Having an inventory which keeps track of all the valuable assets owned and used by your school is vital. Without one, it’s impossible to know the total value of your assets, what the school owns and to keep track of what goes missing or gets stolen.
But how do you create an inventory for your school’s equipment? Here’s what you should include, and why.
Why create an inventory?
There are many reasons why it’s a good idea to keep an inventory of all your school’s equipment. Most important is that, without one, you won’t know what the school owns, where each item is and how much every asset is worth. This record of your assets is useful for both general information and security purposes. Here are some other reasons why inventories come in handy:
- Allowing capitalised assets to be accounted for properly
- Making it possible to create management reports
- Allowing for future planning; you can see when equipment needs to be replaced
- Improving accountability
What information should I store in an inventory?
Although the information in your inventory should be as detailed as possible, it’s up to you to decide what you believe is necessary. Here are some of the inventory details/categories you could include:
- Unique asset code
- Date purchased/received
- Estimated value of item
- Building and room location
- Make and model number
- Purchase price
- Asset status (e.g. on loan)
- Serial number
- Order number
Note that not all of these details are applicable to every item you are likely to buy. You may find you keep more details about each individual tablet computer you buy than the textbooks your school owns, for example. However, the more information logged, the easier it will be to find missing items and make a claim on assets that are stolen.
You also need to set out guidelines regarding what assets should be included in the inventory. Many schools only keep a record of items worth more than a certain amount (e.g. £200). This way you’re not keeping track of every single calculator, pen or ruler.
You may also want to keep a separate inventory for items worth under £200, but are particularly attractive or portable, and therefore more likely to be stolen. Items such as fans, cameras and mobile phones are all seen as attractive and portable, so should be closely monitored.
Maintaining your inventory
All assets within the inventory should be checked at least once a year. The database must be updated according to any changes – for example, the item’s location or condition may change. Whenever an item goes missing, the inventory should be updated immediately.
Never delete an item from your inventory, even if it breaks or is sold off, as you need a complete record of everything the school has ever owned. Instead, keep a separate inventory which tracks which assets have been disposed of/written off and the reason why. You also need to keep track of any items which are stolen or lost.
Hopefully our guide has given you a good idea on what to include in your inventory and how to get started. We know that keeping an inventory of all your school’s equipment may seem like a time-consuming task, but it needn’t be. If you have the right school inventory manager system in place, it can be easy to keep an eye on all those important assets.
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