Asset Management Policies and Procedures


The purpose of Asset Management is to maintain accurate records of physical assets whose value and useful life meet the definition for capital assets. This document establishes University procedures to ensure compliance with government regulations, accounting industry standards and to ensure accurate reporting of physical assets.

Types of Equipment

SMU Capital Assets

Capital assets are items that have a useful life of at least two years and a value of $5,000 or greater, except software greater than $75,000 that will be tracked. These fixed assets are permanent in nature, tangible, and owned by SMU. This category includes the Grant Assets. Assets meeting the above criteria will be recorded by Asset Management and depreciated over their useful life. In addition, Asset Management will attach an SMU bar code tag to the above items. The bar code will enable Asset Management to use a bar code scanner to accurately and efficiently inventory all capital assets.

Federally Owned Capital Assets

Assets purchased with federal grant funds must be tracked and tagged in accordance with federal requirements. All federal government assets must be tagged with an SMU bar tag and a federal tag labeled "US Government". These federal government assets are controlled assets which SMU is required to track until the University contract expires and appropriate government approvals support the transfer or disposal of assets.  These assets are permanent in nature and tangible with a useful life of at least two years.  The minimum capital limit is determined by SMU's capitalization policy at the time the contract is negotiated.

Note: Refer to the Government and Grant Policies on the SMU web site for more information on the Grant process and related forms.

Purchasing a Capital Asset

The following steps are provided as a guideline for purchasing a capital asset.

  1. The Capital Budget is developed annually. After gathering inputs from their respective organizations, Financial Officers (FO) will plan and request funding for future projected asset needs. These requests are submitted to the Budget Director. Capital acquisitions should be charged to the budget org or other funding org (e.g. plant fund) using the Account categories for capital assets defined in this document. For Grant Assets, Principal Investigators (PI) negotiate asset funding as part of the contract process. Both Principal Investigators and Financial Officers and their respective organizations are responsible for staying within approved fixed asset budgets. 
  2. The requesting department orders the asset by completing a purchase requisition. The purchase requisition must include the proposed final location of the equipment after delivery including building, floor, room #, external mailing address if off campus site, the name of the individual responsible for the equipment after purchase including phone # and email, department organization name, fund #, account #, organization #, project or subclass if applicable, manufacturer, date ordered, part or model #, serial #, quantity ordered, description of asset, and estimated cost or prices as indicated on the purchase requisition. The requesting department should send the purchase requisition to the FO for approval and processing.
  3. The FO ensures the expenditures are properly authorized and appropriate before forwarding to Asset Management. Note: Requests for unbudgeted capital or amortization funding of assets over multiple years must be approved by the Financial Officer and Controller. 
  4. Asset Management will verify correct FO account coding on the Purchase Requisition and verify FO reviewed. In addition, Asset Management will begin to set up the PeopleSoft Profile ID information (accounting category/depreciation life attributes in Asset Management) for capitalizable assets. Asset Management will forward the purchase requisition to Purchasing to create the Purchase Order and order the asset. 
  5. Purchasing will ensure that all data fields outlined in item # 1 are completed in the purchase requisition. Purchasing will work with the Financial Officer, the requestor, requestor manager or with a designated staff specialist responsible for applicable account type to complete all fields prior to ordering the asset. The Purchasing Department is responsible for researching the best price and verifying the correct supplier ordering information on the PO. Purchasing will send a completed purchase order to the vendor with a copy to Asset Management. 
  6. After the asset is ordered and received and before processing the invoice for payment, the requesting department or requesting organizations will verify items ordered match PO, fill out the Accounts Payable voucher and send it with the invoice and a copy of the PO to Accounts Payable for payment. The information on the voucher must match the fund, org, account, project and subclass from the purchase order. "Same as PO" can be written on the voucher for fund, org, account, project and subclass information only if the order is complete or if there is only one fund, org, account, project and subclass on the purchase order. The PO number must be included on the voucher information ticket. Note: Capital Projects that require additional tracking must also include Project #'s to ensure all capital computer equipment or equipment is tracked and tagged properly. 
  7. Accounts Payable processes the invoice, the voucher and all appropriate PO information to process payment. 
  8. After the invoice, voucher, PO information and payment is made, Asset Management assigns tag numbers for all capital assets or assigns responsibility to tag assets for capital assets to designated representatives as appropriate. When assets are ordered from remote sites or ITS organizations, Asset Management will supply the designated representatives tags to match the number of assets on the Purchase Order. These remote sites or ITS organizations will apply the tags directly and notify Asset Management when bar tags are applied. As a guideline, the bar tag should be applied on the front right bottom corner for consistency. 
  9. Departments disposing or transferring assets to other locations must complete the SMU Transfer/Disposal form for capital assets and submit to Asset Management with a copy to their Financial Officer. Asset Management is generally responsible for tagging assets. However, ITS, SEAS, and Cox are responsible for computer equipment they order and remote sites are responsible for all equipment. The Transfer/Disposal form is filed in Asset Management to support changes to the Asset Management records and general ledger.

