Property Control

The Property Control Department is responsible for:

  • Tagging newly acquired capital equipment with an identification number (property control number) unique to the University and then recording the item in the property control system at cost.
  • Overseeing and conducting spot checks of annual physical inventories of all capital equipment.
  • Maintaining accurate records of capital equipment with all pertinent information such as location, acquisition date and value, and betterments or upgrades.
  • Assist in passing annual audits, including those conducted by the Auditor General's Office and the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR).

The University's fixed assets are initially recorded at cost. "Cost" includes all normal and necessary expenses incurred to make the asset ready for its intended use. These ancillary costs include, but are not limited to: freight charges, sales/use taxes, installation, assembly and testing charges.

All assets with an original acquisition cost of $5000.00 or more, all Tablets must be physically tagged or otherwise identified as University property and the assigned NAU identification number recorded on the fixed asset inventory master.  The NAU inventory master provides the following asset information for all tagged assets (either capital or non-capital): original acquisition cost, net value, funding source, purchasing document number, date of acquisition and/or disposal, present location, serial and model number (if applicable), useful life, last inventory date, and vendor.

Sales/use tax, freight, and installation costs associated with any capital purchase are considered part of the value of the equipment.


The following Capital and Non-Capital assets must be tagged with a NAU Asset # 

Capital assets that meet the following criteria must be tagged with a NAU Asset #

Contact Property Administration once you have received a capital item.

Use the correct Capital PeopleSoft Account 

  • Individual items that have a value of $5000.00 or more
  • Vehicles that have a value of $5000.00 or more
  • Intangible Assets – See CMP 140 

Non-Capital assets are as follows.
Do not use a Capital PeopleSoft Account 

  • All Tablets must be tagged with a NAU Asset #
  • Vehicles less than $5000.00 are non-capital but must be tagged with a NAU Asset #
  • See Property Administration’s website for directions on tagging.

All Non-Capital computers (<5000.00) will be tagged and managed by ITS, for more information contact 

At the department’s request, Property Administration can also tag items that do not fall into the above category if a purchasing document is supplied ( e.g. cameras, projectors and items that can easily walk away.) 


When property is donated to the University (gift-in-kind)

The department acquiring the gift acquires all documentation transferring title of the equipment to the university. Completes a "gift in kind" report and obtains the required signatures accepting the equipment on behalf of the University (Vice President, Provost). Submits a copy of the "gift in kind" form to Property Administration (Contact the Northern Arizona University Foundation at 523-2012 for the gift in kind report.


University owned vehicles

When a vehicle is purchased with state or local funds it must be tagged and added to the asset system. All pertinent information related to University vehicles, including the original vehicle title, is maintained in the Property Administration office. For other information on University vehicles, please contact the NAU Transportation Service Center at 523-2469.


Other expenditures and changes relating to capital equipment



Expenditures for maintenance are those required to maintain equipment in good working condition. Repairs are those expenditures required to bring equipment back into good working condition. Neither expenditure extends the intended useful life or changes the intended purpose of the asset. Therefore, costs incurred for maintenance and repairs are not capitalized. Floor and wall covering replacements (e.g., carpet, floor tile, and wallpaper) are considered maintenance and repairs, except when done in conjunction with a remodeling project.



Betterments are capitalized if they meet the minimum requirements for capitalization ($5,000.00). Alterations made solely for cosmetic purposes are not capitalized.


Replacement parts

Replacement parts generally do not increase the value and/or intended useful life of an asset. Therefore, replacement parts are generally not capitalized. However, if a significant increase in value or useful life is provided through a replacement, the guidelines for betterments are to be followed.



Before a department trades a University asset for a new piece of equipment, approval must be obtained from Property Control (523-6391). A PCA form must be completed for the asset number of the item being traded in, identifying the vendor and providing the quote with the trade in price prior to initiating a requisition, so the appropriate records can be updated.


Personally owned equipment

NAU accepts no responsibility for personally owned equipment lost or stolen at NAU. Individuals who have personally owned equipment on campus should take the following precautions to avoid the possibility of its being mistaken for NAU equipment: 
Mark the equipment for identification of ownership. 
Provide the department head with a list of personally owned equipment. 
Should confusion arise, proof of ownership rests with the individual, not NAU.


Relocating equipment within a department or between departments

If Capital equipment, Tablets or NAU Tagged Non-Capital assets are transferred between departments, a PCA form must be completed in order to change location and the transfer of custody to the acquiring department. 
Transfers of NAU property between departments require two signatures, one from the releasing department and one from the receiving. (Please include phone numbers too). The Speedchart number and Building/Location that it is being transferred to must be noted on the PCA form. The individuals who sign the PCA can be whoever is designated to do so by the departments completing the transfer.


Home use of university equipment 

NAU equipment may be removed from University premises for official University business only, not for personal use. There are no exceptions. Pre-approval must be obtained before the equipment leaves Campus by completing an Approval for Home Use of University Equipment form (PDF file). Off-campus loans cover a time period of a two week minimum to a maximum of one year. If property on loan is required for use in excess of the one year maximum, the loan must be renewed before the loan period expires. In this instance (for loan renewals), please use the same form above and circle the appropriate box on the form denoting a loan renewal.


