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The Procurement Services department within Financial Management Services is committed to purchasing practices and policies that are compliant, responsible and appropriately support the university's goals and mission. Accordingly, those who are making purchases on behalf of or doing business with the university, must follow the applicable purchasing policies and guidelines. The Topic Overview: Purchasing and Policy Guidelines provides more information about purchasing at Stanford.

This article provides helpful guidance on recent updates and common questions that the Purchasing and Contracts Team receives about purchasing policies and processes. For recent business expense-related news, refer to the Business Expense Updates and Hot Topics article. For guidance on common questions that the Travel Team receives about booking travel, visit the Stanford Travel Updates and Hot Topics article. 

For general help with purchasing and contracts questions, contact the Financial Support Center

Added September 2022

OmniCard, LLC, the supplier that supports purchases of gift cards, was recently acquired and their name has changed to Blackhawk Network Inc. This name change has been implemented in Oracle Financials. Though the supplier name has changed in Oracle Financials, continue to place and track your gift cards orders on the OmniCard website using your existing OmniCard account. 

Existing Purchase Orders

There is no action needed to continue using existing purchase orders (PO) to process invoices. The new supplier name, Blackhawk Network Inc is now showing in the Requisition and Purchase Order Query tool instead of OmniCard, LLC. To review any aspects of your existing purchase order, you may continue to search for your active PO by using the PO number. 

For New Purchase Orders or Changes to Existing Purchase Orders

When creating a non-catalog request in iProcurement, please search for and select Blackhawk Network Inc. Please note that OmniCard, LLC will no longer appear in Oracle Financials.

To learn more about the policies and processes for gift card purchases, refer to Topic Overview: Categories of Purchases. For questions regarding this supplier name change, please submit a support request

Added August 2022

The Purchasing News sidebar (see screenshot below) on the Oracle Financials iProcurement page was recently updated to feature a direct link to this Purchasing and Contracts Updates and Hot Topics page, which has the latest news on all purchasing systems, policies and processes.

Purchasing News sidebar screenshot

 
The Resources section within this sidebar was also updated to include links on how to use the iProcurement systems. Additionally, links to Oracle Financials applications, like Requisition and Purchase Order Query, were removed since application links can be accessed three ways:

1. Launch It From the Oracle Homepage From the SU Inquiry Tool and Forms

From the Oracle home screen, select SU Inquiry Tools and Forms to access Oracle application links. Right click on the application link to open it in another tab or window.

Screenshot of SU Inquiry tools access from Oracle home screen.


2. Add Application Links to Favorites Menu in the Oracle Home Screen

Refer to the Managing Favorites → Adding Favorites section in Oracle Basics Guide to learn how to add application links to your Favorites menu (see screenshots below from the Oracle Basics Guide). There is an option to open the link in a new tab or window when adding application links to Favorites menu. 

Screenshot of Adding Favorites tool from the Oracle Basics Guide

 
3. Bookmark Application Links Within Your Browser

Application links can be bookmarked within your browser for easy access (see screenshot below).

Screenshot of adding application link to browser


For further assistance on accessing Oracle application links, please submit a support request

Added July 2022

What Changed and Why

The name of the non-catalog request type, Standard Change Order - Blankets and Contracts, has been changed to Standard Change Order - Blanket or Service to clarify that all contract amendment requests must be initiated and submitted in the SmartMart Contracts system in iProcurement. See screenshot below.

Procurement Services made this change to align the non-catalog request forms with the contract amendment request process at Stanford. The SmartMart Contracts system provides the university community with better visibility into the entire procurement contracts process while enabling Procurement Services to process new contract and amendment requests more efficiently and accurately.

screenshot of standard change order name change


What Actions Do Preparers Need to Take?

All contract amendment requests must be submitted through the SmartMart Contracts system. Procurement Services is no longer processing contract amendments initiated as a non-catalog request. 

PTA changes that do not involve a contract amendment can still be initiated as a Standard Change Order - Blanket or Service non-catalog request. To learn more about changes that can occur on an active purchase order, refer to Topic Overview: Purchase Order Process. 

