Overview

Physical inventories of University-owned equipment must be completed by University departments every two years. Physical inventories of Federal-owned and Agency-owned equipment must be taken annually.  Audits of the physical inventories taken by departments are performed annually by various state, federal, private, and internal auditors.  Non compliance with physical inventory requirements may result in discontinuance of federal funding.  

Physical inventories are hard copy lists mailed to departments by Equipment Inventory, based in a schedule, for tracking inventorial assets.  Departments are required to perform a manual count and verify the location/serial number/custodian of each item listed.  All departments are required by state and federal regulations to complete a physical inventory on a regular schedule.  The Equipment Inventory Office (EIO) coordinates the process for all University of Washington departments.

Final inventories are final inventories of equipment furnished by or purchased with agency funds are to be taken by the principal investigator upon termination of contracts or agreements. Under some contracts, unused supplies on hand at the termination of the project with a combined value over $5,000 must also be inventoried.  Upon receipt of a listing of angency-owned equipment from the Equipment Inventory Office, the principal investigator should verify the physical presence of the equipemnt and, after verification, may recommend that:

  • The property's title become vested with the University for continued use in the department on similar research projects;
  • The equipment be transferred to a follow-on contract;
  • The equipment be returned to the government agency; or
  • The equipment be removed by the government agency.

The Equipment Inventory Office will recommend appropriate action to the contracting officer.


Benefits to the Department

Your department benefits from completing a physical inventory because it allows you to:

  • locate assets in use.
  • update equipment movement.
  • account for assets lost or previously surplused.
  • transfer assets to other departments.

Types of Inventories

Federal Inventory is the process of locating equipment that was purchased with Federal grant or contract money and for which the sponsor has retained title (ownership).  The funding source (for example, Navy) requires the University to track the assets but the assets belong to the Federal government and are not University property.  Timely completion is extremely important.

Federal inventories are:

  • required annually;
  • completed with paperwork prepared and mailed to your department in early January by Equipment Inventory;
  • due by February 28th;
  • followed by the Federal Audit by the Office of Naval Research.

An Agency Inventory is the process of locating equipment that was purchased with private agency grant or contract money where the sponsor has retained title.  In this case, the funding agency (for example, Honeywell) requires the University to track the assets, but the assets belong to the private agency.

Agency inventories are:

  • required annually;
  • completed with paperwork prepared and mailed to your department in early January by Equipment Inventory;
  • due by February 28th.

A University Inventory (also called "State" inventory) is the process of locating all other assets tracked by the University.  The funding can come from the State, a Federal agency or a private agency but the University owns the equipment.  This also includes gifts and equipment transferred in from other institutions.

University inventories are:

  • completed with paperwork prepared each year on May 1st and mailed to your inventory contact;
  • due by August 31st;
  • required once every two years by State regulation.

Note:  There are no extensions available on physical inventories.

A Sensitive Inventory is the process of locating all university assets deemed "sensitive" (weapons).  The funding source can be from the state, a federal or private agency with University ownership.

Sensitive University inventories are:

  • completed with paperwork prepared each year on May 1st and mailed to your inventory contact by Equipment Inventory;
  • due on August 31st;
  • required once every two years by State regulation.

Note:  Assets with a blue bar code tag are Hospital property and maintained separately by Hospital Accounting at 206-598-7933.  Assets with a purple bar code tag are non-inventorial assets, should not be included in your inventory.


Responsibility for Physical Inventories

Inventory paperwork will be sent directly to your department's inventory contact.  Because final responsibility rests with your department head, they will be sent a memo indicating which inventories are "due" or "optional".

The individual(s) who perform(s) the physical inventory must have no direct responsibility for the assets.  For example:

  • An inventory contact is eligible to inventory all equipment except their own, such as their personal computer, because they have direct responsibility for that computer.
  • A principle investigator (researcher) is not eligible to inventory lab equipment for which he/she has direct responsibility as this would create a conflict of interest.

Process Overview

  1. Equipment Inventory mails the physical inventory lists with cover letters and instructions to department inventory contacts for processing.

  2. Equipment Inventory sends an informational memo to department heads notifying them of which inventories are due that year.

  3. Departments complete and return all "due" inventories to Equipment Inventory by the scheduled due date.

  4. Departments clear pending assets on "optional" inventories directly in the OASIS system.

  5. Equipment Inventory verifies the proper completion of your inventory and officially records your inventory as "received" in our records for that inventory cycle.

  6. EIO processes any necessary updates, disposals or transfers.

  7. Equipment Inventory sends a follow-up memo and new inventory listing to the inventory contact for each completed inventory.

  8. Departments respond in writing to any concerns highlighted in the follow-up memo.

  9. Equipment Inventory will send you a final inventory listing after processing your requested revisions.

Procedures
Please visit the below links for specific procedures on the various types of inventories.