchased by federal sponsored grants, the University’s property management standards for movable equipment must meet federal regulations (Uniform Guidance 200.313) governing management and disposition of property. Accounting for UVM's movable equipment is performed in accordance with the University's Movable Equipment Policy (PDF) and Disposal of Surplus Property & Movable Equipment Policy (PDF) by Financial & Cost Accounting Services within University Financial Services.

Definitions

  • Movable Equipment - An article of non-expendable, tangible, personal property which stands alone, is complete in itself, does not lose its identity, has a useful life of more than one year, and has an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more.
  • Capital Movable Equipment - An article of non-expendable, tangible, personal property which stands alone, is complete in itself, does not lose its identity, has a useful life of more than one year, and has an acquisition cost of $100,000 or more.
  • Fair Market Value - Cost at acquisition in an arm’s length transaction, or at appraised value for gifts.
  • Fixed Equipment - Permanently attached fixtures, machinery, and other appurtenances that cannot be removed without cutting into walls, ceilings, or floors or otherwise damaging the building.
  • Radio Frequency Identification - Tags that emit a frequency when in the presence of an activated inventory scanner.

Acquisition

Departments should follow these procedures when using the University’s requisition process to purchase movable equipment: 

  1. Determine the Unit Acquisition Cost: The equipment unit cost is net invoice price of the equipment including the cost of modifications, attachments, accessories, or auxiliary apparatus necessary to make the equipment operable for its intended purpose. Other charges such as the cost of installation, configuration, shipping/freight, handling, duty, and protective in-transit insurance, should also be included. If multiple units are being purchased, allocate costs such as shipping to each unit to determine the correct unit acquisition cost (e.g., two computers that total $6,000 have a unit acquisition cost of $3,000). Training, maintenance, and warranties should not be included in the equipment unit acquisition cost.
  2. Factor in any equipment trade-in allowance: When acquiring movable equipment, the department may use existing equipment as a trade-in to offset the cost of the new equipment. The cost of the movable equipment will be net of any trade-in value. For instance, if a movable equipment item costs $7,000 and the trade-in amount is $1,000 dollars, the recorded cost of the equipment in the Asset Management record would be $6,000.
  3. Select the correct purchasing category (search on descriptions): Upon determining the unit acquisition cost, select the correct purchasing category for equipment. The clear descriptions of the purchasing categories include the expense account for easy searching and common unit cost items (shipping, installation, transit insurance). By including the common unit cost items in a purchasing category, the requisition line items are minimized.

Example #1: Equipment unit acquisition cost is $50,000 ($50K). The cost items of the equipment unit include shipping and installation. Training is included but is not part of the unit cost. Upon searching the purchasing descriptions in the PeopleSoft requisition screen, the appropriate purchasing category description for the equipment unit is "65007-Moveable Equipment $5K to $100K & Install,Shipping,Ins". The appropriate purchasing category description for the equipment training service costs would be "61207- Equipment Training Services". A total of two requisition lines would be required for this requisition example.

Example #2: A new vehicle acquisition cost is $10,000 ($10K). New plates are required as part of this vehicle acquisition. The purchasing category description for the vehicle would be "65061- Vehicle cost between $5K and $100K". Since the cost of new plates are not included in the vehicle unit costs, the purchasing category description for new plates would be "63122- Vehicle Registration (new license plates only)". A total of two requisition lines would be required for this vehicle requisition example.

Acquisition FAQs

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 for its intended purpose. 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 supplier’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 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 costacct@uvm.edu 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 FCAS to tag any donated movable equipment items that have values which are equal or greater than $5,000.

 

Tagging and RFIDs

With RFID tags in place, the equipment inventory process has been centralized to Financial and Cost Accounting Services (FCAS) to alleviate the burden on academic and administrative departments. However, the department’s time is still needed for equipment tagging and inventory reconciliations when FCAS has identified asset data discrepancies in the inventory process. These steps are critical to completing a timely inventory and remaining in compliance with the Uniform Guidance requirements around equipment property management. The following procedure will continue for newly acquired movable equipment with an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more. 