Learning Materials and Other Resources

For more information on how to submit a contract amendment request through SmartMart Contracts, refer to How To: Amend a Contract. Other learning materials include: 

For more specific questions, please submit a support request

Added July 2022

What Changed and Why

The question “Does your attachment(s) require Stanford Procurement signature?” has been removed from the iProcurement non-catalog request form (see screenshot below). 

Procurement Services made this change so that all purchases of goods and services that require a Stanford signature (including $0 agreements) are initiated in SmartMart Contracts, the new system for managing procurement contracts at Stanford. The SmartMart Contracts system provides the university community with better visibility into the entire procurement contracts process while enabling Procurement Services to process contract requests more efficiently and accurately. It also provides easy access to a signed copy of a contract. This system is available within SmartMart, alongside the existing SmartMart Catalog Suppliers feature. 


What Actions Do Preparers Need to Take?

All purchases of goods or services that require a Stanford signature must be initiated and submitted as a contract request using the SmartMart Contracts system. Procurement Services is no longer processing contract requests initiated as an iProcurement non-catalog request. 

Any Standard Goods, Standard Services, or Standard Blanket non-catalog requests that do not require a signature can continue to be initiated as a non-catalog request in iProcurement. 

Learning Materials and Other Resources

For more information on how to submit a contract request through SmartMart Contracts, visit the Learn About SmartMart Contracts system page on Fingate. Other learning materials include: 

For more specific questions, please submit a support request

Added June 2022

University policy requires that the purchase of goods or services be by competition between suppliers to the extent possible based upon the requirements of quality, price and performance. Competitive purchasing practices include conducting research into potential suppliers and their prospective solutions and pricing. This process is outlined on the Topic Overview: Selecting a Supplier.

How Does the New Sourcing ID Field Assist With the Competitive Supplier Selection Process?

All financial approvers in the approver routing list (not including FYI Viewers) will now see a new Sourcing ID field (see screenshot below) that indicates the type of supplier sourcing selection (e.g., competitive bid, single source justification, or sole source justification) that was made on:

  • Purchase requisitions $25,000 or greater
  • Change order requisitions that increase the original purchase order to $25K or greater 

Purchase requisition preparers will not see this new Sourcing ID field, so there is no change to how they complete and submit the requisition.

New Sourcing ID Field


The selection sourcing method that is populated in the field is determined by the purchasing team after completion of their review of the requisition. It's important to note that this new field should provide the most accurate supplier selection determination for financial approvers based upon the purchasing team’s review of the documentation submitted with the transaction.

Why Did Procurement Services Make This Change?

The Financial Management Services (FMS) Purchasing Team added the new Sourcing ID field to:

  • Further ensure a competitive supplier selection process for purchases $25,000 or greater, in accordance with university policy.
  • Provide approvers with greater visibility into how the supplier was selected to assist with a thorough review and assessment before financial approval occurs. 

Finally, the new Sourcing ID field supports the critical role that financial approvers play in the university’s financial ecosystem. In addition to serving as a major line of protection from risk, approvers are responsible for ensuring proper financial stewardship and documentation of expenses. 

What Actions Do Approvers Need to Take?

In addition to examining the competitive supplier selection attachments that are required for purchases $25,000 or greater, approvers should also review and note the Sourcing ID determination from the Procurement Services team.  

After reviewing both the attachments and Sourcing ID determinations, financial approvers can:

  • Request that the preparer provide additional information or documentation for a more thorough competitive supplier selection process
  • Make a more informed decision on whether they should approve or reject the purchase requisition based on the provided documentation

For additional information on the purchase requisition approval process, financial approvers can refer to How To: Approve or Reject a Purchase Requisition and the Resource: Expenditure Transaction Approval Checklist. New or seasoned approvers can also use the Approver Toolkit, which provides financial approval basics, learning materials, and other resources to help approvers perform their responsibilities for the university. For more specific questions on the new Sourcing ID field, approvers can submit a support request.

Added April 2022

Financial Management Services (FMS) launched new resources in early 2022 to support purchasers. Be sure to review the following new or refreshed supplier related pages:

These recent Fingate updates also address feedback we received from the 2021 Client Satisfaction Survey to improve these processes. Read the article, Turning Feedback Into Action, to learn about other improvements FMS has planned to support the supplier lifecycle end to end. 

