This page serves as a one-stop information source for FMS topics impacted by the COVID-19. The content is intended to be a first stop for information about financial activities, programs and services impacted by the pandemic and it will be updated regularly as more information and guidance becomes available. (Updated 10/12/21)
For information about the university's response to the pandemic, please visit the Health Alerts site.
Accounts Payable and Refunds
Accounts Payable Will Call Checks
The Tresidder will call window has closed for the disbursement of Accounts Payable will call checks.
Effective until further notice, Accounts Payable will call checks may be picked up at the Stanford Redwood City campus by appointment only. When the will call check is ready for pickup, a “ready for pickup” email will be sent to the requester listed on the transaction, to arrange a pickup date and time. This will ensure that an on-site staff member is available to disburse the check. For more information, see How to Request Rush and Will Call payments.
Refund and Reimbursement Checks
For reimbursements related to transactions that originated in iProcurement or the return of unused advances, please send payment to:
P.O. Box 20410
Stanford, CA 94309-0410
To refund charges accidentally made on a Pcard (Purchasing Card), a check should be written by the payee made out to Stanford University, including the PCard transaction number, and deposited to the PTAE account by the department using CASHNet. Follow the Mail-in CASHNet deposit process via the Stanford Main Lock Box.
Banking and Deposits
Please note the following updates with regard to check deposit options during COVID-19 building closures and reduced operations. Departments should seek to ensure that incoming mail is received by appropriate personnel and that deposits continue to be processed into the Wells Fargo bank account in a timely manner. Please consult How To: Deposit and Process Department Receipts for a refresher on important control procedures that should continue to be in place.
- Mail-In (preferred option): As an alternative to physically visiting a Wells Fargo branch, FMS now offers a Lock Box mail-in solution for all department checks received. See more information about the mail-in option below.
- Mobile Phone Deposit: Checks may also be deposited using the Wells Fargo CEO Mobile deposit app through your smartphone. See more information about the mobile option below.
- Branch Deposits: The Wells Fargo Tresidder branch is closed, however, most other Wells Fargo branches are open for business. Check times of operation. If you do not have access to your deposit slips, please utilize one of the other two options above.
Alternatively, rather than receiving a check, departments can provide electronic payment instructions to students, customers, donors, agencies, and sponsors. This can replace cash and checks being sent in by mail. Either a wire or ACH electronic payment is acceptable and no transmittal or CASHNet deposit is required. View the overview for wire and ACH instructions.
A "Lock Box" is a separate client mailbox in a bank's processing center that is among many client mailboxes. The bank collects paper checks and back up documentation on behalf of their clients and then makes deposits based on their instructions. Using the Wells Fargo CEO bank portal, department personnel can view images of the checks and accompanying documentation, or access reports to monitor their deposits.
CASHNet deposit information is still required to be forwarded to the Student Financial Services (SFS) Payments Office with this deposit option.
To make deposits via the Stanford Main Lock Box:
- Prepare checks by endorsing them using a stamp, or if you don't have access to your stamp, then write "For Deposit Only to Stanford University" on the back of the check with the appropriate project, fund, and object code included on the front of the check.
- Create the CASHNet deposit or transmittal that you ordinarily would if depositing checks at a Wells Fargo branch. Print a copy of the Cashnet deposit or transmittal form.
NOTE: A separate bank deposit slip is not required for general lockbox deposits.
- Place checks along with the CASHNet deposit or transmittal into a regular letter-sized envelope so that the envelope can fully seal, even if that means splitting the checks up among multiple envelopes. Overnight packages (FedEx, UPS, etc.) cannot be accepted by a Lock Box processor, USPS mail only. Departments will want to be sure that the checks are mailed standard mail and must have correct postage.
Mail the envelope/s by USPS mail to:
PO Box 843899
Los Angeles, CA 90084-3899
- Each document received by Wells Fargo bank will be scanned in color on both sides and available for viewing on their CEO bank portal.
- The Student Financial Services Payments Office will post the deposits as usual from the Lock Box scanned items and reports.
- If you would like access to view the scanned deposits online, submit a support request to the Treasury team to be added to the Wells Fargo online portal. CEO access is limited to two users per department.
For more information:
- General Wells Fargo Lock Box information is available on the Wells Fargo website.
For CASHNet users, the Lock Box deposit alternative is recommended.
Mobile Phone Deposit Option
As a secondary alternative, departments may request access to Mobile Deposit by submitting a support request to the Treasury team and providing an authorized manager's written approval.
