A supplier is an individual or organization that provides goods or services to the university on an ongoing or one-time basis.
A visitor payee is an individual (domestic or international) who is invited to Stanford to speak, collaborate, and/or study and who may be eligible for payments such as travel reimbursements and honoraria.
Before a purchase or payment is made, the supplier or visitor payee must have an active record in the university's supplier/payee database.
Schools and units should check to see if a supplier or visitor payee is active in the Supplier Query and Request System before making a new request. If the supplier exists in the database, the requester may use that existing supplier record to complete their transaction requests (purchase requisition, Expense Reimbursement System (ERS) request) or they may request an update to the supplier record.
As an alternative to setting up a new record, domestic visitors may be reimbursed for non-tax reportable travel expenses of $1,000 or less through Digital Payments. To learn more, refer to the Topic Overview: Digital Payments.
The process for setting up a new supplier or visitor payee record includes the following five steps:
Before selecting a supplier, schools and units should refer to Topic Overview: Selecting a Supplier to assess the supplier setup requirements and risk implications of engaging a new supplier.
Additionally, schools and units must understand and comply with policies governing how suppliers are selected at Stanford (Administrative Guide 5.1.1: Procurement Policies) and overall purchasing policies and guidelines.
Visitor payees are individuals (domestic or international) who are invited to Stanford to speak, collaborate, and/or study. Learn more on the topic overviews for inviting and paying domestic and foreign visitors. Visitors may be eligible for travel reimbursements and honoraria. Refer to Topic Overview: Selecting a Supplier to learn about other common types of visitor payments.
After verifying that the supplier or visitor payee requires setup, the Stanford department preparer starts the setup process by submitting a request. See How to: Make a Supplier or Payee Request. Reviewing this guidance will help to ensure all required information is submitted up front and will expedite the request process.
When filling out the Reason for Request field in the Supplier Query and Request tool, it is advisable to include a brief description that answers the below questions. While these are geared toward a supplier, similar questions should be considered when inviting and paying a visitor:
- Who at Stanford is engaging with the supplier or visitor payee?
- What good or service is the supplier/visitor payee providing?
- What is the duration of the engagement?
- Any details not included in the other Supplier Query and Request form fields
Before or immediately after submitting a new record request, schools and units should advise the supplier or visitor payee that they will need to prepare and provide standard documentation (which is outlined in the next step) in the university’s secure portal. This will help prepare the supplier or visitor payee for a smoother and more efficient onboarding experience.
The requester can monitor the status of their setup request through the Supplier Query and Request tool. See How To: View Pending Supplier or Payee Requests. Refer to Resource: Supplier or Visitor Payee Request Statuses to learn about each of the status labels and any actions the preparer or supplier or visitor payee needs to take to expedite the setup process.
Once a school or unit submits a request for a new supplier or visitor payee record, Vendor Services will email an onboarding invitation to the supplier or visitor payee directly. For foreign visitor requests, the preparer may choose to serve as the authorized agent, in which case they will receive and respond to the onboarding invitation on behalf of the payee.
Once the supplier, visitor payee, or authorized agent (if applicable) has accessed the secure portal, they will need to provide the relevant information and upload any required documentation.
The department requester should notify their supplier contact or visitor payee that they will receive an onboarding email invitation. Onboarding email invitations are deactivated if the supplier or visitor payee does not respond within 30 days. To reactivate a request after 30 days, contact the Financial Support Center.
Supplier Setup Documentation
Valid and detailed documentation is critical for maintaining compliance with federal and state laws and for mitigating risk to the university. Common documentation required during the supplier set up process may include:
- Tax documentation such as an IRS Form W-9 or W-8, which shows the payee’s tax entity type (e.g., individual, LLC, corporation) for reporting purposes.
- Payment method validation information, such as a bank letter or copy of a voided check, which confirms the account is open, valid and in the supplier or visitor payee’s name.
- Contact information allows the university to identify and contact the supplier or visitor payee with questions or updates. For suppliers, this includes a company email address, preferably with a company domain, and is unique wherever possible (i.e., not a shared email account) to prevent email fraud.
Some of the required documentation may be confidential in nature (e.g., banking information, voided checks). Stanford will send a secure onboarding invitation directly to the supplier or visitor to properly collect this information.
Certain types of payees may need to provide additional documentation, such as passports, tax treaty information, immigration documentation, or visas, which helps ensure that payment details and tax withholding can be appropriately configured in compliance with laws, regulations, and policies. The requirements for major categories of supplier and payee records are described in the table below.
Additional required documentation may include certificates of insurance (COI), depending on the work being performed. More information about supplier insurance requirements is detailed in Stanford’s Purchase Order Terms and Conditions.
|Supplier or Visitor Category||Required Documentation||Why is This Necessary?|
|US (Domestic) Businesses: This category includes US-based independent contractors.||
|Non-US (International) Businesses: This category includes non-US independent contractors.||
|US (Domestic) Visitor: Are not university employees and may be eligible for small payments, such as travel reimbursements. These visitor payees can include honoraria and human subjects||
|Non-US (International) Visitor: This category includes non-US individuals traveling to the US or to other locations.||
To assist with the onboarding process, for:
- Individuals (domestic or foreign) and foreign companies, refer to How To: Complete a Request for Confidential Information in the Stanford Supplier and Payee Request Portal.
- Domestic companies and payees, refer to How To: Complete a Request for Confidential Information Using Stanford’s Supplier and Payee Registry.
Once a supplier or visitor payee responds to the onboarding invitation and provides all required information, Vendor Services will review and validate the record to ensure it is configured appropriately. This helps avoid delays with subsequent processes, such as payment issues arising from inaccurate payment information.
Vendor Services also performs a risk review, including confirming that the requested supplier or visitor payee is eligible to do business with Stanford and that the request and documentation conform to legal, regulatory, and policy requirements. This process helps to prevent fraud and noncompliance that could potentially jeopardize Stanford’s reputation and financial resources, including its eligibility for state and federal funding for research.
Vendor Services may reach out to the Stanford requester or to the payee directly to request additional information about documentation provided during the onboarding process. Suppliers and visitor payees should provide detailed information and complete documentation (see required documentation for each supplier or visitor category in the table above) to help avoid delays in setup. To receive assistance from Vendor Services regarding required documentation for suppliers or visitor payees, please submit a support request.
The requester will receive an email notification when the supplier or visitor payee’s record setup is complete.
All suppliers or visitor payees should immediately notify Stanford of any changes to essential business information, such as address, contacts, change in ownership or payment method. If the supplier or visitor payee has an active record in the university’s self-service system, the Stanford Supplier and Payee Registry, they are expected to manage their records proactively and may receive periodic reminders to confirm their information is current.
The updates that can be made to a supplier or visitor payee record in the university's supplier/payee database and who can make them depends on the supplier or visitor payee type (e.g., domestic individual, foreign individual, domestic company or foreign company). To learn more, refer to Topic Overview: Managing the Supplier Relationship and Record, which includes information on monitoring the supplier engagement once the work on the product or service has begun, potential early termination of a supplier engagement, as well as required updates to supplier records.