Added March 28, 2022

A new Payee Email field is now available in the Supplier Query and Request Tool for new foreign visitor requests. In the past, only the university requester was sent the Secure Portal email invitation so they could serve as the foreign visitor’s Authorized Agent.

The requester now has the option to enter the foreign visitor’s email address in this new Payee Email field to directly send the Secure Portal email invitation to the foreign visitor. Alternatively, requesters can click a box indicating that they do not have an email address for this foreign visitor or do not want them to receive the Secure Portal email invitation, so that the requester will act as the Authorized Agent

payee email screenshot


For step-by-step instructions, refer to the Make a Supplier or Payee Request

Added March 2022

Faculty, staff or students who need access to many Oracle Financials systems, such as SmartMart Contracts, SmartMart Catalog Suppliers, must complete the new Financial Stewardship Expectations course. The course helps ensure that university resources are used appropriately, in support of the mission, and comply with policies, laws, and sponsor or donor intent.

New employees should take the 10-minute course as a part of their onboarding process, and current faculty, staff or students must take the course by May 9, 2022 to maintain access to these systems. Those who have been identified as needing to take the course have been notified by FMS Communications and pre-enrolled in Stanford’s Training and Registration System (STARS). 

The Financial Stewardship Expectations course requires annual recertification, which helps foster a shared understanding amongst the university community of the key concepts that are foundational to our stewardship of university resources. Learn more about the course in the Fingate Announcement.

Added March 2022

With the millions of dollars of purchases made each year at Stanford, purchasers play a key role in protecting the university from risk, stewarding it's financial resources and supporting overall time-savings and efficiency. 

With the variety of options and unique needs of your department, FMS recognizes that purchasers need guidance and resources to make the best choices and support financial stewardship.

A new Purchasing Primer events series has been rolled out to provide guidance on choosing the best purchasing method for specific purchasing needs. Two upcoming information sessions in this series include:

  • How to Purchase in Amazon Business and SmartMart Catalog Suppliers | April 5, from 10-11 a.m. 
  • Reviewing the Purchase Order Process at Stanford | May 10, from 10-11 a.m. 

Visit the Procurement Services Events Fingate page to register for these and other upcoming events. 

Added March 2022

On March 15, 2022, Stanford Financial Management Services officially launched a new feature within SmartMart called Contracts to manage procurement contracts. 

SmartMart, a system within iProcurement, offers two primary features: 

  • SmartMart Contracts, which will be used for most purchases of goods and services that require Stanford signature, regardless of dollar amount, including zero dollar agreements.
  • SmartMart Catalog Suppliers, which will continue to be used by schools and departments to purchase goods from suppliers that have special pricing provided to Stanford.

For more information about the project, learning materials and other updates, review the SmartMart Contracts project news page

Added February 2022

The SU-13 Interdepartmental Request form is used when schools, departments or units purchase products interdepartmentally. It was previously available as a hard-copy, triplicate form. FMS recently converted this form, which is available on Fingate, to a downloadable, fillable PDF for ease of use. 

 

Added February 2022

After receiving feedback asking for improved guidance on how to make purchases at Stanford, FMS refreshed several purchasing-related Fingate pages. 

These updated and new resources clarify why and when certain purchasing methods are preferable. When purchasers make more informed and thoughtful choices about which method to use, they directly impact collective efforts to ensure financial stewardship excellence. 

All of these pages are available from the main menu: 

purchasing content accessible through main menu

Added February 2022

Financial Management Services recently improved how Purchasing Cards (PCards) are requested and managed. These changes make the application process more efficient and user-friendly, and also provide more guidance on managing spending limits, which reduces the risk associated with these university-liability credit cards.

New and reissued PCards will also have a new design.

Learn more about these improvements in the Fingate Announcement.

Added February 2022

The Purchasing Card (PCard) is a university-issued, university-liability credit card created to offer an expedient way of purchasing items that are needed right away or, like food or other small dollar occasional business purchases, are not available through Amazon Business or SmartMart Catalog Suppliers.

Learn about recent clarifications to PCard policy, which purchases are permissible on a PCard, and when iProcurement is a better choice, in the Fingate Announcement. 

Added February 2022

The form to make a supplier or payee request in Oracle Financials will look slightly different starting February 14. As one of several Oracle enhancements launching that day, the left navigation menu on the Supplier Query and Request Form within SU Inquiry Tools will be represented by icons.