  1. FCAS: Fills out a tagging profile data sheet with known information from the purchase order, quotes, and invoices. Any missing information such as location (bldg., room #), model number, manufacturer or serial number is highlighted to aid the department contact on what data is needed. 
  2. FCAS: Attaches an assigned University of Vermont (UVM) RFID tag to the tagging profile data sheet and sends it via interoffice mail to department contact. 
  3. FCAS: Notifies the department contact, by email, that a tagging profile data sheet and RFID tag was sent via interoffice mail.
  4. Department Contact: Upon receipt, the department contact locates the equipment, completes the tagging profile sheet, and applies the tag onto the equipment.
  5. Department Contact: Takes pictures, if a camera is readily available, of the UVM tag applied to the equipment, the model/serial number on the equipment, and the completed tagging profile sheet.
  6. Department Contact: Within 2 weeks of receipt of the tagging profile data sheet and tag, email the pictures back to your contact in FCAS. 
  7. FCAS: Updates the movable equipment record in the University’s asset management database and attaches the provided pictures.

RFID FAQs

Where can I get general information about RFID technology?
See RFID regulations here.

If my area uses RFID tags for other purposes, such as production measurements, will the new inventory tags interfere with the frequencies?

No, there will not be interference.

Will RFID tags interfere with my equipment’s functionality?
The RFID tags utilized for movable equipment inventory do not emit a signal. They are passive with no battery and only emit a signal (UHF 902-928 MHz is the FCC standard frequency) when in the presence of the activated inventory wand. Consequently, these tags will not interfere with equipment functionality.

What if I would like to use RFID for other purposes? Can we use the same consultant?
Yes, you can request contact information for the consultant from Financial & Cost Accounting Services.

What is the lifecycle of the tag?
Unlimited if it’s not destroyed. There is no battery, and the tag only emits a signal when in the presence of an activated inventory wand.

Inventory

Movable equipment is first inventoried when received by the department. Close to receipt, the equipment should be tagged with a University-assigned tag in collaboration with the department and Financial & Cost Accounting Services. FCAS will issue the tag (either an RFID-enabled tag or another tag type, depending on the equipment specifics) for the department to affix per the tagging procedure. FCAS will catalog the equipment in PeopleSoft’s Asset Management, as well as other systems.

Financial & Cost Accounting Services will establish, conduct and coordinate the equipment inventory to comply with federal regulations, at least once every two years. Equipment tagged with RFID technology greatly reduces the burden on academic administrators and faculty by cutting the amount of time and effort required to perform the inventory, eliminating the need to touch the equipment while performing the inventory, and maintaining better tracking and more accurate inventory records.

Inventory FAQs

Which department do I notify to tag a movable equipment item in my department?
FCAS 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 FCAS. Email costacct@uvm.edu to schedule a movable equipment item to be tagged.

 

What are the departmental responsibilities of assigned movable equipment?
See the Movable Equipment Policy.

Are all assets tagged with RFID-enabled tags?
No, there are some items (such as vehicles, animal cages, magnetic equipment, etc.) that don’t lend themselves to RFID tagging. These assets will still need to be tracked within the accounting system and potentially assigned an old-type tag.

Is equipment in off-campus locations tagged?

  • Assets that are exposed to the elements (e.g. farm equipment) are not tagged with RFID tags. These assets still need to be tracked within the accounting system and will be assigned a non-RFID, metal tag for inventory purposes.
  • Assets that are in the general Burlington area are tagged, even in sites such as the Medical Center, Colchester Research facility or Technology Park.
  • Assets that are temporarily off site should be tagged when they are returned to UVM campus.

What about physically flexible assets (such as tents)? Will they be tagged?
If it is possible to affix a tag on a sturdy surface, such as a support beam to a tent, or a storage case, a tag may be assigned by FCAS and affixed.
If this is not possible, a virtual tag ID will be assigned by FCAS. The department will need to work with FCAS to confirm assets specifics, the location and condition of the asset.

When is the movable equipment inventory performed?
Movable equipment inventory is conducted via RFID scanning by FCAS. The plan is to conduct inventory on a rolling basis over two years. A schedule and the process are being planned now and will be communicated at a later time.

In what system will equipment inventory results be tracked and available?
FCAS is working to determine how best to update asset records moving forward in PeopleSoft and other systems.

Will my department be assigned an RFID scanner to take inventory?
No, Financial & Cost Accounting Services will be conducting the physical inventory. If there are spaces or pieces of equipment that need special handing, notify us to work out how the inventory will be conducted.

If an asset is sent out for repair, should the tag be left on the asset?
Notify FCAS for how to handle this situation.

I have equipment that is obsolete or outdated. Does this require ongoing inventorying?
Federal guidelines require the equipment must be tracked if it is in service even if the item has outlived its normal useful life.

