Accounting for Business Assets

Our mission is to ensure the ongoing fiscal integrity of the University through the effective management of all of its Fixed Assets (Land, Buildings, Infrastructure, Equipment, Vehicles, Software, Library Books, etc.) policies.  This includes the review and analysis of capital building projects, the capitalizing of all University Fixed Assets, the maintaining of an accurate Fixed Assets System, and the conducting of inventory audits.  The Fixed Assets Accounting Group is responsible for providing financial reporting to the University, the Commonwealth, and other regional and national agencies, including federal sponsors such as NASA and the Department of Defense.  We are also responsible for administering the Equipment Trust Fund.

Watch:  Understanding Fixed Assets at UVA (Video)


Defining Fixed Assets

Characteristics of fixed assets include:

  • Tangible property having an individual cost equal to or greater than the necessary threshold (dependent upon the type of asset)
  • Cost of the asset depreciated over its useful life
  • Capital Leases and Leasehold improvements
  • Gift donations provided the gifted item meets a necessary threshold
  • Assets used in the day-to-day operations (education, administration, and research) of the University but are not consumed during normal operations (i.e., like supplies)
  • Assets capitalized in UVA's financial books
  • A useful life of greater than 1 year



Land:  Acquisitions and gifts of parcels of real property are capitalized regardless of value and considered non-depreciable assets because land typically holds its value unless depleted such as in a land-mining operation.

Buildings:  Permanent roofed structures which are suitable facilities for people, animals, vegetation or equipment which meet the capital threshold of $250,000. This would include both the construction and/or purchase of new buildings.

Equipment:  Capital equipment is personal tangible property with an individual threshold cost of $5,000 consisting of any or ALL of the following: 1) the purchase cost, 2) freight cost, 3) installation cost and 4) the cost of internal software (excluding yearly licenses) required to operate the equipment (provided it comes along with the equipment). Costs which are NOT allowed as part of the capital equipment are: 1) Other software applications which may run on the equipment 2) Equipment maintenance or service contract costs, 3) Cost of equipment training (on-site or off-site). Note: No sales tax should be charged to UVA for any equipment purchases as the University is tax-exempt. 

Major Software:  Includes both externally purchased software, software upgrades as well as internally developed software with a minimum threshold cost of $250,000.

Physical Inventory Process


The Fixed Assets Equipment Physical Inventory Process is conducted annually and includes both: 

1) Self-Audits performed by the orgs (departments) for those buildings having less than 25 assets or where certain labs/rooms are inaccessible

2) equipment scanning performed by the Fixed Assets Accounting (FAA) Group.

  • Upon completion of the Self-Audits and scanning operation, “Not Found” reports reflecting unaccounted for equipment assets are sent by the FAA Group to each org for its review/corrections to be submitted to FAA.
  • All inventory changes or corrections are reviewed and processed into the Fixed Assets Sub-Ledger Module by FAA
  • “Final Inventory Certification” reports, summarizing missing equipment assets, are sent to the org chairs by FAA which require their signatures to finalize the inventorying process. 
  • Equipment assets deemed "missing" for two consecutive inventory cycles will be written-off in the subsequent fiscal year and removed from the Fixed Assets sub-ledger system. 

NOTE:  Special emphasis is placed upon sponsor or Government-owned equipment which requires FAA to physically inventory all such equipment on an annual basis

Equipment Coordinators

Collaboration between the Fixed Assets Accounting Group and Equipment Coordinators is essential.  The role of an Equipment Coordinator includes duties such as:


Providing the Fixed Assets Accounting Group with information for ALL equipment-related activity including when:

  • Equipment location has permanently changed;
  • Equipment has been assigned an off-grounds location;
  • Equipment is missing; or
  • Equipment has been disposed of or destroyed.

Reviewing equipment inventory reports to ensure their organization has properly accounted for all equipment.

Staying up-to-date on and adhering to equipment policies and procedures.

Requirements for Equipment Changes


A P-1 form is only required for equipment to be scrapped, cannibalized, or being traded-in, or has been lost or stolen. It is not required for equipment being surplused through Facility Management’s Surplus Property process. 

P1 Form - Equipment Inventory Disposal Request


Equipment transfer should be a permanent transfer.  ("Permanent" means minimum of 6 months.) 

P3 Form - Equipment Inventory Internal Transfer Request


Equipment which is maintained or transferred to an off-grounds location. 

P2 Form - Off-Grounds Capital Equipment Certification


Letter of Request (See sample letter link - follow procedure listed below)

P1 Form - Equipment Inventory Disposal Request

Location & Responsible Person changes/corrections /updates are done via email and should be sent to: (no form needed). 



Equipment Trust Fund

The Higher Education Equipment Trust Fund (ETF) was established by the General Assembly to meet a need for new or updated equipment for various educational and general programs in Virginia institutions of higher education. The State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV) and the Virginia College Building Authority (VCBA) administer the ETF Program. SCHEV and VCBA sell bonds to raise the funding for this program. As a recipient of this funding, the University is obligated to meet certain legal requirements associated with this fund, as established by SCHEV and VCBA. The Office of Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A) and UVA Fixed Assets Accounting coordinate all ETF-related activity for the University of Virginia.

