Moveable Equipment Inventory Policy

Summary of Policy

This policy outlines the requirements for the tracking and physical inventory of moveable equipment in the Oracle Fixed Asset Module. This policy applies to moveable equipment having an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more and a useful life greater than one year.

The purpose of a physical inventory is to verify and document the existence, location, and condition of equipment and ensure the accuracy of Dartmouth accounting records. The Fixed Asset/Surplus Property Administrator must perform a biennial physical inventory of all moveable equipment. 

Reason for Policy

Dartmouth College has a responsibility to accurately record, maintain and account for assets under its stewardship. This policy addresses how Dartmouth College complies with government regulations and accounting industry standards, and how it supports accurate reporting of the physical assets used to conduct its mission.  As an institution of higher education that receives state funds, federal funds, other awards, and subawards used to conduct research, Dartmouth must meet administrative and documentation guidelines to support federal, state, and other regulatory requirements including the indirect cost proposal process. The requirements include keeping accurate equipment records with specified data and performance of a comprehensive biennial physical inventory of moveable equipment.

Affected Parties

All Groups

Policy Statement

Table of Contents

Scope: Who Should Know This Policy?

  • Controller's Office 
  • Custodian assigned responsibility for equipment
  • Financial and Fiscal Officers, staff of schools, divisions, departments, or centers
  • Office of Sponsored Projects and any individual managing grant funds
  • Procurement Services 

Responsibilities and Roles

  • All moveable equipment (including loaned moveable equipment) having an acquisition cost or market value of $5,000 or more and a useful life of more than one year must be recorded in the Oracle Fixed Asset Module and be tagged with an equipment number. This equipment will be tracked by physical location (Dartmouth campus building and room or off-site location country, state, building and/or room). This equipment will be assigned a useful life and will be depreciated for Federal Facilities and Administrative Cost Rate (F&A/indirect cost) reporting purposes over the life.
  • Departments/Divisions are responsible for assigning a custodian(s) who is responsible for assisting with identification, location, and tagging of new equipment, providing required information to the Fixed Asset/Surplus Property Administrator to perform a biennial inventory, record transfers, sales, relocations/departmental moves, and disposals of moveable equipment.
  • Accuracy of the information within the Oracle Fixed Assets Module depends on departments completing the appropriate form as outlined in the Property Plant and Equipment Policy or Property Disposition Policy, submitting forms to and notifying the Fixed Asset/Surplus Property Administrator. To maintain accurate inventory lists throughout the year, departments must notify the Fixed Asset/Surplus Property Administrator when changes occur.
  • The physical inventory process may reveal discrepancies between data recorded in the Oracle Fixed Asset Module and actual asset data. The Fixed Asset/Surplus Property Administrator will work with custodians, departments, principal investigators (PIs), or staff to reconcile any such discrepancies and update asset records.
  • If equipment is leaving Dartmouth property through sale, transfer, trade-in, return, gift or donation, recycling or scrap refer to the Property Disposition Policy (ID 024-0008) for specific guidelines and procedures. Due to legal considerations, computers have separate guidelines outlined in the Computer Transfer Policy (ID 024-0007).  

 Equipment Records and Inventory Process

  • Upon receipt of moveable equipment, departments and schools must track the location of equipment at Dartmouth or at an off-campus site. Departments and schools should maintain records of equipment that allow for locating the equipment in a reasonable amount of time. 
  • Required information for moveable equipment includes but is not limited to: PO and invoice number, make, model, serial number, physical location (building and architectural room number) of asset/equipment, description, vendor, Dartmouth Asset tag number (once received), end user PI/staff name, if export controlled, whether purchased with federal, state, and/or grant funds.
  • Dartmouth requires a full physical inventory every two years on all moveable equipment that has an original purchase price over $5,000 and a useful life greater than one year. Moveable equipment includes all moveable equipment/assets over $5,000 regardless of how acquired (including moveable equipment loaned to or leased by Dartmouth). It is the responsibility of the Fixed Asset/Surplus Property Administrator to perform these inventories with the assistance of the department-assigned custodian and to maintain all inventory and moveable equipment records within the Oracle Fixed Assets Module. 
  • The Fixed Asset/Surplus Property Administrator will supply departments and schools with current moveable equipment inventory lists in advance of physical inventory to verify the location, Dartmouth-assigned tag number, make, model, and serial number of the assets. For assets located at an off-campus location, custodians should initiate completion of the Off-campus Form and obtain the required signatures in compliance with audit procedures. 
  • The Fixed Asset/Surplus Property Administrator will schedule an on-site certification within two weeks of opening the inventory process. All documentation, site certification, and other relevant forms must be completed within the two-week inventory period. All inventory documentation will be uploaded and stored in the specific asset record within the Oracle Fixed Asset Module.

Tagging equipment  

  • To identify moveable equipment effectively, the Fixed Asset/Surplus Property Administrator, in collaboration with the department-assigned custodian, must affix Dartmouth-assigned uniquely numbered identification tags to moveable equipment. Tags and tag numbers facilitate Dartmouth's equipment inventory control by enabling individuals to match pieces of equipment to the associated information in the Oracle Fixed Assets Module, as required by federal regulations. If an item(s) cannot be physically tagged (e.g., too small, temperature-sensitive, or where the tag would interfere with use or operation), the Fixed Asset/Surplus Property Administrator will photograph the item(s) and collect additional information for identification and verification for audit purposes. These photographs and any information collected will be uploaded and stored in the specific asset record within the Oracle Fixed Assets Module.

Guidance for Specific Types of Moveable Equipment

  • Leased Equipment: The use of leased, loaned or demo equipment on campus is required to be communicated to Procurement Services and the Fixed Assets/Surplus Property Administrator ( for contract, insurance, and inventory purposes. Required data includes vendor, make, model, serial number, terms, condition, and contractual agreement. The Controller's Office – Financial Reporting must be notified of any lease so it can be properly classified and recorded in the financial system.
  • Software: Software is considered intangible property and is not considered moveable equipment under this policy. The value of pre-loaded software may be included in the cost of equipment recorded in the Oracle Fixed Asset Module when the cost of the software is not separately identified on the sales invoice.

 Exclusions / Exceptions 

  • Exceptions to this policy may be approved by the Fixed Asset/Surplus Property Administrator if circumstances justify an exception. Documentation of the approval is required.

Ramifications if policy is breached 

  • Breach of this policy has the potential to result in significant economic loss to Dartmouth because it could negatively impact the indirect cost proposal if all equipment is not accurately tracked. 
  • Risk and/or Internal Controls will be notified of infractions. 

Related Policies

Relevant Appendices of Policy ID 024-0001 Property, Plant and Equipment Policy

  • Appendix A Definitions 
  • Appendix B Useful Life and Depreciation
  • Appendix C Additional Guidance for Specific Types of Equipment (Audio Visual)  
  • Appendix E Property Plant and Equipment Thresholds
  • Appendix G Trade in and Credit Processing


Most relevant forms and instructions can be found on the Finance website under Forms, Policies, and Systems. 

Contacts for asset location and other changes for assistance filling out forms.

Policy ID


Effective Date

July 1, 2008

Last Revised Date

November 30, 2022


Finance & Administration

Office of Primary Responsibility


Last Reviewed Date

March 20, 2020

Next Review Date