The Quaestor - Volume 11, Issue 2

Accounting for Fixed Assets at RIT

Contributed by: Jennifer Genter, CPA Manager, Accounting and Internal Controls, Controller’s Office

Contributed by: Milagros Concepcion, Assistant Controller, Controller’s Office

Property Accounting, a unit within the Controller’s Office Accounting Operations department, is responsible for ensuring RIT’s fixed assets are  accounted for in accordance with accounting standards and working with departments campus- wide  to  ensure  fixed  assets  are  tracked  and  safeguarded.  They  share  these responsibilities with faculty and staff campus-wide.

Property Accounting staff are responsible for:
  1. establishing  processes  and  procedures  to  ensure  departments  adhere  to the university’s and federal government’s property standards;
  2. maintaining  RIT’s  asset  recordkeeping  system  which  includes  capital equipment, land, buildings, and building and site improvements;
  3. managing the annual physical inventory process; and
  4. updating  the  recordkeeping  system  regularly  with  all  changes  including acquisitions and retirements.
Departmental faculty and staff are responsible for:
  1. following RIT’s procurement standards for capital equipment;
  2. ensuring that assets are safeguarded;
  3. completing annual physical inventories; and
  4. reporting  asset  retirements  and  disposals  to  Property  Accounting  timely.

The current university policy defines capital equipment (including furniture and furnishings) as an article of nonexpendable, tangible (moveable)  personal property with a useful  life  of  more  than  one  year  and  an  acquisition  cost  (including  delivery  and installation charges) of at least  $1,500.  Capital equipment with a cost of at least $1,500 must  be  capitalized  and  depreciated  over  the  useful  life  of  the  asset.    Any  equipment costing less than $1,500 is expensed in the same month it is purchased.

The university recently evaluated the current capital equipment threshold of $1,500 and decided  to  increase  it to  $3,000 or  more  effective  July  1,  2017  (FY18).    The current threshold  has  been  in place since  July  1,  1996  (FY97).    All  other  criteria used to define capital equipment would  remain unchanged.

You might be wondering, why not sooner?

The  university  recovers  a  portion  of  its  depreciation  expense  through  the  Facilities  and Administration (F&A) rate applied to federal grants and contracts. The university’s current organized  research  rate  is  46.5%,  and  because  this  percentage  was  calculated  using depreciation  for assets  under  the  $1,500  threshold,  the  regulations  require  that  the change be made  once the  current  F&A  rate  agreement expires;  that  date  is  6/30/2017.

The  good  news is that the university’s cognizant agency, the Department of Health and Human  Services,  has  already  approved  this  change  effective  7/1/2017.  This  provides ample time (a little over a year) to make the necessary changes to policies, processes and procedures campus-wide. Once the change takes effect, fixed assets volume will decrease by approximately 60% while 83% of the capital equipment will be preserved. This change will  significantly  reduce  the  administrative  burden  on  the  Property  Accounting  staff  and the  faculty  and  staff  university-wide  who  currently  track  capital  equipment  assets  until they are disposed or retired. This will also enhance overall stewardship and control of the university’s assets by eliminating the requirement to track relatively low value items, and in turn, devoting more attention and  effort to  safeguarding higher valued items.   
The  Controller’s  Office  will  issue  additional  communication  as  the  date  gets  closer.  If  you  want  to  learn  more  about  Property  Accounting  –  consider  registering  for  the Accounting  Practices,  Procedures  and  Protocol:  Accounting  for  Fixed  Assets  and  Capital Projects workshop offered through the Center for Professional Development.

Inform RIT

Contributed by: Ben Woelk, Program Manager, RIT Information Security Office,

Inform  RIT  is  a  recurring  column  provided  by  the  RIT  Information  Security  Office.  The column  highlights  current  issues  and  initiatives  that  impact  the  RIT  community.  In  this issue,  we’ll  talk  about  online  shopping  safety.  A  special  thank  you  to  Eilysh  Haeger, Information Security Communications Associate for drafting the original article.

Clean and Update Your Devices

Spring  is  (sort  of)  here! And that means it’s time to do some digital spring cleaning. Is your  computer  running  slow?  Is  your  smartphone  experiencing  glitches?  Now  is  a  great time to test the security of your devices and make sure all systems are clean. You should take this month  to  catch  up  on  system  updates  and  make  sure  you  are using  the  latest version of all software programs and applications. You know computers can pick up bugs and  viruses,  but  they  can   also  become  bogged  down  by  miscellaneous  programs  and applications that you may not even be using. Below are some tips for making sure your devices are clean.

