format_list_bulleted Topic Overview

Do Business With Stanford

This page provides important information for current and potential suppliers to the university, including:

  • Information about Stanford as a customer
  • An overview of the university’s purchasing process and policies
  • An overview of supplier expectations and requirements

For university staff looking for guidance on selecting and onboarding a supplier, refer to Topic Overview: Selecting a Supplier as well as Topic Overview: Setting Up a New Supplier or Payee

Stanford University is a place of learning, discovery, expression, innovation, and discourse. Founded in 1885, Stanford’s areas of excellence span seven schools along with research institutes, the arts and athletics. Stanford’s faculty, staff and students work to improve the health and wellbeing of people around the world through the discovery and application of knowledge. 

Stanford works with both domestic and international suppliers who play a key role in helping the university make an impact toward its mission.


When engaging with Stanford, suppliers are expected to: 

  • Provide dependable products and services
  • Deliver goods and services as promised, with no substitutions
  • Offer competitive prices
  • Communicate effectively 
  • Resolve issues in a timely manner
  • Comply with purchasing, shipping, and invoicing procedures
  • Supply a Certificate of Insurance, if requested
  • Adhere to Stanford policies and guidelines
  • Conduct all negotiations and activities transparently and in good faith

Refer to the current Stanford Purchase Order Terms and Conditions and Policy and Initiative Information for Suppliers for more information.

Values and Integrity

Stanford University is an institution dedicated to the pursuit of excellence and fosters an environment consistent with this goal. Central to that institutional commitment are the principles of treating each university community member fairly and with respect, and embracing diversity and inclusion. 

All Stanford community members, including Stanford’s suppliers, must conform with university policy, including the Code of Conduct and the policies on Conflict of Commitment and Interest (including the Faculty Policy on Conflict of Commitment and Interest). Any known or apparent violation of these policies, whether by an employee or a supplier, must be immediately reported as directed in these policies. 

Relationships between Stanford and its suppliers must be free of any real or perceived impropriety or favoritism. University community members may not solicit any gift, and may not personally accept any material gift, gratuity or payment, in cash or in kind, from any supplier seeking or currently doing business with the university. The School of Medicine has a special policy related to medical industry suppliers

Some examples of circumstances that may create a conflict of interest are:

  • A university employee is also an employee, officer or adviser of the supplier's organization
  • A university employee or immediate family member has a financial interest in the supplier
  • A supplier offered a material gift or favor to a university employee

While “Stanford” often refers to the university, the hospital and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, they are separate legal entities, each with its own purchasing and payment processes. The information here is only about purchasing and payment processes for Stanford University.

Suppliers Interested in Doing Business with Stanford University

Most often, university staff within schools and units initiate supplier sourcing and the acquisition of products and services. Depending on the type of purchase, suppliers will interface directly with staff within the initiating school or unit and/or with Procurement Services.

It is up to the supplier to make their products and services known to schools and units who may have a need for them. Suppliers can find contact information on the Stanford University website or specific school, unit or department websites.

Supplier Setup and Onboarding

In order for suppliers to be eligible for a purchase order or contract, they will need to be set up as a new supplier in Stanford’s central supplier database. As part of this onboarding process, suppliers go through a compliance and risk assessment. 

Accurate supplier records are an important part of Stanford’s ability to manage purchase orders, payments and compliance with policies and regulations. The Vendor Services team oversees the setup and maintenance of supplier records in the university’s financial systems.

New suppliers are activated after the following steps are completed:

1. School or Unit department
  • Identifies the need to purchase goods/services or to issue a payment
  • Moves through the supplier selection process, including discussing requirements, risks and value of a new supplier engagement with internal stakeholders 
  • Requests setup of a new supplier or payee record for potential suppliers
  • Coordinates with their supplier to ensure required information is provided in a timely manner 
2. Stanford Vendor Services Initiates an email invitation to the potential supplier to register in the Supplier Onboarding Portal.

Note: The email invitation is deactivated if it is not returned within 30 days.
3. Supplier Submits the required information in the Supplier Onboarding Portal. See a table of common types of required documentation in Setting Up a New Supplier or Visitor Payee.

Note: To ensure a faster, more efficient supplier onboarding process, suppliers should submit complete and accurate information. If Vendor Services needs additional information, they will reach out directly to the supplier. 
4. Stanford Vendor Services Reviews and validates the setup information and finalizes the supplier profile.

Note: After validation, the supplier profile becomes active for use in purchase orders or payment requests.
5. Supplier Manages their records proactively, including notifying Stanford immediately of any changes to essential business information, such as address or payment method. See below for more guidance. 

Once a purchase requisition is approved, a purchase order is issued to the supplier. Receiving a purchase order from Stanford carries with it the obligation to supply the ordered goods/services at the agreed-upon price, at the promised time and without the need for the buyer to intervene, renegotiate or request expedited service. 

