As you all know, we recently raised the UW’s equipment threshold from $2,000 to $5,000, removing over 40,000 items from future inventories.  As we near the conclusion of the equipment threshold change, our next step is to retag equipment items over $5,000 that will continue to depreciate in our financial system going forward.  Retagging these assets will make it easier for campus to identify items needing to be inventoried going forward.  This will reduce the time personnel spend locating such assets during the next physical inventory process.  Units will not be required to complete the retagging themselves.  Our Equipment Inventory Office will work with administrators to coordinate and ensure completion of the retagging in each unit.

In addition, assets that are still active in Oasis that fall under the $5k threshold will be identified during this review.  These assets will not be tagged however, this review will validate their existence, ensuring that our records are complete.  Assets that are not located will, in consultation with the responsible department, be recorded as lost, stolen, or retired.  This will ensure that the UW’s assets are correctly reflected in our financial statements.  By performing this review while we retag assets, we will satisfy the State inventory requirements for 2 years and campus will not be required to conduct a physical inventory until FY 19.  For federally titled equipment (including agency assets), the next physical inventory will take place in FY 18.

We would like thank you for support and assistance with this project.  During the upcoming weeks we will be sending out additional communication, instructions, and providing updates to campus groups including equipment inventory contacts, building coordinators, and MRAM.  This is a large effort that requires significant coordination with the ultimate objective of minimizing the amount of overall time and effort the physical inventory process takes. 

Our goal is to launch the retag project by the end of October 2016.  If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact me at 206-543-8951. Thank you.


Associate Vice President
Research & Student Accounting


FAQ’s – Equipment Retagging

What is it? 

The University of Washington is undergoing a retagging effort for equipment items over the new $5,000 threshold

Why are we retagging the equipment and why is this important?

The increase of the equipment capitalization threshold to $5,000 resulted in the removal of 65% of the UW’s total equipment inventory.  This effort will clearly distinguish items that must be inventoried in the future and will relieve departments from conducting a full physical inventory in the upcoming year and update asset records in OASIS.

What should we do with existing equipment under the $5,000 threshold?

During the retagging process we will also validate the existence of the equipment under the $5,000 threshold. This will provide the most accurate information possible for University reporting.  This equipment will continue to depreciate, but will no longer be inventoried.  These asset records are auditable and departments should continue to update the asset information until the equipment is disposed of.    

What is the process?

EIO will lead an inventory team through each building to find and locate equipment.  The team will use barcode scanners to identify the item and tablets to update the equipment information in real time through a wi-fi connection.  We will be visiting the Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma campuses.  Once the building sweeps are completed, we will conduct a reconciliation of the items that were not found and follow up with the departments to review the list.

When will this occur?

The process is scheduled to begin during the week of October 31st 2016, and is expected to run three to four months.

How will we be able to identify the inventory team?

EIO will be accompanying the inventory team during the process.  The inventory team from HCA Asset Management will be wearing UW Contractor badges and HCA badges. 




How much time is required from building managers?

Much depends upon the size of the building and the number of spaces within the building.  We will work with building coordinators to schedule site visits so that there will be minimal disruption of regular business.  Questionnaires will be sent out to the building coordinators soon. 

How much time is required from department point of contacts?

It will vary depending on how much equipment a department has, and/or how many locations they are responsible for. We will work with Academic and Administrative units to schedule our retagging efforts with minimal disruption to departments.

How should we handle equipment that moves to a new location every day?

EIO will work with the department point of contact and equipment custodian to get this equipment updated during our initial visit to the worksite. If that cannot be arranged, we will follow up later in the retagging process.

What will the new asset tags look like? 

The new asset tags will be smaller in size (1.5” x .75”) compared to the current asset tags.  They will be UW purple and white and are made of durable .003” thick polyester and withstand moderate exposure, abrasion and temperatures. 




How do we get new asset tags?

New tags will be requested from EIO as needed. Tags will be preprinted (unlike the previous system where we printed them ourselves) and we will issue tag numbers to departments and distribute them via campus mail.

When will the new barcoded tags be used?

We will start using the new asset tags when we begin the retagging process on Monday, Oct 31st, 2016.

Will there be new asset tag numbers?

Yes. A new numbering sequence will make it easier to identify assets meeting the $5,000 threshold. 

When are the next scheduled physical inventories? 

Revised Physical Inventory Schedule:

  • FY 18 Federal and Agency titled (annual)
  • FY19 State and Sensitive Items (every 2 years)
  •  The Federal and Agency physical inventory will be completed as part of the scope of work

Current Process and Roles

Equipment Inventory Office:

  • As owners of the OASIS system, EIO serves as data custodian, providing relevant information to departments who are responsible for tracking capital equipment;
  • EIO is responsible for reconciling capital equipment with expenditures reported as such, as well as calculating depreciation each year;
  • EIO oversees the various Physical Inventory processes to ensure accurate, up-to-date information on capital assets.

University Departments:

  • Each department ensures that they have an inventory contact, who serves as liaison to EIO;
  • The inventory contact is responsible for seeing that equipment is tagged, and that its information (e.g. custodian, location) is updated as needed throughout its life cycle;
  • The inventory contact also works closely with EIO during the Physical Inventory cycle to locate assets and provide accurate, updated information on the inventories.

HCA Methodology  

Working with building managers and department contacts, they visit all spaces that have assets; this includes arranging access for all sensitive areas. Once the initial review and retagging is completed, a list will be distributed of remaining assets (those not located in the initial sweep). Departments will review and either locate assets or update their status as lost, stolen, disposed of, etc., ending with a follow-up visit to reconcile missing items.