ETF Equipment Qualifications

Eligibility requirements for equipment to qualify for ETF:


Cost greater than $5,000;

Must be new equipment;

Should have a useful life equal to or greater than the 7 year bond period (Exceptions are laptops & desktop computers/scanners/monitors/peripherals/iPads/tablets which typically have a 3 year life);

Title must belong to UVA (if sponsor funds are involved); and

Standalone functional item or an essential integral component of larger UVA-owned capital equipment system.

ETF Equipment Exclusions

Certain types of equipment are excluded:


  • Library books, materials, and shelving
  • Microfilm collections and materials
  • Software for microcomputers
  • Office Equipment
  • Transportation Equipment
  • Desks, chairs, and tables

Equipment normally affixed to a building, or functional as a part of an operating system of a building.  Examples include:

  • Used equipment
  • Climate control and security systems
  • General telecommunications equipment, except that are required for approved programs, related courses, or research activities
  • Buildings
  • Fabrications
Uses of ETF Equipment

ETF equipment can only be purchased for the following:


  • Instruction
  • Research, other than sponsored
  • Academic Support
  • Student Services
  • Institutional Support
  • Sponsored Program Research
Split-Funded Equipment

If a school would like to split-fund equipment between ETF funds and sponsored programs from federal agencies there are two essential requirements:

Sponsoring federal agencies must grant title to any equipment being purchased with their funds to UVA as the award recipient immediately upon purchase and must not have any stipulations or restrictions regarding future dispositions of that funded equipment. This avoids any conflict with title to the equipment as the Virginia College Building Authority (VCBA) retains title on all ETF equipment purchases until the 7 year bond or lease period is complete.

If split-funding includes sponsored programs, the code SCHEV “110” must be assigned and federal agency funding portion must be 50% or greater of the total ETF purchase.


Note: The federal agency often retains the right to transfer the equipment at the end of the sponsored program. If the agency exercises its right, the department that purchased the equipment with federal sponsored program funds must replace the affected ETF equipment with a valued item equal to the net book value of the equipment, so as not to violate the terms of the VCBA lease agreement.

Procurement Guidelines for ETF Equipment

Adhere to these guidelines when making ETF Purchases:

  • Ensure that ETF purchase will comply with SCHEV rules prior to beginning the procurement process
  • Start long-lead or expensive (> $50,000) items early
  • Purchases cannot have pre-payment using ETF Funding
  • Equipment costs may include freight and installation
  • Purchases must have "FOB Destination" listed for shipping and freight charges so that title transfers in Virginia
  • Purchases cannot include additional warranties, training, or service contracts that use ETF Funding
  • Provide updated quotes when submitting orders
    • Expired quotes will slow down the process

Considerations for Purchase Requisitions:

  • Does the item(s) qualify as capital?
  • Is the ETF Priority Number included in the "Reference" field?
  • Is the price within 130% of the Wish-List price?
  • Is the equipment description the same as the Wish-List?
  • Is the Requisition approved by the School's ETF Coordinator?
  • Does the Requisition use the correct SE-award?
  • Is the Responsible Person and Location (Building and Room Number) at the top or in the comments field?

Additional Purchase Requisition Guidelines:

  • Include justification/explanation on the Requisition if multiple are involved for buying a system.
  • Avoid placing a Requisition with multiple ETF Priority Numbers if it involves multiple line items which are not applicable to all ETF numbers or easily assignable to singular ETF Numbers
  • Charge penny amounts to non-capital and non-ETF
  • Only one ETF Number per Purchase Order for CDW vendor orders (partial delivery/invoicing)
Controlling ETF Items

Terms of the ETF program require the University to exercise a high degree of control over ETF equipment. All ETF items are owned by the Virginia College Building Authority (VCBA), a State agency until the applicable bond is satisfied and full title is granted to UVA. Until that title is granted the ETF asset is considered to be “Active” (owned by VCBA).

Organizations must adhere to the following guidelines in controlling all equipment purchased through the Equipment Trust Fund:

  • All ETF asset tags will begin with the letter "E" (for UVA) and "CE" (for UVA Wise).
  • ETF equipment is expected to be used on-Grounds.
  • If off-grounds use is required, Fixed Assets must be notified and an “Off-Grounds Certification" request submitted and approved by Fixed Assets.
  • New ETF equipment must first be tagged by Fixed Assets to insure proper identification and internal control before relocating to an off-campus location.
  • If an ETF asset is being drop-shipped from the vendor to an off-grounds location, the Fixed Assets Accounting Group must be notified and special arrangements made for affixing ETF asset tags prior to being shipped.
  • If an ETF asset needs to go out of the country, this requires both notification to Fixed Assets and to Export Control for their collective approval.
  • Each ETF tagged equipment must maintain its original integrity as a functional unit.  Components of ETF functional units shall not be interchanged with any functional units.
  • The organization purchasing the ETF equipment is responsible for its maintenance and inventory control.

Important Notes:


“Active” ETF items cannot be cannibalized or disposed of in any manner (sold, traded-in, etc). If disposal of an “active” ETF item becomes necessary, please contact us via

If an “active” ETF item is ever lost, damaged, stolen, returned for credit or replaced (tagged or not tagged), etc., let us know via as “missing” ETF equipment must be replaced by the responsible org with non-ETF funding.

Related Policies and Resources

State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV)

Higher Education Equipment Trust Fund

Virginia College Building Authority (VCBA)

Related Finance Policies


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If you need assistance or have questions please reach out to UVAFinance

(434) 924-3400