Wells Fargo offers a mobile app to deposit checks using the phone's camera, which is compatible with iPhone and Android devices. Once the setup is completed by OOT and Wells Fargo bank, users take a picture of the front and back of each endorsed check and send them to the bank for processing. It is critical that the project, fund, and object code are written on the front of the check.
Once the checks have been deposited, please email the Payments Office letting them know of the deposit and attach a copy of the CASHNet deposit or transmittal.
After the checks have been successfully scanned, please keep them locked in a secure place as they contain bank account information which is considered high-risk data. Checks should be securely kept until a bank reconciliation is completed, after which they may be destroyed by shredding or an equivalent method. More information about mobile deposits can be found on the Wells Fargo website.
For questions about banking and deposits related to COVID-19 measures, please submit a support request to the Treasury team.
Donor Gift Checks
Upon receipt of donor checks or credit card remittance slips, here are several reminders:
- Processing of checks remains the same. Follow guidance on the Topic Overview: Record Gifts to determine the proper method to process and record the gift, receipt or payment through the Gift Transmittals System.
- Please do not take checks or credit card forms home for processing; once they arrive on the main campus, hospital or Redwood City campus, the checks and credit card information should be secured until they can be processed.
- Look at the date of the check. For business checks, see if there is a notation about expiration. For example, “deposit within 30 days”. If it has no notation or is a personal check, it is good for 6 months from the date on the check. If the check has already expired, you are responsible for contacting the donor or organization to request a replacement check to be mailed directly to OOD or back to you.
- Please scan checks and accompanying gift documentation. Do not take pictures with your phone; doing so puts the donor information at risk.
- For credit cards that need to be charged, do not forward credit card information via email. That is a payment card industry (PCI) violation. You can call Development Services at 650-725-4360 with the credit card information or forward sealed envelopes outlined below.
Rather than receiving a check, departments can provide electronic payment instructions to students, donors, agencies, and sponsors. This can replace cash and checks being sent in by mail. Either a wire or ACH electronic payment is acceptable. When possible, please encourage them to donate electronically.
There are a variety of safe options available to forward check and credit card gifts to Development Services:
- Deliver envelopes to designated drop boxes on campus
- 346 Galvez Street on the Memorial Drive side of the Alumni Center
- 300 Pasteur Drive at the Edwards building near the old hospital
- Mail to PO Box 20466, Stanford, CA 94309
- Call Development Services at 650-725-4360 to arrange a time to drop off gifts to University Hall, RWC campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays. When coming to the office, please complete the Health Check.
For donor gift guidance and resources:
- Visit Best Practices for Processing Donor Gifts
- Review Administrative Guide Memo 4.1.1: Gifts to the University and 4.2.1 Receiving and Processing Gifts to revisit the universities codified policies and definitions.
- Learn more about Gifts, including how to distinguish among different types of gifts, how gifts should be received, when and how gifts should be used, and who is responsible for them.
- Contact your school or department’s fund accountant for any questions regarding non-sponsored funds.
- Talk to your local Development Donor Relations Officer.
Due to COVID restrictions impacting access to campus, all Purchasing Cards (PCards) and Travel Cards (TCards) are being delivered to a secure alternative delivery site. Currently, there is no option to pick up your Stanford-issued credit card from this secure site. However, you may have the card delivered to your current location.
Please submit a support request for Stanford PCard or TCard assistance to have the card sent to your location. On the request form, follow these steps:
- Complete the form in its entirety
- Under “Please select type of inquiry,” select Card
- Under “Please describe your issue or question”:
- If you are working remotely, provide the non-Stanford address where you receive mail and attach written approval from your manager or authorized PTA financial approver to send the card to this address. The card cannot be delivered to a P.O. Box.
- If you work onsite and your Stanford business address is open and accepting mail, provide your complete Stanford building address to ensure that JPMorgan Chase has the correct one on file.
For new credit card applications
There are two options to update the delivery address on a new credit card application:
- The financial approver can include the alternative address in the “Note” field of the application’s Action section.
- The requester can submit a support request for Stanford PCard or TCard assistance providing the alternative address.
When a support request is received by the Card Services team, JPMorgan Chase will be contacted to expedite delivery to the specified address.
As per the COVID-19 interim gift policy, for work-related milestones (excluding service awards) departments may purchase an occasional gift for an employee valued up to $100 per individual per calendar year. Any amount that does not exceed the aggregate value of $100 over the course of the calendar per individual will be non-taxable. Departments are encouraged to consider purchases of Stanford branded merchandise or tangible personal property. This is an increase from the $50 maximum noted in AGM 2.2.10. Cash gifts, including VISA/AMEX gift cards are always taxable to the recipient. The COVID-19 interim policy is permitted only when allowed by the unit policy and the current budget. For further details about qualifying uses, please see the Administrative Guide Memo 2.2.10 section 5.