Suppliers can also help Stanford by:

  • Advising if the university’s specifications for a product can be improved to provide better performance, a longer-life product and/or lower cost.
  • Providing the latest catalogs and current prices.
  • Keeping the university informed of back order situations, plant closures, impending shortages or other circumstances that may affect lead times or product/service availability.

Stanford University purchase orders are issued subject to the standard terms and conditions. Terms in any acceptance by a seller which are in addition to or not identical with these terms will not become a part of any Stanford University Purchase Contract unless Stanford specifically and expressly agrees in writing that such other terms are accepted. 

Suppliers should never accept requests for goods/services from Stanford University without a purchase order number or a university-issued purchasing card (PCard) number. University employees who are using a PCard for transactions must follow the applicable purchasing policies and guidelines as well as Administrative Guide Policy: 5.3.3 Purchasing Cards

If the transaction requires a Stanford signature, including zero dollar agreements, refer to Topic Overview: Contracts to learn about the procurement contracts process at Stanford. 

Refer to Topic Overview: Delivering Goods and Services to Stanford for information on delivering goods to a Stanford facility or providing services on-site. This guidance includes:

  • Shipping requirements
  • Parking information
  • Campus maps
  • Radioactive product handling and policies and procedures

Suppliers are expected to include the Stanford purchase order number, building address, room number, and contact person on shipping documents.

A well maintained and current supplier record helps prevent payment processing delays, inability to contact the supplier, or misunderstandings about the agreed upon goods or services. Suppliers are responsible for notifying the university of important changes to their business information, including but not limited to:

  • Points of contact, including name, phone number, email address, and physical address
  • Payment arrangements, including both payment terms and methods
  • Classification of goods sold, or scope of services performed by supplier

The process for updating a record depends on how the supplier is classified within the system:

Individuals (Domestic or Foreign) and Foreign Companies
Changes to contact information or a default payment method (check or ACH) should be made directly by the supplier or payee by contacting the Financial Support Center.  After contacting the Financial Support Center, the supplier or payee will be sent a link to access the Supplier Payee Request Portal to submit data securely. For more information, refer to How to: Complete a Request for Confidential Information in the Stanford Supplier and Payee Request Portal.

Domestic Companies
Suppliers who are U.S. corporations or other U.S.-based business entities can update and maintain their information directly within Stanford’s Supplier and Payee Registry site. Suppliers should log into their company profile on the site and submit an update or change request. Refer to the Add or Edit Profile Details section of the Learning: Supplier and Payee Registry Quick Reference Guide for instructions on initiating and submitting a change request.

Suppliers or payees that joined Stanford before November 2019 should contact the Financial Support Center to confirm whether their details were uploaded to the Stanford Supplier and Payee Registry. 

Invoices will be processed and scheduled for payment per the terms specified on the purchase order. To ensure prompt payment:

  • Invoices must be itemized and reference a Stanford approved 8-digit PO number. 
  • Packing lists, quotes, estimates or monthly statements will not be accepted by AP for payment processing.
  • Invoices must be addressed to Stanford University and include a remit to and bill to address.
  • Stanford University is not a tax exempt institution. Invoices should include proper sales tax according to product type and delivery location. Refer to Resident and Nonresident Withholding guidelines for more information.

If any of the requirements listed above are not met, or a supplier is uncertain, they should follow up with the Stanford department contact person noted on the PO. 

Submitting Invoices and Credit Memos

Once goods/services have been approved and received in accordance with university policy, suppliers may submit invoices (indicating the appropriate Stanford purchase order number) to Stanford:

  • Email invoices in individual PDF files to: @email (PDF files containing multiple invoices will not be processed).
  • Or mail invoices to:
    Stanford University Accounts Payable
    P.O. Box 20410
    Stanford, CA 94309-0410
    United States
  • Provide the invoice to the school or unit department, who upload invoice (via the Requisition Purchase Order Query Tool).

Upon receipt of an undisputed invoice, AP ensures that:

  • Invoices are paid in accordance with the terms specified in the purchase agreement (e.g., net 30 days from date of invoice).
  • Payments are in compliance with federal, state and local tax laws and regulations, proper taxes are withheld as necessary and transactions are properly reported.
  • If an invoice is placed on hold, the school or unit contact person is notified of required action.

Departments may also request AP will call checks to pay suppliers. For support with invoice processing or to update any of your information on file, please submit a support request

Stanford University does not complete individual credit application forms.

  • Suppliers can view Stanford Credit Ratings on the Stanford Bondholder website.
  • For a fee, suppliers may order a Stanford University credit report by contacting Dun & Bradstreet. Stanford University's DUNS number: 00-921-4214.

A bank reference for Stanford University may be requested by submitting a support request.

Last Updated: Aug 31, 2023