Update Your OS on All Devices

To  protect  against  malware  and  viruses,  it  is  a  good  idea  to  install  the  latest  operating system. This means updating all desktops, laptops, and mobile devices in order to avoid security flaws that may exist in older operating systems.

Update Your Antivirus Software

Run  your  antivirus  software  and  have  it  check  for  updates.  If  there  is  an  auto-update feature  available,  you  should  turn  this  on.  Make  sure  that  you  renew  your  antivirus subscription if the vendor you’re using requires one. If you  don’t want to pay an annual fee, then choose a free scanner. RIT provides McAfee antivirus software for both Windows and iOS users.

Run a Full Scan of Your System

Running  a  full  or  deep  antivirus  scan  on  your  computer  is  something  you  should  do periodically.  A  full  scan  may  catch  things  that  a  quick  scan  did  not  and  ensure  that malware isn’t hiding out on your hard drive. For mobile  devices, make sure you have a security app that scans applications upon install. 

Update Your Apps

For all devices (Windows, Android, iOS, etc.) updating apps not only gives you the latest features  of  an  application,  but  can  fix  glitches  and  security  vulnerabilities.  Security patches and fixes for bugs become available regularly, so check  online or in your device’s general settings. 

Uninstall Programs and Apps

Get  rid  of  those  unnecessary programs  that may  be  taking  up  space  on  your  computer. For  mobile  devices,  this  means  deleting  apps  that  you  no  longer  use.  This  can  speed things up and preserve battery life.

More Tips:

Cyber Security Spring Cleaning

How to Speed Up a Mac 

How to Speed Up, Clean Up, and Revive Your Windows PC

Uninstalling app screenshot

Sign up for our new DSD101 course, Introduction to Digital Self Defense through CPD.

Contact Ben if you’d like us to present DSD101 to your department. 

Like RIT Information Security at
Follow us on Twitter: @rit_infosec

Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) Corner

Contributed by: Nancy A. Nasca, Manager, Institute Audit, Compliance & Advisement,

As explained in previous editions of the Quaestor Quarterly, the COSO Framework (an internationally recognized standard with which the adequacy and effectiveness of an organization’s internal controls are evaluated) was updated in May 2013 to further define the principles underlying the five components of internal control (Control Environment, Risk Assessment, Control Activities, Information and Communication, and Monitoring). According to the Framework, these principles are fundamental concepts that must be present and functioning in order to achieve an effective system of internal control.

In addition, the Framework includes points of focus or characteristics that are examples of behaviors  or  processes  that  would  be expected  to  be  in  place  to  demonstrate  that  the related principle is in fact present and functioning.  This edition of the COSO Corner will summarize  the  eighth  COSO  principle  which  is  the  third  principle  related  to  the  Risk Assessment component of the COSO Framework, as well as the related points of focus.

Principle 8 –   The  university  considers  the  potential  for  fraud  in  assessing  risks  to  the achievement of its objectives.  Fraud assessments should consider:

  • Fraudulent reporting, the misappropriation of assets, and possible corruption both by university personnel (i.e., management override of university policies and procedures) and by outsourced service providers.
  • The potential negative impact that incentives and pressures may have on employee behavior.
  • Opportunities  (i.e.,  due to  weak  internal  controls)  for  unauthorized acquisition,  use or disposal of assets, altering of the university’s reporting records, or committing other inappropriate acts.
  • How  management  and  other  personnel  might  engage  in  or  justify  inappropriate actions (i.e., just “borrowing” an asset, but will repay/give it back).

To learn more about how you can help prevent fraud (and strengthen internal controls, thereby reducing the opportunity for fraud) at RIT, register for the IACA training session, “Internal Controls and Fraud in the Workplace,” which is offered  quarterly through RIT’s Center for Professional Development.

If you have any suspicions of fraudulent or inappropriate behavior, these concerns should be reported to your immediate supervisor, dean/division head, appropriate university officer  (such as the AVP of Compliance & Ethics), or anonymously through RIT’s Ethics & Compliance Hotline.

Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (May 2013). “Internal Control – Integrated Framework – Framework and Appendices”

Additional Information by IACA

Watch IACA’s Monday Minute video series here!
Our video series focuses on opportunities for improving internal controls and increasing awareness of various university processes, policies, and protocols. If you have questions, feel free to contact anyone in the IACA office using information on our webpage.
Just to name a few, past topics include: Travel Policy changes, FERPA Regulations, RIT’s Ethics & Compliance Hotline, Records Management Policy, Risk Assessment, and many others.

What about ethics in the workplace?
Learn about the RIT Ethics and Compliance Hotline

Learn more about your IACA team.