Screenshot of updated Supplier Query and Request Form navigation menu


Click the “hamburger” button in the top left corner to see a description of the three menu icons, which include:

  • Search/Maintain Payees
  • Request New Payee/Supplier
  • View Your Pending Requests
"Hamburger" menu navigation

 

Click the hamburger button again to remove the menu icon descriptions. 

Icon view of navigation


To save time, click one of the three icons directly to access that menu item.

Added January 2022

About the New My Approvers Feature

The My Approvers feature, which is already available in the Expense Requests System (ERS) and PCard system, is now available in iProcurement.

My Approvers allows users to add sets of approvers and FYI recipients (in a pre-defined order), to their preference settings. Once added, users can select these sets from a drop-down menu in the approvals sections within the three systems. Additionally, approver sets are shared across all three systems.

Note: Authorized PTA approvers, such as PTA owners and end-route approvers, will remain intact within the iProcurement systems even if additional approvers are added. Oracle Financials uses the account structure to identify authorized approvers based on the PTA account(s) included in the transaction. The systems are configured so that the correct end-route approver for the PTA will still provide final approval on purchase requisitions. 

Instructions for Adding Approvers in iProcurement: 

Step 1: Add approver sets to iProcurement Settings → Preferences  → My Approvers:


Step 2: After approver sets are added to My Approvers iProcurement Preferences, select an approver set from the My Approvers drop down menu within the Approval section on your purchase requisition:

My Approvers instructions screenshot -step 2


As a reminder, preparers of requisitions and expense requests should frequently review and update their approver preferences to ensure:

  • The right combination of approvers and FYI recipients are reviewing the appropriate transactions
  • Transparency in all transactions with internal stakeholders
  • Employment status changes to their preexisting approvers reflect any authority changes.

Key Benefits of My Approvers Feature

  • Save time: This feature saves users time as different approver sets can be created to support charges to specific work effort (e.g., operations, projects) and associated Project-Tasks-Awards (PTA) accounts that are used on an ongoing basis. 
    • For example, users can create a “Lab Purchases” approver set, specifying the approvers and order of approvals within that group, that can be used for all lab purchase requisitions going forward instead of specifying the approvers for each lab-related purchase order requisition. 
       
  • Manage risk: Financial approvers play a critical role in the stewardship of university funds.  In addition to ensuring proper documentation of each expense, as documented in AGM 3.2.1, Responsibility for University Funds, financial approvers are responsible for verifying that expenditures charged to their PTAEs are:
    • Reasonable and necessary
    • Consistent with established university policies and practices
    • Consistent with sponsor or donor expenditure restrictions

This feature helps transaction preparers manage their list of approvers efficiently and effectively according to the needs of their transaction, creating a consistent review of purchases.

Fingate Resources to Learn More 

How to use the My Approvers feature: 

Added January 2022

Previously, when a requisition or a purchase order number was copied and pasted into the Requisition and Purchase Order Query tool from an external source (i.e., an Excel spreadsheet) or from within the tool itself, an extra space was erroneously added after the pasted number causing the requisition or purchase order to produce invalid or failed results. This issue has been resolved. 

Now, if a requisition or purchase order number is copied and pasted into the Requisition and Purchase Order Query tool from an external source or from within the tool itself, it should generate a search result for that requisition or purchase order.

If you have any questions regarding this issue, please submit a support request

Added December 2021

Effective immediately, Praxair has merged, and their name has changed to Linde Gas & Equipment Inc. Our Supplier Enablement Team has implemented this name change in Oracle Financials.
 
Existing Purchase Orders
There is no action needed to continue using existing purchase orders (PO) to process invoices. The new supplier name, Linde Gas & Equipment Inc, is now showing in the Requisition and Purchase Order Query tool instead of Praxair. To review any aspects of your existing Purchase Order, you may continue to search for your active PO by using the PO number. 
 
For New Purchase Orders or Changes to Existing Purchase Orders
If you need to create a new or change an existing purchase order with this supplier, please search for and use Linde Gas & Equipment Inc instead of Praxair in the Supplier Query and Request tool.

If you have any questions regarding this supplier name change, please submit a support request

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