Capital equipment is tangible property having an acquisition value of $5,000 or more and a useful life expectancy of more than one year. Group purchases of tangible property that individually have acquisition values of less than $5,000 are not considered capital equipment and will be expensed. Fabricated equipment, which has an aggregate cost of $5,000 or more and a useful life expectancy of at least one year, is considered capital equipment. Repairs, maintenance parts or components, warranty costs, maintenance contracts or annual software licensing fees are not considered capital equipment and will be expensed.
Capital Equipment Inventory
Northwestern University maintains its equipment inventory to track capital equipment. The inventory includes capital equipment in many of Northwestern's buildings as well as some off-site locations. The Property Accountant handles the day-to-day responsibilities of the inventory. This includes the following:
- Updating the inventory records by recording asset descriptions, locations and accounting information in the asset management system for new asset additions including purchases, donations, and transfers into the university from other institutions
- Updating the inventory records by processing asset retirements including equipment scrapping, sales, donations, and transfers to other institutions with outgoing faculty
- Updating the inventory records by recording asset transfers including transfers within the university (new building, room, department, custodian) and transfers to off-site locations both within the US and outside the US Reviewing and accounting for Fabricated Equipment and Component System projects
- 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)
- Coordinating the annual Capital Equipment Re-Inventory project on the Chicago and Evanston