A department's capitalized inventory is the furnishings and equipment they use to carry out their own mission. These items are usually purchased with departmental funds, but may also have been acquired by transfer from another department or state agency, or, by donor gift. Capitalized inventory items are non-consumable, so they will have at least a one-year useful life and a purchase price of $5,000 or more. (Click here for a list of controlled items that are exceptions to this general description of inventory items).
Jennifer Murphy, Assistant Director of Accounting and Purchasing Services (APS), is U.T. System's Property Manager. All documents affecting U.T. System's inventory must carry her signature in order to be valid. APS coordinates all U.T. System inventory activity, so, all procedural questions regarding inventory should be directed to Becky Franklin at 499.4579.
Inventory accountability is the statutory responsibility of each agency head who will typically appoint a property manager. Accountability for U.T. System's inventory has been delegated to department heads who have been instructed to appoint an inventory contact to maintain department inventory records and documentation. The department contacts communicate their inventory issues to Becky Franklin, the U.T. System inventory coordinator. Annual inventory reconciliation will be performed at the department level. All items listed as missing, stolen, or otherwise not found must be explained in the reconciliation process. Missing and stolen scenarios will be reviewed by the State Audit Office to determine whether department neglect or carelessness contributed to the loss. The SAO finding will determine whether the situation is closed or if it is sent to the Attorney General's Office for further action. These reviews will be looking closely at what measures a department has taken to try to find or recover the items, and, what safety measures are in place to prevent such losses.
These procedures place an emphasis on responsibility and accountability on each employee for the state property for which they have been entrusted. Everyone must take this responsibility seriously in order for our agency to maintain a strong record of accountability with the State of Texas.
Purchased items are flagged to be tagged by the payment process. This flag is automatically generated by the object code used on the payment document. All items with a unit purchase price of $5,000 or more and a useful life of greater than one year, will be tagged with a bar-coded property tag with a unique number. This tag should be placed in a location on the item that will provide efficient scanning at the time of annual reconciliation. An employee from APS, (or OTIS for computer equipment), will expedite the tagging process. This employee will place the tag on the equipment in a location that is consistent with other like equipment, and gather relevant information for the creation of an electronic record of the item (i.e. serial number, bldg/room number). The information will be forwarded to UT Austin, who sets up the records. If the purchase price of an item is less that $5,000 and does not fall in the controlled items category, the State does not require that it be tracked with a numbered tag. There are property tags, with no numbers, that have the University seal and name that should be used for these items. A blank property tag will clearly show ownership of the property and provide deterrent against theft.
Controlled Items are those items, under the capitalized cost of $5,000, that either the State Comptroller or our own agency requires us to account for, and report on, annually. With the exception of guns and rifles, controlled items will have a minimum purchase price of $500.
Inventory items are tracked primarily by their property tag numbers. APS maintains the electronic inventory records for all U.T. System departments, therefore, all communication and paperwork regarding an inventory item should be routed through that office for final approval. The electronic inventory record is a good source of information regarding an item (for example: serial number, purchase order number, account number of acquisition, department ownership, all previous owners of transferred items, purchase price, etc.) and is often helpful to identify items that have lost their property tags. APS can help with this type of electronic search.
Inventory items may be taken off the U.T. System premises upon completion of the Removal from U.T. System Premises form. This form identifies the employee requesting the authorization, a certification that the item will only be used for U.T. System business purposes, a signed recommendation of approval by the department head, and, final approval by the property manager.
Insurance is available for high risk inventory items that are taken off-site. The deductible on this insurance is $2,500 for most items and $1,500 for laptops so it is generally only requested for high value items like laptop/notebook computers. This insurance is requested by the department using the Removal from U.T. System Premises form. (It is now allowable to use state funds for this insurance.) For more information about the insurance you may contact Elsa Sanchez.
Moving the responsibility and ownership of inventory items from one department to another is made official by filling out a transfer form and forwarding it to APS with original signatures from both the transferring and receiving departments. Consistency with this activity is critical in maintaining accurate departmental records. Please be aware that ownership and responsibility remains with the transferring department until the receiving department has signed the transfer form.
It is considered good stewardship to utilize, within your agency, as much of the useful life of an item as possible before releasing it to surplus or any other entity.
When an inventory item becomes obsolete for use at U.T. System it is transferred to the Surplus Property division for appropriate disposal. This process requires that the transferring department prepare a transfer form assigning the item to Surplus. David Kruse, with Facility Services, is the only authorized signer to receive items to be surplused. Therefore, it is imperative that arrangements for surplus be made with him, to protect the security of the items, before the surplus truck picks them up and assumes ownership of them. Departments remain responsible for the items until David has signed for them.
Computers must be evaluated and formatted by OTIS before they can be removed for surplus. OTIS must document their services on your transfer form, so it’s important to have it prepared before you contact them to come to your department. (Calling or e-mailing the Help Desk is the most efficient method of request for services from OTIS). In the rare instance where OTIS determines that a computer should not be sent to surplus but rather has continued service-life for UT System, they will request that you change the receiving department on the form, from Surplus to OTIS. (If there are multiple items on the form, but not all of them should be surplussed, they will request that you scratch off the items not to be surplussed and put them on a separate form for transfer to OTIS.) When OTIS’ service is complete, contact David Kruse to remove the item(s) for surplus.
State law requires that each state agency perform an annual physical check of all of their inventory items. To comply with this requirement, U.T. System's Property Manager has delegated the annual reconciliation to each department's primary contact for inventory activity. The department inventory contact will handle the annual reconciliation process for their department, ensuring the accuracy of the data, timeliness of the process, and the return to APS of the required certification and documentation to complete the department's responsibilities for the activity. This annual event should occur for U.T. System each year between February and April. Detailed instructions and timelines are generally included in information packets provided to departments at the beginning of the annual process. The process includes a preliminary scanning of bar-coded items, for each department, by APS. Items not located in the scanning process must be reconciled by the department. The deadlines for completion of the entire annual process are staggered for departments from April 1 to May 1.
To declare an item stolen, the department must submit a copy of the police report to APS within 24 hours of filing the report. (If no police report is filed immediately upon determining that the item has been stolen, it can not carry the stolen designation; it will instead be considered missing). APS will submit the police report as support documentation for a Request for Removal from Inventory to U.T. Austin's Inventory Division. (U.T. Austin maintains U.T. System's inventory records on the Statewide Property Accounting system). The report will be reviewed and appropriate action will be taken.
An item should be declared missing by a department when they first become aware that they cannot find it. An item that is classified as missing will remain on the department's inventory for two years from the date that it was electronically stamped as missing. The two-year gap is a window of opportunity for the department to look for the item or for the item to resurface. Many items get labeled as missing during reconciliation, but turn up in other departments as items that they have possession of but are not on their list to acknowledge as found. When this occurs, APS notifies the department with the missing item so they can either retrieve their equipment or prepare appropriate transfer documentation.