Assets located at remote, off-site locations and facilities

Some assets are located at NAU affiliated sites off-campus. This situation treated differently than an off-campus loan of equipment to an individual.

When newly acquired assets are to be used at an off-site NAU location, the asset is to be tagged prior to leaving campus and all appropriate information recorded, including the address of where the asset is to be located and a contact person for further information. If an asset has been delivered to an off-campus site before it has been tagged, the "responsible person" listed on the requisition will be contacted for the name, address, phone number of the remote site, and the make, model and serial number. An NAU ID tag will then be issued to those in custody of the asset to affix to the item. A letter will be sent with the tag. The department must sign and return the letter to Property Administration verifying that the equipment was tagged and the information is correct. When an asset is to be relocated to an off-site location (from campus) a PCA form should be completed showing the new location. Items located at off-site locations are included on the department's asset inventory list along with the assets located on campus.


Disposal of university equipment

Any and all property in the University’s custody, whether titled to the University or not, and regardless of the funds used to acquire it, is University property and can only be disposed of properly through Property Surplus.

Under no circumstances shall a department or individual give away University property. A University employee, who improperly disposes of, donates, loans, cannibalizes, sells, or gifts University property is subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.
Please contact Property Surplus at 523-4163, for further information on disposal policies. 


Equipment missing, stolen or destroyed 

Each department must report lost, stolen, or destroyed property to Property Administration within ten (10) days after discovery of the loss. Property Administration shall record the loss and assist the department by providing information for police reports or insurance claims through Risk Management.

Missing – If an asset cannot be located a PCA form must be completed. Check the "missing" box on the PCA form and list all missing items. The department Dean/Director and the Provost/Vice President must sign the PCA. Property Administration will then delete these items from the Fixed Asset Inventory Master. (Assets must be missing for a minimum of two (2) years before they can be deleted from the master list.)

Stolen - The department must file a report to the NAU Police Department. The department shall also notify the Risk Management. The department shall then complete a PCA form so that the asset can be removed from the fixed asset system. The Director’s signature is required on the PCA form and the police report number.

Impaired - A capital asset is considered impaired when its service utility has declined significantly and unexpectedly. Such events or changes in circumstances that may be indicative of impairment include evidence of physical damage, 
enactment or approval of laws or regulations or other changes in 
environmental factors, technological changes or evidence of obsolescence, 
changes in the manner or duration of use of a capital asset, and 
construction stoppage. A capital asset generally should be considered 
impaired if both (a) the decline in service utility of the capital asset is 
large in magnitude and (b) the event or change in circumstance is outside 
the normal life cycle of the capital asset.

Destroyed - When assets are unintentionally destroyed due to fire, flood, human error, etc., a PCA form must be completed by the department. If the asset has been intentionally destroyed due to vandalism or criminal activity, then a police report is required and a PCA form. The only exception to the requirement for a police report is for vehicles damaged in a traffic accident.  If the destruction will be claimed against the University's insurance, the department shall also notify the Risk Management.

Cannibalized - When obsolete equipment is utilized as a source of parts for other similar units you must contact Property Administration prior to cannibalizing the equipment.  A PCA form must be filled out with Dean/Director signature and forwarded to Property Administration. 


Retention of university assets records

The Property Control department will retain all documentation supporting the physical inventory of all University assets. 
Asset records are retained by Property Control for the periods stated on the State of Arizona Records Retention and Disposition Schedule. All fixed asset records and other pertinent records shall be retained for a minimum of three (3) years beyond the asset's disposal date in accordance with records retention guidelines and schedules approved by the Department of Library, Archives, and Public Records.



Asset - Any item of real property or capital equipment.

Betterments - Improvements, changes, or additions which extend the useful life of an asset, increase the asset's efficiency, or change the asset's intended use.

Cannibalization - The act of disassembling or dismantling equipment to the point of making the equipment unable to perform its intended use.

Capital Equipment - Capital equipment is defined as an acquisition costing $5,000.00 or more with a projected lifetime of one (1) or more years.

Depreciation - Recognition of a tangible capital assets' deterioration or devaluation over the period of its projected physical utility.

Donated Property - Property provided by an outside party to NAU; title to the property passes to the University at essentially no cost.

Gifts - Gifts and bequests are recorded at the fair market value at the date of the gift.

Inventorial Equipment - Capital or Non-Capital equipment that has been assigned an NAU ID# and any other equipment designated by a sponsor for inventory.

Lease - An agreement for the right to use property for a specified period at a specified cost. Title remains with the lessor, but is considered NAU property and assigned an NAU property control number/tag for tracking purposes.

Lease/Purchase - An agreement for the right to use property for a specified period at a specified cost. At the end of the lease period, the lessee has the option of purchasing the property at a specified amount. Title to the property remains with the lessor until the lessee exercises the option to purchase.

PCA - Property Control Authorization form.

Surplus property - Property not needed by a department within the university. Surplus property includes all excess items, equipment and materials other than items that would be typically disposed of as waste or recycled.

Tag - To affix an NAU property control number on a piece of equipment.

Trade-In - The fair market value of equipment used as a trade-in to acquire new equipment is included in the cost of the new equipment.