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Division of Business and Finance

East Tennessee State University

FP-11 Equipment Control and Accountability

I.     Function
II.    Definitions
III.   Responsibility of the Property Control Office
IV.   Responsibility of Department Heads
V.    Equipment Purchases by ETSU Foundation
VI.   Donation of Equipment to University
VII.  Grants and Contracts
VIII. Disposal of University Property
IX.   Transfer
X.    Lost, Stolen, or Missing Equipment
XI.   Random Check of Inventory
XII.  Repairs to Equipment


I. Function

The function of Equipment Inventory Control is to maintain an accurate record of all University equipment to ensure proper accountability.  The Property Control Office is a division of the Purchasing Department under the office of the Associate Vice President for Business and Finance.
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II. Definitions

Equipment is defined as any single item or resource or assembled item other than all glass, all rubber, or all fabric, which costs $5,000 or more and whose useful expected life is greater than three (3) years.  Software, audio and videotapes, and films are not considered to be equipment.

Items considered particularly subject to theft are "Sensitive Items" and will be assigned property control tags and maintained on the inventory listings. Sensitive items are those items valued at $1,500 to $4,999 as listed here:

CAMERA BODIES (35mm, Digital, Document, Imaging) OSCILLOSCOPE

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III. Responsibility of the Property Control Office

It is the responsibility of the Property Control Supervisor to maintain an inventory of all equipment and sensitive items purchased by the University, regardless of the source of funds; received by gift; and on loan to the University.

Equipment and sensitive items are identified on purchase orders using object codes.  An ETSU property control tag is affixed to each piece.  Pertinent information about the item is entered into the Fixed Asset System (serial number, model, description building and room location).  When payment is made, the information is fed via the Financial Records System (FRS) to the Fixed Asset System.  Each item is maintained in the Fixed Asset System.  The Fixed Asset inventory is balanced monthly and annually to the Accounting department records.

Annually the Property Control Supervisor will verify all equipment items on the University inventory.  Sensitive items will be verified using a random sampling method.  The inventory process will include verification by the Property Control Supervisor that each department has a process for tracking university property that is taken off campus.  Each department will provide information as part of the annual inventory process that all ETSU property is accounted for.  Any items not located during the inventory process will be reported to the responsible party, internal audit and public safety.  The responsible party will locate the item, identify its new location, and report the location to the Property Control Supervisor.  If the item can not be located, the responsible party is to report it as missing and handle per Section X, Lost, Stolen or Missing Equipment.

Physical transfer of the equipment is the responsibility of the Property Control Supervisor; however, departments may request assistance from the Physical Plant to move large and/or heavy articles.
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IV.  Responsibility of Department Heads

Department heads have custodial responsibility for the equipment assigned to their department and are to exercise due care and diligence in safeguarding the items.  Department heads are to notify the Property Control Supervisor in writing, using the Equipment Inventory Change/Deletion Form anytime equipment is moved from one room to another within the department.  Equipment that is taken off campus is the responsibility of the department.  Each department is to maintain written records, according to their own internal processes, for university property taken off campus.
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V.  Equipment Purchases by ETSU Foundation

Equipment purchased by the ETSU Foundation is added to the University inventory of the department designated by the Associate Vice President for Business and Finance.

Upon receipt and payment of equipment, the Foundation notifies the Property Control Supervisor in writing. The equipment is added to inventory in the method described in "Responsibility of Property Control Office," Section III.
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VI.  Donation of Equipment to University

Donation of equipment to the University is through the ETSU Foundation as described by current TBR policy, and is added to University inventory and listed as part of the inventory of the department designated by the Associate Vice President for Business and Finance.

Upon receipt of donated equipment, the Foundation notifies the Property Control Supervisor in writing.  The notification should include a description of the item, the department location, and the value of the item and other pertinent information.  The Property Control Supervisor adds the equipment to the University inventory as described in Section III.
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VII.  Grants and Contracts

Grants and contracts to the University are awarded in three categories:

1.  Federal
2.  State
3.  Private

Equipment purchased from grant funds will be identified with ETSU property control tags and inventoried.  Title to and final disposition of equipment purchased from grant funds may vary depending upon the terms of the grant.  The source of funds will be identified as part of the equipment inventory record.
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VIII. Disposal of University Property

University property may be disposed only when it becomes obsolete, is beyond repair, or is too expensive to maintain.  Disposal is handled by one of the following methods:


Items may be used as a trade-in when purchasing new equipment of a similar type.

