Stanford Procurement Services offers a variety of purchasing and payment methods to best meet the diverse needs of the university and are in compliance with policy and procedures. All university expenditures must adhere to signature and financial approval authority policies.

iProcurement is Stanford’s primary method for purchasing goods and services. Within iProcurement, users have access to shop from Amazon Business, SmartMart catalog suppliers and submit non-catalog requests.

Amazon Business in iProcurement

Amazon Business in iProcurement is the recommended and preferred purchasing method at Stanford, providing the well-known Amazon user experience. Amazon Business offers free 2-day shipping on Prime-eligible items, a broad product selection and direct interface to Oracle iProcurement for checkout, requisition approval and payment processing. Amazon Business provides access to all items available on the standard Amazon.com site plus additional business-specific items available to all Amazon Business account members. Learn how to purchase goods using Amazon Business

SmartMart in iProcurement

SmartMart refers to Stanford's online ordering system in iProcurement, which includes products offered from suppliers specifically contracted by the university. SmartMart is recommended for goods not available in Amazon Business. SmartMart currently includes over forty suppliers, selling office supplies, lab supplies, chemicals, radioactives, computer software and hardware, compressed gases, capital equipment, tax-free alcohol, industrial supplies, electrical components and more. Learn how to purchase goods using SmartMart.

Non-catalog Request in iProcurement

Non-Catalog requisitions are used to purchase a variety of goods and services not available in Amazon Business or SmartMart. All purchases require business unit financial transaction approval to ensure proper use of funds and compliance with university policy. Depending upon the type of purchase and dollar value, additional approvals may be required by central administrative staff with the proper signature authority. In some cases price or terms may need to be negotiated and documented in a formal contract to protect Stanford (e.g., the right to recourse for failure to perform). Learn how to purchase goods and services using iProcurement Non-catalog Requests

Refer to the following information pertaining to the purchase requisition process:

Purchasing Cards

The Stanford Travel Card (TCard) is the preferred payment method for travel expenses. A Stanford Purchasing Card is a university-liability MasterCard issued to individual Stanford staff or department custodians that allows schools and departments to charge authorized Stanford related expenses up to a maximum of $4,999 per purchase.

Stanford University staff is prohibited from "splitting" purchases that exceed $4,999 into multiple Purchasing Card charges. Approved Purchase Requisitions/Purchase Orders should be used for purchases exceeding $4,999.

For more information about the application process, university policy, PCard roles and responsibilities including transaction verification process, see Topic Overview: Stanford Purchasing Card (PCard) Program.

Travel Cards

Stanford Travel Cards (TCards) are recommended for payment of travel and travel-related services required for the conduct of university business. A Stanford Travel Card is a university-liability MasterCard issued to individual Stanford staff or department custodians. Travel expenses charged to the Stanford Travel Card will be paid directly by the university to the credit card issuer. All expenses charged to a Travel Card must be reported in an expense report following travel and allocated to the appropriate PTA account. 

For more information about the application process, university policy, TCard roles and responsibilities including expense reporting process, see Topic Overview: Stanford Travel Card (TCard) Program.

There are times when Stanford may need to make payment to a supplier or other type of payee directly for certain expenses that do not warrant a formal purchase order or for which negotiation by the Purchasing department adds no value, e.g., business meals, dues, government fees, permits, etc. These types of payments are made via Non-PO Payment Requests in the Expense Requests system and payment delivery method may be direct deposit (ACH electronic) to a U.S. bank account or by check.

Non-PO Payment Requests should only be used for certain types of business expenses that are not appropriate for other purchasing and payment methods. For example: 

  • Conference Registration Fees
  • Dues and Subscriptions
  • Employee Training
  • Fees (e.g., entry fees, escheatment, permits, insurance, taxes, Visa fees)
  • Food and Catering services (except when a signed agreement is executed, which requires a purchase requisition)
  • House Dues
  • Honoraria
  • Human Subject Incentive
  • Postage
  • Prizes and Awards
  • Refunds
  • Relocation expenses
  • Royalties
  • Special Request (e.g., fundraising, shared PPV (High Wire), direct payment to local hotel
  • Tuition Grant Program (TGP) and Stanford Tuition Reimbursement Program (STRP)
  • Transportation

Refer to Guidelines for Use of Non-PO Payment Categories for more detail.

Note that some expenses may be related to foreign activity and must be recorded as such. Refer to Guidelines – Foreign Expenses, for help in determining if a Non-PO Payment qualifies as a foreign expense.

New suppliers or payees must be set up in Stanford’s vendor management database before a Non-PO payment request can be processed. During setup, new suppliers and payees are provide a link to a secure portal where they enter/upload confidential data (e.g., Social Security number, bank account number, other government forms, etc.). School/department staff request new suppliers and payees using the Supplier and Payee Request Portal.

For more information about getting access to the Expense Requests System to create Non-PO Payment Requests including authority, training, how-to instructions and more, see Learn About: Expense Requests System.

Per Administrative Guide Policy 5.4.1: Advance Expenses, the use of cash advances is expected to be rare, but may be appropriate to further university business under certain circumstances. For example, advance funds may be paid directly to Stanford staff, faculty, or students prior to travel or as a part of a Human Subject study.

For more information about the purpose and use of advance funds, advance types, qualifications for requesting advances and the process of requesting an advance, refer to Topic Overview: Advances.

Stanford staff, affiliates and visitors may use their personal funds to pay for authorized university business expenses and then submit a reimbursement request through the Expense Request System. Authorized use of other purchasing and payment methods are recommended as an alternative to using personal funds.

Prior to spending personal funds and requesting reimbursement, refer to the following to ensure proper use of university funds:

For more information about getting access to the Expense Requests System to create Expense Report/Reimbursement Requests including authority, training, how-to instructions and more, see Learn About: Expense Requests System.

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