Group Meals, Events and Gatherings
When holding occasional business meetings and department/unit gatherings, the departments should follow the meal guidance amounts that are documented on the Business Meals policy page.
While many staff continue to work off site during the pandemic, an employee may be given an allowance via a gift card to purchase their business meal as long as the expense is accompanied by an appropriate business purpose and it is within the local unit’s policy and current budget.
This method is also currently a permissible method for providing meals for employee morale events. This includes occasional department or unit gatherings, special events such as team-building, team planning or holidays. For more information on meal types, see the Meal Expenditure Types Resource.
Please refer to the university updated guidance for gatherings and meetings at Stanford. University funds may not be used to pay or reimburse for costs associated with activities that are not in compliance with this guidance. Learn more on the Health Alerts site.
Home Office Equipment
Guidelines for home office equipment for employees with hybrid or remote work arrangements are outlined on Cardinal at Work. Guidelines include:
- Hybrid Work Arrangements: Reimbursement program of up to $250 for basic necessary ergonomic equipment for their telecommuting/home worksite only to the extent that such equipment is recommended by Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) following an ergonomic assessment.
- Remote Work Arrangements: A one-time taxable payment of $750, included as part of the employee’s paycheck, to purchase basic home office equipment to ensure a productive and safe home work environment.
Employees should review the guidelines on Cardinal at Work and consult with their manager or local Human Resources for specific procedures for home office equipment.
In response to the circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic, payment networks (Visa, MasterCard, etc.) may have changed some proposed policies, rules, and fee changes which can affect credit and debit card acceptance activities.
COVID-19 is driving the demand for payments that reduce physical contact at the point of sale. More merchants are accepting contactless payments now than before the outbreak. Our EMV capable Point-of-Sale (POS) terminals can already process contactless payments using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Both contactless card and mobile wallet enabled smartphones communicate payment information directly when hovering closely over the NFC-enabled POS terminals. Benefits of contactless payments:
- Fast: Enables faster and more convenient transactions
- Secure: Transactions are protected by encryption technology and minimize fraud
- Safe: Avoids physical contact with the POS device
Here are some guidelines to help merchants prepare as campus reopens:
- Examine each POS terminal thoroughly to look for possible tampering or substitution
- Verify POS terminals are ready to process sales:
- Perform the required updates when the devices are powered on
- Reconfigure customer signature options
- Run a test transaction to ensure the device is functioning properly
- Consider installing a stand with a transparent physical barrier at the checkout
- Review receipt management procedures and offer email/text receipt options if possible
- Provide hand sanitizers or wipes for customers to use wherever key touch is unavoidable
- Encourage “contactless” payments wherever possible
- Do not place overlays (e.g. plastic wrap) around the devices for protection as it can result in skimming fraud
- To learn how to maintain a clean payment environment and equipment, see Resource: Point-of-Sale Merchants
- To learn more about the refund process, see Topic Overview: Issuing Refunds to Credit and Debit Cards.
The Payroll Services team is committed to supporting the university through timely updates to systems, providing new or updated guidance related to payroll activities and supporting the university through the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are the key areas of impacts related to Payroll Services (updated August 2021).
Visit Payroll Services Updates Related to COVID-19 to learn more about:
- Timekeeping for Health Check
- COVID Flex Hours
- Quarantine Pay Timekeeping Guidance
- General Payroll Processing
On March 20, 2020 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced interim Form I-9 procedures to defer the physical presence requirement as an accommodation to employers complying with state shelter-in-place requirements. Please visit the Interim I-9 page to learn more.
Postdoc Monthly Fellowships
Postdocs and other fellowship recipients who are enrolled in direct deposit will receive their direct deposits as normal by the last day of each month. An electronic remittance advice will be available from My Axess in the Student Financials Snapshot. For fellowship recipients who are not enrolled in direct deposit and who typically receive their check at their department, checks will be mailed via U.S. Mail to the recipient's current mailing address on file.
Purchasing and Contract Issues
Due to building access restrictions, delivery services such as FedEx, UPS and USPS have been unsuccessful in their attempt to deliver packages to Stanford University. For expected deliveries or until further notice, departments should:
- Contact the shipper directly to confirm delivery instructions to improve the chances of a successful delivery.
- Arrange for other pick up options with the delivery service.
Beginning on March 18, 2020, the following information will be placed on all Purchase Orders (PO):
SPECIAL SHIPPING INSTRUCTIONS FOR SUPPLIERS
Due to the impacts of COVID-19 Stanford University will have a reduced workforce which could impact deliveries.: Please verify with the requestor before delivery that they will be available to accept or to schedule a time for deliveries. For further information regarding Stanford's response to COVID-19, visit https://healthalerts.stanford.edu.
