The purpose of this section is to familiarize the department head with the duties regarding the acquisition, use, maintenance, disposition, and control of the equipment in the department’s custody. Department heads are responsible for ensuring that established policies and procedures related to equipment are followed. Detailed equipment policies are in University Policy FI0605. For policies on other types of University property, also see FI0610 (Surplus Property), FI0140 (Unclaimed Property), and FI0615(Disposition of Gift Personal Property).

Key Terms

Equipment is acquired by purchase, gift, or assembly and has a useful life of one or more years.

Movable equipment has a cost or fair market value of $5,000 or more. An asset record must be created in IRIS and the item must be tagged.

Sensitive minor equipment is particularly vulnerable to theft and has a cost or fair value of $1,500.00 up to and including $4,999.99. An asset record must be created in IRIS and the item must be tagged. Some examples of sensitive minor equipment are cameras and lenses, computers, microscopes, musical instruments, printers, tablets, and televisions. See University Policy FI0600 for more guidance.


NOTE: A UT procurement card may be used to purchase sensitive minor equipment provided an asset record is created. See University Policy FI0530 for details.

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Maintaining Inventory Records

The equipment inventory is maintained on the University’s financial and human resources system (IRIS) and administered by the Equipment Records section of the Controller’s Office in Knoxville. This system provides a means of entry, update, and retrieval of equipment information for staff in your department and the Controller’s Office. For example, your department may add items to the inventory, change an item’s location or description, and print an inventory list from IRIS.

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Accounting for Equipment

Creating an Asset Record

Before the expenditure of funds for movable and sensitive minor equipment can be approved, an asset record must be created in IRIS. This must also be done when equipment is acquired at no cost, for example by gift or transfer with a grant. The asset class determines the general ledger (G/L) account number which classifies the expense correctly in the IRIS system, so the asset class should be chosen carefully when creating the asset record.

Recording the Expenditure

Movable and sensitive minor equipment expenditures are recorded in IRIS by posting an invoice against the appropriate asset record. Direct posting of invoices to these G/L accounts is prohibited, except by internal transfer. G/L codes are listed on the Controller’s Office website.


Lesson Learned

An employee stole and sold a gift from a prominent individual, which had not been recorded on the University’s equipment inventory.

Proper recording of the gift on the inventory would have helped detect the theft earlier. The item’s theft was widely reported in the media.

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Your Role in Managing University Equipment

Your responsibilities in managing University equipment are listed below. Your campus or institute business office may handle some of these responsibilities. You may choose to delegate some of the routine activities.

  1. Ensure that detailed inventory records are maintained for the department.
  2. Maintain University equipment in your department’s control so that its maximum, useful life is realized.
  3. Ensure that University equipment is used only for official business. When equipment must be removed from the University for official reasons, it should be checked out properly (Policy FI0605 contains a sample checkout form).
  4. Ensure that an annual inventory of equipment is conducted and verified with the annual inventory list provided by the Controller’s Office. The inventory is usually performed during the beginning of the calendar year and should be returned to the Controller’s Office by April 30.
  5. Ensure that newly acquired equipment is promptly tagged and the tag numbers are entered in IRIS. Request duplicate or replacement tags when the originals are damaged or missing.
  6. Ensure that an asset record is created in IRIS by entering or verifying all purchased or donated equipment. An Equipment Acquisition Report (Form T-66) should be completed for equipment received at no cost, that is by gift or assembly or furnished by the government (see Appendix).
  7. Ensure that expenditures for equipment are recorded in IRIS with the appropriate general ledger account number. When items are attributed incorrectly, the department’s financial records may be inaccurate.
  8. Ensure that computer hard drives and other electronic media containing confidential or sensitive data are sanitized (that is, the data is made inaccessible) before disposal or transfer.
  9. Authorize any transfer or disposition of equipment, other than surplusing, and report the transactions on an Equipment Inventory Change/Deletion Request, Form T-64 (see Appendix).
  10. Authorize the disposition of unwanted or obsolete items to the surplus property department (or designee) by signing a Surplus form (see Appendix).
  11. Report any theft or mysterious disappearance of equipment to the campus or institute police department or local law enforcement authorities and submit a Form T-64 to remove the item(s) from the official inventory records. Submit a Form T-65 to report losses to Audit and Compliance and the Treasurer. See University Policy FI0131 for additional guidance.

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