Published: March 1, 2021

Last March, due to COVID-19 campus protocols, the university suspended the inventorying of capital equipment. Capital equipment items are valued at $5,000 or more with a useful life of more than one year. Beginning this March, the inventory of capital equipment will restart with modifications in place to handle the current work-from-home circumstances and occasional campus access.

The Campus Controller’s Office worked with a focus group of departmental staff, property managers and other higher education institutions in the state to develop recommendations for completing capital equipment inventory during this COVID-ready campus period of operation. 

Plans for the upcoming inventory cycle

Tapping into feedback and insight from stakeholders who represent 70% of all capital tags on the CU Boulder campus, CCO has developed the following recommendations to proceed with capital equipment inventorying:

  • Begin the inventorying process for all departments scheduled for FY21
  • Extend the time to complete an inventory to June 15, 2021 
  • Focus on high priority/high risk items for physical verification
  • Physically verify any other items as proximity allows
  • Certify as known to be in our possession, but due to time/staffing constraints cannot be verified physically
  • Circle back next fall for the “certified items” once lab staffing returns to normal

CCO aims to inventory around 80% of capital equipment on campus by June 30, 2021. The inventory system will track items that need to be verified and, as campus access increases, we intend to inventory 100% of capital equipment by December 2021.

Why does the university inventory capital equipment?

The university is required by state and sponsor agreements to perform biennial inventories of capital equipment. There are also practical reasons for completing an inventory:

  • To monitor investments: The 13,086 tagged items of capital equipment account for $346,240,538 in campus investments.
  • To track movement: Historically, one third of tagged items either move, transfer or are surplused within the two years between inventories.
  • To provide accurate data during an F&A base year: July 2021 starts the base year for F&A negotiations (also known as our overhead rate on grants and contracts). The accuracy of our inventory database is important to the negotiations. For example, research equipment is located in a lab and not in an administrative office where it may have been delivered. Spot inventories are completed for accuracy during the F&A negotiation period and if errors are found, they are extrapolated across the campus.

Your effort and collaboration is appreciated

Our staff appreciates your efforts to accomplish this task and is ready to assist physically as needed. We understand that COVID-19 concerns will disrupt the process and we have provided tools to assist in the completion, such as certifying equipment is present from a list of items. We are trying to balance safety with established requirements due to contracts, grants and loaner agreements.

If you have questions, please contact: Greg Roers, Campus Controller’s Office, Debt and Asset Manager