The annual inventory process is an essential part of fulfilling compliance with state requirements that hold the university responsible for safeguarding all of its equipment. The purpose of a physical inventory is to verify the existence and condition of equipment and ensure the accuracy of university accounting records. UA Little Rock has established this process to ensure that the inventory of equipment results in verification of the university’s assets.
General Accounting is responsible for maintaining accurate records of equipment and property. Legislative Audit tests the process that UA Little Rock has in place to fulfill this responsibility and reports on the degree to which we accomplish this responsibility. Custody and proper use of equipment is the responsibility of the various colleges and departments where the property is assigned. University employees have stewardship responsibilities for university property assigned to the employee. UA Little Rock expects each department to actively participate and complete their inventory process in a manner that demonstrates accountability for university property.
The property accountant will schedule a date for each department to check out a bar code scanner to conduct a physical inventory. Each department will be allotted a certain period of time to conduct a physical inventory based on size and complexity of their inventory. We will establish the schedule to ensure that each department has ample time to complete its annual inventory. On the day of a department’s scheduled pickup, the person in charge of conducting inventory will receive the scanner and instruction packet from the property accountant. At that time, the property accountant will provide detailed instructions and training for individuals performing the scanning. Departments will be required to scan ALL equipment in ALL of their various assigned spaces and return the scanner on the scheduled date. After the scanning is complete, the property accountant will match the scanned file with the university’s records.
After the property accountant has compared the data collected in the scanners to the data in the fixed assets records, they will provide two reports to the department no later than one week after the department has turned in the scanner:
- Items Not Scanned Report. This report will list items that are on the inventory report but the department did not scan.
- The property accountant will automatically update the location codes for those items on a department’s inventory list that the department scans in a location that is different from what is on the fixed asset records.
Inventory reconciliation is the process of completing the physical inventory by resolving the assets listed on the above reports. For example, if the report contains an item that a department scanned in their area, but was not on their inventory report, the department will need to complete the necessary paperwork to have that asset transferred to their organization where appropriate. Departments will be required to reconcile all items and will have two weeks to research and justify the items on the list. The property accountant will process all necessary updates to resolve the reconciliation report.
By September 1, Financial Services will post the proposed yearly scanning schedule to the General Accounting web page. Each department will need to send a confirmation on the scheduled dates to the property accountant by September 30. Inventory scanning will be scheduled throughout the fiscal year, beginning in September. If the department becomes aware of a schedule conflict after returning the confirmation form, they must notify the property accountant to reschedule at the time the conflict arises. That department will need to review the schedule to locate another department with a similar scanning schedule and trade times as needed and notify the property accountant of that change. Beginning in September, the Property Accountant will send out monthly reminders to those departments scheduled for inventory during that month.
Each department must use the barcode scanners to conduct their annual inventory. Departments with 50 items or less may choose to conduct their inventory manually with an inventory report. However, no department can go more than two fiscal years without using the barcode scanners to conduct inventory.
If a department has not attempted to reschedule and/or has not completed the inventory scan by the due date, an opportunity will be given to reschedule. If the department does not scan their inventory by the rescheduled due date, then a Property Accounting Office representative will be sent to the department to perform the inventory scan. Further, the department will be charged based on the hourly pay rate (of the Property Accounting Office representative) plus fringe benefits multiplied by the number of hours spent scanning the inventory.
Departments that do not comply with this inventory process will not be permitted to make equipment purchases until their inventory process has been completed, including the inventory reconciliation process.