format_list_bulleted Topic Overview

Purchase Order Invoice Processing

This page provides an overview of invoice processing in order to support schools and units in efficiently and effectively processing invoices to pay suppliers. Suppliers may reference the Topic Overview: Do Business with Stanford for related information and actions they are responsible for with regard to invoice processing. 

To ensure timely and accurate invoice processing and payment per the terms specified on the purchase order (e.g., Net 30 days from the date of the invoice) by Accounts Payable, preparers should confirm that: 

  • The supplier completed their record and included all government forms and confidential data through Stanford’s Supplier and Payee Request Portal or Supplier and Payee Registry (depending on the supplier/payee type).
  •  The charges are appropriate for the account and that the PTA is valid both at the date of invoice creation and at the time of upload. Refer to Topic Overview: View PTA Details for Oracle Business Intelligence (OBI) reporting tools that can be used to research PTA details. 
  • The PO has sufficient funds to pay the invoice. If the invoice amount exceeds the available balance on the PO, the invoice cannot be processed and will be placed on hold. Refer to the Requisition and Purchase Orders Query tool to view PO details such as the total amount remaining on the PO.
  • The document is an invoice, not a quote, order acknowledgement, sales receipt or packing list.
  • The invoice is addressed to Stanford University and includes a remit to address, which must match the address in the supplier’s record.
  • There is a Stanford Purchase Order (PO) Number referenced on the invoice and the invoiced items must match the lines on the purchase order. If the quantities differ, or if lines on a purchase order have been combined on the invoice, the school or unit must provide instructions for invoice processing. 
  • The appropriate additional approvals or certification of certain purchases are complete.

Certain purchases require departments to complete additional steps to process invoices. If the below actions are not taken, the invoice will be placed on hold by AP and the originator will receive an email notification with instructions to release the hold.

Type of Invoice Action Required
Capital Equipment (via SmartMart or non-catalog orders)

Receiving is required for this type of invoice.

Goods or services $5,000 or greater

This type of invoice requires departmental approval. 

Two options are available:

  • Receiving is completed before invoice receipt (see above), or,
  • When the requisition preparer or authorized approvers upload invoices, they will see a checkbox noting Invoice approved for payment which serves as department approval. If someone other than the requisition preparer or authorized approver uploads an invoice, the checkbox is not visible and uploaded invoices would then be placed on hold for department approval (see below).

Once goods/services have been received/rendered respectively in accordance with university policy, suppliers may submit invoices (indicating the appropriate Stanford purchase order number) to Stanford through one of the options below. Invoices for purchases made through Stanford's SmartMart Catalogs are electronically sent by the supplier to AP for payment processing and the invoice copies are not visible to schools and units in Requisition and PO Query tool, but the invoice details can be searched for and viewed in SmartMart Catalog Suppliers.

To avoid confusion and duplication of efforts, please use only one option to submit an invoice. To confirm that AP received the invoice for processing, please submit a support request

Method When to Use Directions for Supplier
Email invoice For the most efficient invoice processing, suppliers can submit invoices by email. 

The supplier emails invoices in individual PDF files (one invoice per PDF) and can attach multiple PDFs, if needed by email to: @email. PDF files containing multiple invoices will not be processed. 

Please do not use the body of the email for questions, comments, or other correspondence. Only the attachments are viewed.

Refer to How To: Email or Mail an Invoice to Accounts Payable for more information.

Upload invoice Departments can, at their discretion, require the supplier to submit invoices directly to the department for review and uploading. Departments must upload invoices on behalf of suppliers when:
  • The invoice requires wire payment through a foreign bank and in a foreign currency. AP can make a payment through a select list of foreign currencies.
  • The invoice requires a rush, wire, or will call payment
  • The invoice needs to be matched with specific PO lines on a multi-line PO.
  • The invoice is associated with a subaward and documented department approval is required. 
The supplier provides the invoice to the school or unit department contact, who uploads the invoice directly to the PO using the Requisition and Purchase Order Query tool. Refer to How To: Upload an Invoice for more information.
Mail invoice As mentioned above, in most cases suppliers should email the invoice or have the school or unit upload it on their behalf. If the invoice is mailed, suppliers should factor in additional time for post office processing.  The supplier mails invoices to the following address (See How To: Email or Mail an Invoice to Accounts Payable for more information):
Stanford University Accounts Payable
P.O. Box 20410
Stanford, CA 94309-0410
United States

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 that is printed on the invoice). Departments may also request rush, wire, and will call payments to pay suppliers. A $35 payment handling fee will be charged. 
  • Payments are in compliance with federal, state, and local tax laws and regulations. Proper taxes are also withheld as necessary, and transactions are properly reported.
  • If a department needs to take action on an invoice that is placed on hold, the preparer and department uploader (if applicable) are sent a notification. 

At that point, unless additional approval is required (see section above), the invoice is processed. To request an invoice be placed on a department invoice hold, departments may submit a support request to the Accounts Payable (AP) team,  including in the support request, the PO number, invoice number, and reason why the hold is being requested. To ask the AP team to release a department invoice hold for payment, departments should submit a support request with a reason why the invoice can now be released. Please note that a request to release a department invoice hold will not release other invoice holds (e.g., insufficient amount on the PO) that might currently be on the invoice. 

Please note: The above invoice submission methods do not apply to certain suppliers who submit invoices directly to Accounts Payable (AP) or other departments without a PO for utilities or certain recurring services. For questions related to these exceptional invoice submission methods, please submit a support request

From the time an invoice is submitted to the time it is paid, transaction preparers and approvers may want to check the status. The payment status of an invoice can be either Paid or Pending. If the payment status is Pending it will have a hold status of either On Hold or No Hold. If status is No Hold, it will be paid automatically according to the terms, generally Net 30. If it is On Hold, the hold needs to be cleared before payment will be made.

Tools to Monitor Invoice Status:

  • OBI Dashboard: Procure to Pay Dashboard and Reports (P2P)
    • The Procure to Pay at a Glance report shows On Hold invoices in one section and Pending invoices (both On Hold and No Hold) in a different section.
    • The Purchase Order and Related AP Invoices report shows AP Invoice payment status and hold status for all invoices related to a selection of Purchase Orders.
    • Drilling on an AP Invoice Number in any P2P report displays details about status. 
  • Oracle Inquiry Tools: Requisition and PO Query: Images of uploaded invoices (but not electronic invoices), payment status, and hold status can be viewed using the Requisition and Purchase Orders Query tool to search by requisition number or purchase order number and then scrolling to the Invoice Payment Details section on the PO Details page. For instructions on using this tool, refer to How To: View Requisitions, Purchase Orders or Invoices.
  • Pending Transactions: Powered by Incorta, provides a consolidated, integrated tool where users can obtain information in one place about all of the pending purchasing and business expense transactions related to them and in certain situations, click to take action. Learn more on the Pending Transactions reporting page.

An invoice may be placed on hold by Accounts Payable and require action to release the hold. Refer to Resource: Managing Invoice Holds for a table of the most common types of invoice hold notifications that require action, what they mean, and how to release the hold.

This Resource page also includes descriptions of invoice holds that do not prompt a hold notification email and typically do not require action, but may display in the Hold Reason field of the Requisition and Purchase Orders query tool. 

Last Updated: May 2, 2024