Presents a basic definition of property and background on the administration of property at Stanford.
The Property Management Office (PMO) is responsible for establishing and overseeing the policies and business processes used for the control, care, custody, inventory, disposition, and financial reporting of capital equipment (hereafter referred to as “property”) owned and/or otherwise accountable to Stanford University. Our scope of responsibility includes:
- Proposing and implementing policies, procedures, systems, training, and compliance to maintain an approved property system. It includes acquisition, financial reconciliation, utilization and disposition/retirement.
- Providing guidance to departments, faculty, and staff on property issues.
- Enabling the effective tracking and administration of moveable, personal property and equipment while considering compliance, research requirements, and risk mitigation.
- Maximizing the use and sharing of equipment for research, education, and administrative purposes.
- Ensuring equipment depreciation is accurate to maximize Indirect Cost Recovery.
Our system and business processes are maintained in accordance with University Policy in tandem with Federal, State, or other applicable regulations. It supports the overall educational, research, and administrative missions of the University.
In addition to the PMO, there are various levels of roles and responsibilities that comprise the overall system for effective property management at Stanford. Duties of each are described in section below:
- Asset Custodians and Users
- Office or Lab Manager
- Faulty or Principal Investigator (in academic units); Department Manager (in administrative units)
- Department Property Administrator (DPA)
- DPA Supervisor
- Associate Dean, Dean, Associate Vice President or Designee
Effective stewardship and accountability of property, both Stanford- and sponsor-owned, are essential. Each member of the Stanford community has a general obligation to safeguard and make appropriate use of property owned by or accountable to the University.
Property owned by the University, or for which Stanford is accountable (regardless of ownership) should be protected and secured. Reasonable efforts must be made to prevent loss, damage, destruction, or theft (LDDT). Incidents of LDDT should be reported to the Risk Management Department and PMO as soon as discovered. In cases of theft, a police report must be filed with the Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS).
Property is accountable to designated departments, each of which is responsible for the day to day management, use, care, record-keeping, and disposal of those assets. Shared equipment is accountable to a primary department for purposes of record-keeping
Stanford is one of the largest research universities in the country. Because the federal government and other granting agencies often sponsor funding for research, management of this property has high visibility and may be subject to greater scrutiny and audits. Also, if your department receives donated equipment, there are additional rules and regulations to follow. See Chapter 2.5 for information on how to handle donated property. Accurate recording of all equipment, whether sponsor-funded or not, directly impacts indirect cost recovery requirements and other compliance and reporting requirements.
Accurate and effective management will benefit individual departments and Stanford as a whole. For assistance, departmental staff should contact their Department Property Administrator (DPA). DPA’s requiring assistance should contact their Campus Support representative in the Property Management Office (PMO).
3. Title to Equipment
Stanford University has title (ownership), and/or will receive title to all equipment purchased with unrestricted funds, or received as gifts or donations to the University. This includes all equipment located in any Stanford-approved location, any controlled item that is offsite or on loan at other institutions.
Title to equipment purchased with funds from a grant or contract will vest according to the terms and conditions of the grant or contract (aka “award”). Unless otherwise specified in the terms and conditions of an award, Stanford generally has title either immediately or at the end of the contract or grant. The Property Management Office clarifies title in cases where it is not clearly stated.
NO department, departmental unit, or member of the staff or faculty may hold proprietary interest in any piece of Stanford equipment. Regardless of which departmental unit ordered the item, the fund cited, or the budget expensed, the principle of Stanford ownership prevails.
Having personally-owned equipment on campus is discouraged. Proof of ownership may be required.
4. Official Systems of Record
The following online systems, working in conjunction with each other, make up the “official” property record.
- Sunflower Assets (SFA): Used by DPAs and the Property Management Office (PMO) to create and maintain equipment and material. Includes accountability, tracking, physical inventory and disposal information for property
- Grants Accounting (GA): Used by DPA’s and PMO to track fabrications while they are still work in process
- Fixed Assets (FA): Used to calculate and track equipment depreciation and University accounting (central office use only)
Stanford's campus organization is decentralized. The Sunflower Assets (SFA) database provides a central information resource where departments and administrative offices can locate a given piece of equipment by searching for an SU.ID tag number, serial number, steward, custodian, etc. SFA and FA form the central, auditable property record for Stanford University; they provide crucial information for the university relative to Stanford capital assets and government or sponsor funded assets.
All controlled property must be recorded and tracked in SFA. Departments are also encouraged to use SFA as a single repository for all other property they manage, such as sensitive property, and other non-capital items the department chooses to track. Having a single record facilitates reporting, eliminates redundant and duplicate record entry into unofficial shadow systems, and can be used to track purchase trends within the department. It can also help maximize reutilization to avoid unnecessary purchases, and be used as a tool for replacement planning.
5. Systems Access
The Property Management Office (PMO) is the authorized grant access to the following:
- Sunflower Database
- Property Reports
- Department Property Administrator (DPA) Screening Authority for capital equipment purchase and lease requisitions
- Stanford Property Administrators Resource Center (SPARC) Excess Requests
- Inclusion in DPA email distribution lists
6. Controlled Property
Equipment and material (aka “property”) meeting the following criteria require a Stanford Identification Number (SU ID), and a record established in the Sunflower database:
- Capital Equipment – whether purchased, fabricated, or leased:
- An acquisition cost of $5,000 or more
- A useful life of more than one year
- Be an individual, stand-alone, moveable, tangible item
- Sponsor-owned or Sponsor-provided property, regardless of cost or current value
- Loaned equipment
7. Physical Security of Property
Department or area managers are responsible to ensure that there are reasonable security measures implemented in their areas to prevent theft, damage or misuse of equipment. Special precautions may be needed in the case of high-value portable equipment that is a target for theft. Everyone has a general obligation to safeguard and make appropriate use of University and sponsor-owned property and equipment either assigned for individual use or part of a common area. See Chapter 3.6 for more detailed information on security.