The Real Asset Management (‘RAM’) Asset Management System
Heads of Department/School and Professional Services Directors have specific responsibility under the for the care, custody, and security of assets under their control. The Financial Regulations set out the requirement for Heads / Directors to ensure that departmental records of the University’s Assets are kept up to date in University systems, in accordance with the University’s Asset Register processes.
The RAM Asset Management System, implemented in November 2012, provides a means of managing and reporting on University assets within a centralised database.
All assets with a purchase price greater than £5,000 must be recorded in the RAM Asset Management System.
Records must be also be maintained of all personal computers regardless of value, and all other assets viewed as vulnerable to theft or misappropriation, regardless of value. Such vulnerable items would specifically include, for example, personal computers, tablets and smartphones. Such assets may be recorded either in the RAM Asset Management System or instead in an appropriate local system, providing that system supports the recording of all relevant asset data, and is managed within an appropriate control framework.
The centralised asset register and any local asset tracking systems are intended to help support the safeguarding of University assets and to ensure we fulfil audit and insurance requirements. All departments must therefore use the relevant systems to maintain complete and up to date asset records.
The online RAM asset register manual provides detailed user guidance.
A small number of videos demonstrating specific features of RAM are also available on the RAM page of the Development and Training Gateway.
What should be recorded within the Asset Management System?
The RAM system is intended to provide a central record of the key physical assets held by the University. RAM must be used to record assets which cost £5,000 or more, as detailed above.
Departments may also use the system to manage other relevant assets in addition to the minimum required by the University’s Financial Regulations.
In the majority of instances, it should be straightforward to identify which assets should be included on the register. Some specific guidance is provided below to assist in particular circumstances.
|Consumables or Assets?||
The asset register is intended to record non-consumable items – i.e. items that provide ‘enduring economic benefit’. Items that are capable of being consumed (i.e. their quantity is reduced by use over time) should not be recorded in the asset register, regardless of value.
|Historical Assets||Assets that have been acquired historically but remain in operational use may have a low residual value but should be recorded within the asset register in order to ensure that they can be safeguarded alongside newer assets. Purchase cost should be included or estimated, where known, along with an estimate of the year the asset was acquired. This information will help in any assessment of the impact in the event of loss or damage.|
|Multi-Component Assets||Some assets comprise a number of components that function as a single unit. These can either be recorded as a single entry, or as multiple entries, depending which best supports ongoing verification of the asset. This can often be a subjective judgment, with no single ‘right’ answer.
A single entry might be appropriate if the components are held in the same physical location and share the same asset characteristics and asset register data. The information entered to RAM should make clear all components comprising the overall asset.
Multiple entries might be appropriate if the components are held in different physical locations or have sufficiently different characteristics and asset register data. The information entered to RAM should make clear how many components there are, and which components comprise the overall asset.
|Donated Assets||Donated assets should be included within the asset register. The purchase value attributed to such assets should generally be zero. The ‘Funding Source’ field may be used to identify that the asset was donated and from whom. If an approximate value is known for the donated asset, this can be included in the Inventory Details - Notes field. This information will help in any assessment of the impact in the event of loss or damage.|
|Third Party Assets||
Historically, asset register guidance has stated that third party assets should not be included in the register. Given the increased focus on collaboration and partnerships with third parties there is an increased likelihood that assets belonging to these outside organisations may be present within University premises. It is important that these assets can be identified for insurance and health and safety purposes.
If Departments have an appropriate mechanism outside the asset register for recording third party assets, then Departments may use this, providing it is clear, overall, which assets are a third party’s and which are the University’s.Departments may determine that the asset register provides the easiest mechanism for recording third party asset details. If this is the case, such assets may be recorded within the asset register, providing they are clearly identified within RAM as such, and including information on the owner of the asset and any other relevant details such as when the asset is to be returned.
|Prototypes||Where departments develop prototypes from research and consider that these have sufficient value, it may be appropriate to record these on the asset register. This is likely to be a subjective judgment, with no single ‘right’ answer.|
|Uncertain Purchase Cost||Wherever possible, purchase cost should reflect the actual invoiced price paid for an item. If purchase cost is not known, an appropriate estimate should be provided wherever possible, to help in any assessment of the impact in the event of loss or damage. The use of an estimated cost should be noted within the RAM record.|
|Software Licenses||Software licenses should not be recorded on the RAM System.|
|Asset Descriptions||Asset details within the register should be sufficient to distinguish each asset and ensure that they can be readily identified for verification purposes. In particular:
- title descriptions should be concise but sufficiently descriptive – for example ‘Optiplex 7010 PC’ rather than ‘Equipment’ or ‘PC’
- manufacturer, product name and serial number should be completed wherever possible
Changes to Assets
All asset changes and movements (additions, disposals, transfers/loans) should be properly recorded promptly within the asset register. The asset register manual sets out the processes to be followed to add a new asset, dispose of an asset, or to transfer an asset to another location within the Real Asset Management System. The Notification of Annual Asset Verification form can be used for this purpose. The Notification of Non-Purchased Asset Additions, Asset Disposals or Asset Loads form should be used to notify Finance of any asset changes which require adjustment in accounting records or may require additional insurance measures. Asset movements should be appropriately authorised, generally by the relevant Head of Department, before they take place.
Annual verification of assets
As part of ongoing departmental asset management procedures, departments should perform at least an annual asset verification check. This may be undertaken by way of a single exercise or could be a more frequent rolling programme of less extensive checks. Checks should be documented, including the date(s) on which the check(s) were performed, the extent of the checks, and the results, along with any issues to be followed up and the ultimate resolution of those issues.
Access to RAM
To obtain an Administrator Role to log assets on the RAM system, please contact Financial Systems in the first instance: email@example.com. Approval will be required from the relevant Head of Department.
Training resources for the RAM system can be found within the Development and Training Gateway. Training courses are also provided periodically, depending on demand. You can register on the waiting list on the Asset Management training course page within the Development and Training Gateway.
The RAM system is accessible at the following link: RAM Logon Site
For further support and advice, please contact the Financial Systems team: firstname.lastname@example.org.