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Equipment Inventory and Disposal

Overview
Equipment Inventory

Capital and Non-capital Accounts for Equipment Purchase

Equipment Disposal Procedures

Surplus Property Exchange Program
Northwestern University Recycling
Disposal of Library books, Medical Equipment and Medical Supplies
Disposal of Capital Equipment (Cost of $5,000 or more)
Recycling of Computers and Peripherals
Disposal of Federally Funded Equipment
Disposal of Chemicals or Hazardous Waste
Moving the Asset

Resources

Contact Information

 

Overview
Equipment Inventory
Northwestern University maintains its equipment inventory to track capital equipment that costs $5,000 and over and has a useful life of at least one year. The inventory includes capital equipment in many of NU’s buildings as well as some off-site locations. The Property Accountant handles the day-to-day responsibilities of the inventory including updating the inventory database, tagging new capital equipment, re-inventorying capital equipment, and training departments to set up their own non-capital equipment inventories to track equipment that costs under $5,000.

Through its property control coordinator, Accounting Services is responsible for tagging each new piece of capital equipment, however acquired, that has an original cost or setup valuation of $5,000 or more (including freight/transportation and setup costs), and recording its description, location and accounting information in the computerized database inventory system.  In addition, the property control coordinator, with cooperation from representatives of the various schools, departments, centers and administrative units, annually performs a physical inventory (alternating between the Chicago and Evanston campuses) of all University capital equipment to assure the accuracy of the inventory records.

Capital and Non-capital Accounts for Equipment Purchase
In order to determine the proper chart string to use for equipment purchases, refer to the Equipment Expense List chart below.

Equipment Description

Non-Capital Accounts

Capital Accounts

Office Equipment
77010
77550
Scientific Instruments
77020
77560
Computers
77030
77570
Fixed Equipment
-
75840
Furniture
75844
75841
Movable Equipment
75844
75842
Capital Equipment
-
75843
NTG Telephone Equipment
77060
77515
AV Equipment
77050
77545
Government/Sponsor Titled Equipment
77071
77505
Music Instruments
77040
77580
Other Equipment
-
77599


Equipment Disposal Procedures
The purpose of these procedures is to establish recommended uniform procedures for disposing of assets that are no longer serviceable or needed by the school or department and recover as much of the market value as possible. Information is also included to inform the NU community of various issues that need to be addressed when disposing of particular University assets.
All purchased and acquired assets have a useful life and value. When the asset’s usefulness warrants disposal from a department or school, the asset may have value to other departments or schools, or individuals within the NU community. Once approval for disposal of assets is obtained from your dean, chairperson, director or department administrator, the appropriate recommended uniform procedure outlined below shall be used.

Surplus Property Exchange Program
The purpose of the Surplus Property Exchange web site is to provide a common forum for the exchange of NU surplus property. Assets shall be offered to other departments and schools on the established Purchasing Resource Services Surplus Property Exchange Program for a recommended minimum of 30 days. Any department or school that has an interest in the asset may directly contact the offering department or school who will provide a more detailed description, location and availability. At that time, interested parties can place a bid or negotiate a sales price. If the asset is not sold during the recommended 30 days, interested faculty, staff or students may bid on the asset for personal use during a recommended 15-day period. Any proceeds shall be credited to the offering department or school. On how to handle the transaction refer to Equipment Policy Manual. If the asset is sold to anyone other than a NU department or school, obtain a signed Bill of Sale from the buyer. See Disposal Issues section for other steps you need to take to complete the transaction.
If after the recommended 45 days that the item is listed on the Surplus Property Exchange web page, the asset hasn’t been sold, consider contacting a local charity that accepts equipment donations. If the asset is donated to anyone other than a NU department or school, obtain a signed  Indemnification Agreement for Donated Property. Refer to instructions for disposal of particular types of equipment below for other steps you need to take to complete the transaction.

Northwestern University Recycling
If you are unable to locate a buyer/taker for your item through the Surplus Exchange web site, contact NU Recycling prior to discarding the property. NU Recycling may assist in identifying a better means for disposing of the asset or a charity group to take the item as a donation.

Disposal of Library books, Medical Equipment and Medical Supplies
Assets of some departments or schools may require special procedures. Assets such as library books, medical equipment and medical supplies shall be disposed of in a uniform and consistent procedure at the direction of the appropriate administration. If the original asset value exceeds $5,000 or was tagged with a NU property identifier, properly notify the Equipment Inventory Coordinator in the Accounting Services Department.

Disposal of Capital Equipment (Cost of $5,000 or more)
Notify the University’s Property Accountant in Accounting Services for any disposals of capital equipment by submitting the Self-Service Asset Retirement/Disposal or Transfer Request on the NUPortal. Capital equipment has a minimum cost of $5,000 and a useful life of one year or more. The information from this form will be used to update the University’s inventory database. You should obtain, and keep on file, written approval from your dean, chairperson, director or department administrator to remove capital equipment; however you do not need the approval of the Equipment Inventory Coordinator. Also remember to record disposals of assets with an original value of $500 to $5,000 in your non-capital equipment inventory records.

Recycling of Computers and Peripherals
Before removing computers and peripherals from university property, you must follow special procedures to remove all data files and proprietary programs. University licensed software may not be sold or donated. See IT policy on Disposal of Northwestern Computers and see information on the Computer & Peripherals Recycling Program.

Disposal of Federally Funded Equipment
You must get the approval of Accounting Services for Research & Sponsored Programs (ASRSP) for disposal of any federally funded equipment.

Disposal of Chemicals or Hazardous Waste
Contact the Office of Research Safety for proper disposal methods for any chemicals or hazardous waste.

Moving the Asset
Finally, moving the asset is your responsibility, but if you need the asset moved on the Chicago campus from one building to another because you sold or donated it to another department, you can arrange for the move through Support Services at 3-8129. All other moves can be arranged through Facilities Management at 1-5201.

 

Resources

 

Contact Information

Questions about…

Northwestern University's equipment inventory and policies?

Contact Mary Howard Freeman, m-freeman@northwestern.edu or 847-467-2737

Disposal of equipment acquired using federal funds?

Contact Accounting Services for Research & Sponsored Programs (ASRSP) at 847-491-3385

Disposal methods for chemicals or hazardous waste?

Contact the Office of Research Safety, at 847-491-5581