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Equipment and Books

Equipment costing less than £30,000 per individual item: Is written off (termed 'expensed') in the year of purchase. This means that it is not formally recognised as an asset in the University's financial statements. However, assets costing between £5,000 and £30,000 should still be tracked as an asset and included in the University's Fixed Asset Register.

All equipment costing £30,000 or more: Is capitalised and depreciated so that it is written off over four years using the straight-line method rather than being written off immediately.

Expenditure on books and similar items: Is expensed as incurred and is not considered a fixed asset unless exceptionally such expenditure is for the purchase of Heritage Assets.

Land and Buildings

'Assets in construction': Buildings that are only part complete are not depreciated until they are deemed substantially complete and/or ready for use.

Operational land and buildings: Were revalued at fair value on teh 1 August 2014 as part of teh transition over to FRS 102. New buildings have been included at their purchase price/cost.

No depreciation is provided on land as it is not considered to have a limited life (i.e. it does not wear out). Buildings are written off over their estimated useful lives which is between 15 and 60 years, with the exception of investment properties which are not depreciated.

Heritage Assets

The University holds and conserves certain collections, artefacts and other assets of historical, artistic or scientific importance. Most of these are housed in the University's nationally accredited museums and collections and in its libraries, providing a valuable research and educational resource locally, nationally and internationally as well as unrivalled opportunity to present the University's work to a wider audience. Other collections are held in academic departments or are on display as public art. Major collections include those held by the University Library, the Botanic garden and the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Those heritage assets exceeding the capitalisation threshold acquired since 1 August 1999 have been included on the Fixed Asset Register. Heritage assets are classified separately to other fixed assets and they are not depreciated.

Any purchase, donation or disposal of Heritage Assets should be notified to the Fixed Assets Helpdesk. Careful consideration should be given before accepting gifts of works of arts or books as there are often hidden costs to a department associated such as:

  • Fine art insurance
  • Additional security
  • Maintenance (correct temperature and humity, lighting and protection from sunlight, moths etc.)

Where they are accepted they are often retained by the University and added to its collections. At present there is no policy concerning donations of such items. However, if you have any queries concerning the accounting procedures about works of art please contact the Fixed Asset helpdesk within the Finance Division.

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