Major Asset Classes

Capital items are categorized into major asset classes based on their estimated useful life and their description.

Please review the following asset class summary to determine to which capital expense account a capital expenditure belongs. 

A complete list of accounts can be found in FMS nQuery under the Chartfields menu. For any capital related entries and transactions, please use the accounts noted in the tables and direct any questions to Financial Reporting.

Buildings (Temporary, Wood Frame, Concrete)

Useful Life in Years: 10-50
Capital Expenditure Account: 840000

Major capital projects, such as constructing a new building, require the Board of Governors approval. 

Building expenses are only recorded by Financial Reporting as they require manual depreciation adjustments, and therefore coordination with Financial Reporting to record costs relating to new buildings. Depreciation is based on the building types:

  • Concrete buildings – 50 year estimated useful life
  • Wood frame buildings – 30 year estimated useful life
  • Temporary buildings – 10 year estimated useful life
Major Upgrades

Useful Life in Years: 25
Capital Expenditure Account: 844000 (new code)

Significant renovations and upgrades to the major components of an existing building which extend the life of the building or add additional space as a result. e.g., replacement of building systems, such as HVACs and plumbing, washroom renovations or upgrades to floors and walls.

Building Renewals

Useful Life in Years: 40
Capital Expenditure Account: 843000 (new code)

Significant renewal to an existing building which are expected to last almost as long as a newly constructed building and which are expected to give the existing building a “second” useful life term e.g., upgrade to an aged building where the majority of the building is renewed and where the alternative would have been to replace the facility in its entirety.


Major Renovations

Useful Life in Years:  15
Capital Expenditure Account: 841000

Renovations and upgrades to components and fixtures of an existing building which are expected to last approximately 10 to 20 years on average and which are required due to normal wear and tear from continuing use. e.g., roof replacements or new carpeting.

Minor Renovations

Useful Life in Years: 5
Capital Expenditure Account: 842000

Minor renovations to an existing building which have a shorter estimated useful life of approximately 5 years but which are required due to normal wear and tear from continuing use e.g., new paint or new building locks.

Furniture, Fixtures, Equipment

Furniture, Fixtures

Useful Life in Years: 8
Capital Expenditure Account: 810000

All furniture and fixtures which have been acquired e.g., desks, chairs, tables and light fixtures.


Useful Life in Years: 8
Capital Expenditure Account: 820XXX

All equipment not included in any other category.


Useful Life in Years: 5
Capital Expenditure Account: 825000

For example cars, vans and trucks which have been purchased for use in the University’s operations. Certain leases may also be included. 

Library Books

Useful Life in Years:  10
Capital Expenditure Account: 637XXX

Physical library collections or electronic library collections which are purchased as a perpetual database or license. Any electronic collections with limited lives should be capitalized as prepaid assets and amortized over its term. If the expected term is less than one year, the costs should be expensed immediately.

Computing Equipment

Useful Life in Years: 3
Capital Expenditure Account: 830XXX

For example personal computers, printers, monitors and other related peripheral equipment.

Network and Server Equipment

Useful Life in Years: 7
Capital Expenditure Account: 830301, 830303

Network or server equipment. This asset class is generally only used by Information Technology.

Major Software

Useful Life in Years: 5
Capital Expenditure Account: 835000

Major software installations purchased or developed with a cost greater than $50,000. e.g., Telephone billing system. This does not include over-the-shelf software (<$50,000) which should be expensed when purchased.

All development and configuration costs should be capitalized. Any costs incurred for purposes of research, planning, evaluation, etc. should be expensed. In addition, fees paid to third parties for services provided to develop the software, travel expenses incurred by individuals in their duties directly associated with the development and payroll related costs for employees who are directly involved with the development projects are also considered as development costs.  

A one-off licensing fee required to use the software should be capitalized, whereas yearly licensing/maintenance fees should be expensed over the period during which the licensing or maintenance fee applies. Upgrades and enhancement costs are considered betterments and should be capitalized if they increase the functionality or service potential of the software.

Enterprise Systems

Useful Life in Years: 10
Capital Expenditure Account: 836000

All enterprise-wide system as defined by Central Finance and IT. e.g., Student Information System, PeopleSoft and Integrated Reporting. This asset class is generally only used by Information Technology .