Contract and Event Guidance
The contracts team in FMS Procurement Services is committed to helping the Stanford community with contracts issues as a result of COVID-19, including the cancellation or rescheduling of hospitality agreements, such as event, hotel, venue, catering, and restaurant agreements, which have been most impacted.
Due to the potentially large number of agreements cancelled or rescheduled, the contracts team may need to prioritize those agreements that present the greatest risk to the university. In the event the contracts team is unable to assist with changes to the agreement in the necessary timeframe, departments should follow these guidelines for mitigating risk:
Departments should review the terms of the agreement so that they understand their rights. Some agreements have protective terms that, if the department provides sufficient written notice, allow for cancellation with no or limited fees. Alternatively, some agreements allow for rescheduling within a specific timeframe at no cost to Stanford. When negotiating agreements without the assistance of the contracts team, departments should only negotiate business terms (e.g. price, dates, quantity, service to be performed, etc.). Departments should not attempt to negotiate terms with higher risk implications such as intellectual property (IP) rights, indemnification, insurance, data security, etc. If terms with higher risk implications need to be addressed, departments should reach out to the contracts team for assistance.
Department Request to Cancel or Postpone
Departments can try to negotiate with the supplier to cancel or reschedule the event. Typically, it is easier to reschedule with no additional fees than it is to cancel. For instance, departments can suggest rescheduling the event within a certain timeframe (e.g., a year, six months, etc.) either with no penalty or for reduced penalties.
If a supplier is unwilling to cancel the agreement at no cost, departments should ask for an exception due to unusual circumstances. Based on the contracts team’s experience, many suppliers will be flexible in unusual circumstances like efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
When a department reaches an acceptable solution, departments should document the negotiated resolution in an email to the supplier in order to avoid payment disputes in the future.
In order to best protect the university during the COVID-19 response period, the contracts team will be particularly vigilant in reviewing hospitality agreements. What this means is that depending on the terms of the agreement and due to COVID-19 concerns, the contracts team may ask the department if they are sure they would like to move forward.
For More Guidance
If the department is in a situation where the supplier is unwilling to negotiate, they should reach out to the contracts team in FMS Procurement Services and the team will assist in order of priority. For questions about specific transactions, departments should contact the Contracts team.
Tracking and Reporting Financial Impact
Financial impact from COVID-19 is defined as a specific instance of a financial loss or gain directly attributed to the outbreak and/or associated measures taken by the university. Financial impact tracking is essential so that the university can accurately and effectively track COVID-19 impacts, continue to make informed decisions and request available insurance and federal disaster relief funding.
Visit Tracking the Financial Impact of COVID-19 for information on:
- Tracking and Reporting Financial Impact in Oracle and OBI
- Tracking Impacted Time in Outlook
- Tracking through Unit Level Financial Impact Reports (FIR)
Travel Policy and Issues
Before booking travel, always check the Health Alerts Information for Travelers for the university's latest information regarding any travel restrictions due to the pandemic. For travel on July 15, 2021 and later, including guidance on vaccination status and traveling, see the travel guidance statement on Health Alerts.
As a reminder, effective June 15, 2020 the university has implemented a new, permanent university-sponsored travel policy stating that university funds may be used to purchase or reimburse new university-sponsored travel expenses only when booked through one of the Stanford Travel booking channels: Casto, Egencia, United Corporate Direct, StudentUniverse and Anthony Travel (used exclusively by Athletics). This policy applies to Stanford faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars and students booking airfare, hotel, and/or car rentals. Visitors and guests are not required to use Stanford Travel. Learn more about Business and Travel Expense policies.
Sharing Lodging Accommodations
Each traveler must have separate sleeping quarters, unless they are members of the same household. No more than two people from different households may share the same bathroom. After the COVID-19 crisis, this policy will be reviewed and may be updated. For more information about lodging, visit the Lodging Policy page.
Ground Transportation Extension
Ground transportation for university-sponsored travel, usually limited to 200 miles or less for a round trip, is temporarily extended for round trips of up to 300 miles due to the impact of COVID-19.
For travel plans and expenses that were impacted by COVID-19, visit the Managing Expenses Related to Travel Cancellations resource, which contains guidance on:
- Managing flight cancellations and exchanges
- Managing unused nonrefundable airline tickets
- Managing conference cancellations and reimbursements
- Expensing for cancellation fees
- Accruing expenses for the current fiscal year