12.30 Performing Physical Inventories

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To provide direction to University departments on the procedures and requirements for the physical inventory of University and sponsor owned property in their possession.


Powers and duties of the University President
ABOR Policy 3-801 and 3-802

Authority below applies ONLY to Federal Property (acquisition dollars or title):

  • Government Property, 48 C.F.R. § 45
  • Government Property, 48 C.F.R. § 52.245-1
  • Government Property, 48 C.F.R. § 245
  • Government Property, 48 C.F.R. § 1852.245
  • Uniform Guidance, 2 C.F.R. § 200

POLICY:  University capital and sponsor owned moveable equipment shall be inventoried every two years to ensure that adequate care is being used in the management and accountability of University resources. These physical inventories shall be initiated and coordinated by Property Management. The physical inventories shall be directed and performed by custodial department staff. If the departmental property listing includes items in the possession of a subcontractor, the principal investigator is responsible for obtaining verification of the physical existence of the property from the subcontractor. The departmental personnel who perform the physical inventories shall not be the same individuals who have custody of the property.

The timely completion of the property inventory is a University priority. Departments will have 60 days to conduct the physical inventory and return the inventory schedule to Property Management. Reports are required to be submitted by Financial Services to University management on those departments not returning the completed physical inventories within the time frames. The failure to complete timely physical inventories is a subject for a negative government audit finding and disapproval of the University's Capital Asset Module (CAM).

Departments will make every effort to locate any "UNLOCATED" items. Departments should file Police Reports on all lost, missing or stolen capital equipment.

Upon return of the departmental inventory schedule, Property Management will then perform a random sample test of Inventoried assets to determine the overall accuracy of the physical inventory according to the written sampling plan.

Upon return of the departmental inventory schedules that contain government titled property, Property Management shall report to the SPS Property Administer any discrepancies in government titled property disclosed by a physical inventory.





  1. Send two copies of the Inventory Certification Report and instructions to the selected departments. This property listing is a computer printout that includes information about all capital equipment in the department, as shown in the records maintained by Property Management. Also send a property listing by room. 


  1. The departmental personnel selected for conducting the physical count shall not be the same individuals who have custody of the property.
  2. The department has 60 days to complete the inventory. It is in the best interest of the departments to conduct their physical inventories in the shortest possible time periods to avoid the problems and extra work arising from the movement of equipment.
  3. The physical inventory involves verifying the physical existence, tagging (including Government Property tag), the accuracy of the description (including manufacturer, model number and serial number), and location (building and room number) of each listed property item on the property schedule.
    If the physical properties, size or use of the item prohibits attachment of the property tag, verify the physical existence of the item with the help of the custodial personnel and use the departmental records to verify the descriptive information.
  4. As each item is verified, check off those that are listed.
  5. For those items verified but with inaccurate or missing information, make note of the corrections on line.
  6. If A-tagged property is found during the physical count that is not included on the property inventory schedule, add the item(s) to the property inventory schedule by printing the Tag number, descriptive and location information at the bottom of the schedule.
  7. If an item is not found, check the box "Unlocated" by the item's A-tag on the property inventory schedule. During the inventory period, departments are expected to make a thorough search for the item(s). If a determination is made that the item is stolen, a police report needs to be filed with the University Police Department and as applicable, a Property Loss Report Form with the Department of Risk Management. If the item(s) is government or other sponsored titled, a copy of the Police Report must be sent to the SPS Property Administrator.
  8. If discrepancies remain such as for items sent to Surplus Property, report them on the property schedule and attached any supporting documentation. Property Management will research and take action if possible.
  9. For items located off campus, update the off campus authorization form.
  10. When the department personnel have completed the physical inventory, the department head signs the report certifying that the report accurately represents capital equipment for which the department head is responsible.
  11. Return the original of the report to Property Management and retain a copy of the report in the departmental inventory files until the next biennial inventory verification is complete. 


  1. Enter the changes made on the property inventory schedule in the Capital Asset Module (CAM). Enter the date of the physical inventory in the property record for each asset inventoried. The inventory certification statement signed by the department head will substitute for any otherwise required Request for Authorization to Dispose of Property form for assets being removed from Capital Asset Module (CAM).  Retain the completed property schedule until the next biennial inventory.
  2. If the inventory schedule included any item(s) that is government titled, the SPS Property Administrator will be notified of any.
  3. Not more than 45 days following the departmental return of their completed inventory report, select a sample of assets from the property inventory schedule certified by the department head and physically verify their existence and accuracy of location and recorded information. Discrepancies are to be reported to the department head and Property Management Assistant Director. If a discrepancy involves a government-titled item, advise the SPS Property Administrator. 
  4. Submit a formal letter to the Office of Naval Research and/or the government agency property administrator, advising of the completed physical inventory, discrepancies and agreements with the property records. 


  1. Request relief of accountability for all lost, missing or stolen items. Attach a copy of the police report(s). Indicate the corrective action to be taken to prevent future loss.