On a departmental requisition, the property to be traded-in is to be listed as a separate item in a space directly below the specifications for the new equipment.  Trade-in information should include a brief but detailed description of the item, including model and serial number, and the ETSU property control number.

The Property Control Supervisor will remove trade-in equipment from the department inventory at the time the new equipment is added to the department inventory.


Surplus property is property that is:

1. In excess of the present and expected needs of a department.

2. Not satisfactory for further use within the department.

A memorandum requesting property be declared as surplus is to be sent to the Property Control Supervisor. The department is responsible for the storage and safekeeping of the property until it is picked up from the department. Equipment and sensitive items are removed from the university inventory upon pickup from the department.  Surplus property, which is no longer useful to the University, shall be disposed of in a manner as prescribed by current TBR policy 4:02:20:00, section 9, "Disposal of Surplus Personal Property".


Old or worn-out equipment may be declared as scrap and may be stripped of usable parts (cannibalized) to maintain other departmental equipment or for other department needs.  Written notification of cannibalization or declaration of scrap must be sent by the department head to the Property Control Supervisor, who will remove the equipment from the department inventory and will arrange for the scrap to be picked-up and disposed of as prescribed by current TBR policy 4:02:20:00.
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IX. Transfer

Equipment may be transferred between departments by filing a completed ETSU Equipment Inventory Change/Deletion Request with the Property Control Supervisor.  Transfer of equipment requires only the approval of the two department heads and does not involve a transfer of funds.

Upon receipt of the Equipment Inventory Change/Deletion Request, the Property Control Supervisor will delete the equipment from the inventory of the transferring department and add it to the inventory of the receiving department.  

Equipment may be transferred to other institutions and schools within the Tennessee Board of Regents system per TBR policy 4:02:20:00, Section 5, "Transfer to System Institutions and Schools". 

Physical transfer of the equipment is the responsibility of the receiving department; however, departments may request assistance from the Physical Plant to move large and/or heavy articles.
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X. Lost, Stolen, or Missing Equipment

Lost, stolen or missing equipment is to be reported immediately upon discovery to the Associate Vice President for Business & Finance by completing a "Missing Equipment Control Form". The Property Control Supervisor will distribute copies of the form to the Director of Public Safety, and Internal Audit.

Reports of all missing equipment should contain sufficient information to allow all personnel to file reports and perform necessary investigations.  Information should include, but not be limited to, the following:

1.   Description of equipment and all identification numbers.
2.   Building and room location.
3.   When last used or seen.
4.   When discovered missing.
5.   What provisions were taken to protect item from theft of loss.

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XI. Random Check of Inventory

Federal and state regulations require independent, periodic physical inventory of equipment.  Unannounced random checks of departmental inventories may be performed at any time by Federal Audit, State Audit, and Internal Audit divisions.
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XII. Repairs to Equipment

All requests for repairs to University equipment are to be submitted to the Purchasing Department on a departmental requisition.  The requisition should include the following information about the item:

1. The make, model, ETSU property control number, and if applicable, the serial number.

2. Symptoms and/or apparent problem.

3. Estimated repair cost or maximum funds to be spent on repairs.

4. Suggested vendor.

Unless the requesting department has already obtained a firm repair price from a reliable source, a purchase order will be issued to a vendor for an estimate of repair.  If the estimate is reasonable, the order will be amended authorizing the vendor to proceed with necessary repairs.  If the expense is not justified, the order will be canceled.

Equipment which requires repairs be made off campus must be processed through the Central Receiving Warehouse, where complete records of all outgoing and return shipments are to be maintained. The vendor (original) copy of the purchase order will be sent to the requesting department so that it may be included with the outgoing shipment to the vendor.  The Property Control Supervisor should be notified, in advance, if the nature of the property requires special crating or shipping precautions.  All shipping costs are normally the responsibility of the requesting department.
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Original effective date: February 14, 1985
Revised: March 1, 1993, October 3, 2001, February 8, 2002, August 5, 2003
Last review: August 5, 2003

Web page last updated 09/21/04

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