Fixed Asset Management


Policy Summary

It is the policy of the George Washington University to safeguard and maintain effective internal controls to manage its fixed assets, and to maintain proper records regarding the use and disposition of those assets. This policy applies to fixed assets acquired with funding originating from the university, the Federal government or other external sources, and by gift or loan. 

Related Regulations

It is necessary for the university to safeguard and maintain its fixed assets in order to receive the maximum benefit from those assets, to comply with university and Federal requirements regarding the use and disposition of fixed assets, and to properly record and account for its fixed assets for financial accounting purposes. As a recipient of federal support under sponsored programs, the university must also comply with the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (OMB Uniform Guidance 2 CFR §200) and for funding effective before December 26, 2014 - OMB Circular A-110, collectively referred to as Federal Guidance. In addition, Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Part 45 – Government Property prescribes the minimum requirements that the university must meet as a Federal contractor in establishing and maintaining control over Government Property. 

Who is Governed by this Policy 

  • Staff
  • Faculty


Acquiring Fixed Assets 
A fixed asset is any tangible asset acquired for use in the day to day operation of the University from which an economic benefit will be derived over a period greater than one year and has a value of $5,000 or more. Bulk purchases of $50,000 or more of the same item (e.g., laptops or office chairs) or items used for the same purpose (e.g., various exercise machines for gym) will be capitalized as one item. Fixed assets include items of property and equipment, such as buildings, office furniture and fixtures, computers and other related technology equipment, including fabrication. 
All fixed assets should be purchased through the approved university procurement methods, including on a purchase order recorded through the Enterprise Accounting System (“EAS”), or via the university’s iBuy+ eProcurement platform.

Under certain limited circumstances it may be necessary to fabricate a Fixed Asset from separate components or parts, some or all of which may have a unit cost of less than $5,000. When a principal investigator/fabricator determines they will be fabricating a fixed asset, they need to inform Fixed Assets Department of the pending fabrication or any questions regarding the use of correct account.  

Records Maintenance 
The Fixed Asset Department of the Office of the Comptroller provides direct administrative support to the schools and divisions regarding the control and maintenance of fixed assets. This includes tagging assets, assisting with or conducting a n n u a l inventories, record keeping, general ledger reconciliation, and working with the external auditors related to fixed assets for annual audit purposes. The Fixed Asset Department records and reports on all purchases, acquisitions, gifts and loans, transfers, sales, or other dispositions of fixed assets in a timely manner and in accordance with university and Federal requirements. 
The Fixed Asset Department keeps records of the manufacturer’s name, the product number and description, the physical location, the asset tag number, the original cost, and the acquisition date, as well as any other information that is needed to establish and maintain control, protect, preserve and maintain all Government Property in compliance with Federal Guidance and the FAR, Part 45. All records necessary for accounting and audit purposes are prepared and maintained in accordance with general accounting guidance for the acquisition, capitalization, depreciation, and disposition of fixed assets in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

The purpose of the physical inventory is to verify the existence, and location of fixed assets and to validate the accuracy of the university’s accounting records. The Fixed Asset Department conducts and manages an annual inventory for assets purchased by the university or acquired with federal or private sponsor funding, as well as government-furnished assets and loaned equipment. The Fixed Asset Department reports any material unresolved differences to the school or division finance team for resolution. The finance director of each school and division approves final finished inventory report, including any assets write-offs.

When fixed assets acquired for a sponsored project are no longer needed for that project, the Fixed Asset Department works with the principal investigator, OVPR and other appropriate university personnel to identify plans for the fixed asset and receive approval for proper disposal of the asset in accordance with Federal Guidance and the FAR Part 45 or other applicable sponsor guidelines. 
For disposal of surplus property in general, see the Surplus University Property Policy.

Loss or Theft of Fixed Assets 
Loss or theft of all fixed assets, including electronic fixed assets, must be reported to Risk Management and the Fixed Asset Department via the Change in Fixed Asset  Status Form. In the event an electronic fixed asset is lost or stolen, an Office of Risk  Management Incident Report must also be completed in accordance with the  Laptop Computer and Small Electronics Theft Policy. If the electronic fixed asset contains Regulated or Restricted information, the Division of Information Technology must also be notified in accordance with the Information Security Policy


Government Property: Any property owned or leased to the Government or acquired by the Government under the terms of the contract. It includes both Government-furnished and contractor-acquired property. 
Fabrication: The construction or assemblage of a unique asset worth greater than $5,000 from separate parts or components, some or all of which may have a unit cost of less than $5,000. 
Fixed Asset: Any property, plant, furniture, equipment, and/or software that equals or exceeds a unit cost or gift value of $5,000, or a bulk purchase of same unit/similar purpose of $50,000 and has a useful life of more than one year, including items fabricated from individual components. 
Disposition: The sale, transfer of ownership, or final disposal of any Fixed Asset. 


Change in Fixed Asset Status (PDF)  *Download, compIete, and email the form.

Related Information

Federal Acquisition Regulation, Part 45 - Government Property

Federal OMB Circular A-110

Federal OMB Circular A-21

Information Security Policy

Laptop Computer and Small Electronics Theft Policy

Office Of Risk Management Incident Report

OMB Uniform Guidance 2 CFR §200

Procurement Card (P-Card) Policy

Surplus University Property Policy


Contact Phone Number Email Address
Financial Accounting & Reporting 571-553-4054 [email protected]


Responsible University Official: Associate Vice President and University Controller
Responsible Office: Office of the Controller

Last Reviewed: July 9, 2021


Non-compliance with this policy can be reported through this website.