If the item is being cannibalized or being used for a different purpose than what it was originally intended, refer to the Surplus Property and Movable Equipment policy and work with Financial & Cost Accounting Services on how to update the asset record.

How will underlying asset records be updated moving forward?
FCAS is working to determine how best to update asset records moving forward in PeopleSoft and other systems.

If there are lab or space moves, how will inventory be updated?
Notify Financial & Cost Accounting Services with details.

Do I need to do anything with movable equipment as part of the Space Inventory process?
No. If you notice movable equipment inconsistencies in your movable equipment report, please notify FCAS while submitting your space inventory.

If you need to dispose of a piece of equipment, you should do so as usual. Contact the Recycling & Zero Waste Program to request pick-up of surplus items. Recycling Program personnel will remove surplus property. After removal of the item, Recycling Program personnel will forward the original form and Asset Tag to the Controller’s Office to update the underlying asset records.

 

Transfers

Whether or not a piece of movable equipment is available for transfer or not depends in part on the funding source and use of the equipment item(s). Per the University's Movable Equipment Policy (PDF), equipment acquired via a federal sponsored agreement has usage requirements even when the equipment is vested with the University. Once the necessary due diligence of assessing whether other opportunities exist or not for using an equipment item as described in the Movable Equipment policy, follow the guidance below for internal and external equipment transfers:

  • Internal transfer between UVM departments - An equipment item may be transferred to another University department. Written communication must be emailed to Financial & Cost Accounting Services (F  CAS) that clearly states the pending transfer agreement between the two departments.
  • Equipment transfer from UVM to an external organization (funded by an active sponsored agreement) - When a Principal Investigator (PI) is transferring to another organization and an active sponsored agreement is being relinquished by the University to the PI's new organization, movable equipment purchased by the active sponsored agreement is typically transferred to the new organization of the PI. A list of the movable equipment must be submitted as part of the relinquishing request documentation to Sponsored Project Administration and Financial & Cost Accounting Services for consideration and processing. The list of information should include the University's asset tag number, description, model number, and serial number.
  • Equipment transfer from UVM to an external organization (equipment is owned by the University) - If a federal sponsored agreement originally paid for part or all of the movable equipment, the equipment must be made available to other federal sponsored agreements. If other federal programs do not need the movable equipment, then the University responsible official of the equipment item(s) must approve the request before the request is submitted to Financial & Cost Accounting Services. The request should include the University's asset tag number, description, model number, and serial number.
  • External transfer from an external organization to UVM - When equipment whose book value is 5,000 or more is transferring from an external organization to UVM as part of a faculty member's transfer to UVM, the equipment must be tagged and be included in the official University asset database for insurance purposes. Upon arrival of the equipment, contact FCAS to receive information on tagging and documenting the equipment for inventory purposes. For transfers requiring the sale of  movable equipment to an external organization, contact FCAS for guidance on proper sales procedures and recommendations on achieving the highest possible return for the University.

Disposal

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 used 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 the Disposal of Surplus Property & Movable Equipment Policy (PDF). When movable equipment is disposed via sale, select “Equipment Sale” as the “PURPOSE” in the Deposit Transmittal Form (Excel) and refer to the equipment’s tag, if applicable, in the “REASON” section.

Disposal FAQs

What is the correct process to retire or dispose of an asset?
First, seek trade-in opportunities or transfer of the property to another department or college within the University. The Controller’s Office and the Recycling & Zero Waste Program Manager must be notified of these transactions.

For disposals, the department must submit a service request through Planon and include it with the Inventory Asset Tag Number, location and description of the item on the surplus request form. The Custodial Services Department will schedule pick up and removal of the item.  After removal, the Custodial Services Department will forward the original form and Asset Tag to the University’s Financial and Cost Accounting Services Office to update the underlying asset records.

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's Surplus Disposal policy must be used.

May I donate movable equipment to an organization or employee?
Upon obtaining approval from the Recycling & Zero Waste 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.

Is there any special handling required to dispose of RFID tags?
No, they can be treated the same as the old, numbered tags. Please refer to the Disposal of Surplus Property and Movable Equipment policy on appropriate disposal procedures.

Can RFID tags removed from disposed property be repurposed if they’re in good shape?
No, even if the tag is still adhesive, it is best to dispose of the tag when the underlying asset is disposed of or retired.