Account Categories for Capital Assets

The following accounts are to be used when purchasing a capital asset: 

8200 - Land

8201 - Land Improvements; including outdoor courts and fields, parking lots, surfaces, tunnels, seating/grandstands, and utilities.

8210 - Buildings; Including campus buildings, rental units, and portable buildings. 

8220 - Equipment; Including furniture (desks, chairs, cabinets, tables, and beds), office equipment (fax machines, copiers), audio/video equipment, exercise equipment, appliances, and other equipment. 

8225 - Computer Equipment; Including computer systems, computers, and laser printers, scanners, and software with a value greater than $75,000. 

8230 - Vehicles 

8240 - Grant Equipment (SMU owned) 

8241 - Grant Equipment (Construction in progress, SMU owned) 

8245 - Grant Equipment (Government owned) 

8260 - Art; Including paintings, statues, sculptures, book collections, musical instruments, and antique furniture. 

8290 - Construction in Progress Account Categories for Non-Capital Assets 

Transfer or Disposal of Capital Assets

Transfer/Disposal Form

An asset transfer/disposal form must be completed when equipment is transferred to another department or another building. The original completed form must be sent to Asset Management with a copy to the FO or PI, in the case of Grant Assets. This information will allow Asset Management to keep accurate location records. The department initiating the move is responsible for completing and submitting location records on the form. If Purchasing is requested to move inventory into or out of surplus inventory, Purchasing is responsible for notifying the department of their responsibility to fill out the transfer/disposal form. Purchasing will also notify Asset Management.

The asset transfer/disposal form are also required for movement to offsite locations including  assets for home use. A full mailing address location and person responsible must be included on the transfer form to acknowledge responsibility for the off site asset.


The following steps are required for disposal of all equipment with a bar code tag attached:

  1. Contact the Purchasing Department for the removal of the non-computer equipment or ITS/User services for removal of computer equipment. Purchasing will require the description, quantity, location, and condition of the items. Please see policy number 12.7 in the Southern Methodist University Policies and Procedures web site for the Purchasing Department's procedures for disposing equipment. 2. Fill out an asset transfer/disposal form referenced above. 3. Send the disposal form to Asset Management to remove the asset from the inventory list.

In no case will federal-owned equipment be sent to Purchasing as excess or scrapped. Use the Government Grants and Contract Property Procedure Guide located on the SMU web site for instructions on disposal of federally owned equipment.

Inventory Procedures

Asset Management will periodically provide capital equipment inventory reports to responsible individuals.

Asset Management will request responsible persons to review inventory reports to identify assets that may have been moved or scrapped but not reported through the transfer or disposal of capital asset procedures. These reports should be completed and returned to Asset Management. All capital equipment assets must be accounted for and explanations for discrepancies between the Asset Management records and the equipment located must accompany the reports returned. The list will also need to be updated with any tagged equipment that is not listed.

Grant and contract equipment to which the federal government still retains title will be inventoried every year. The responsible custodian of the equipment must explain any discrepancies. Any adjustments to federally owned equipment inventories will be reported to the federal awarding agency. All remaining grant inventory where SMU retains title and has a value greater than $5,000 will be inventoried every two years. 

Procurement Cards

Procurement cards cannot be used to purchase capital assets unless approved by the Procurement Card Office (214-768-3892) and Asset Management (214-768-2014).  A separate PO must support every purchase and be reconciled for receipt and payment as outlined in this document. Procedures to properly account for exceptions must be established prior to allowing exceptions (e.g. need reconciliation of procurement card purchases to assets ordered on purchase orders).