These guidelines, together with Administrative Guide Policy 3.6.1: Bank Accounts, govern the appropriate maintenance of bank accounts and services for the benefit of Stanford University and its affiliated controlled entities. These guidelines ensure best practices are followed to safeguard the university's assets, minimize risk and prevent potential financial losses. Anyone with financial responsibilities associated with the university should understand these guidelines.
These guidelines apply to any school, department, program, center, lab, institute or other entity in which the university has an interest. This includes subsidiaries in which the university has greater than 50 percent ownership, foreign or domestic, as well as entities using any of the university's tax ID numbers (TIN). Only authorized staff identified by an official delegation of authority flowing down from the Board of Trustees may open, close, grant online or electronic/mobile access or change (maintain) bank accounts. Accordingly, only authorized financial staff of the university may request a bank account. Bank accounts are defined as any account with a financial institution that holds funds of the university.
Payments are received through banking mechanisms central to Stanford. Contact the university’s Student Financial Services (SFS) Payments Office by submitting a support request, and review the Topic Overview: Incoming Wire Transfer and ACH Payments.
The SFS Payments Office accepts payments for university bill charges and IT service telephone charges.
Request an Outgoing Wire Transfer or ACH Payment
Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments are preferred over wire transfers when funds can be electronically transferred. Staff can make requests through the Expense Request System and provide required information for disbursements to Payment Services. Review Request an Outgoing Wire Transfer or ACH Payment for more details.
Outgoing payments can also be made via check by submitting a request through the Expense Request System. However, electronic payments are preferred over check payments. Access the Expense Request System for more information on outgoing payments.
Several options are available for the receipt and deposit of funds.
Checks and Cash
CASHNet: The university's standard method of processing and depositing departmental receipts is electronically through Stanford CASHNet. Departments that receive cash or checks on a regular basis should submit a support request to the Office of the Treasurer (OOT) to arrange the most efficient method for handling receipts. For more information, review the Topic Overview: Deposit Cash and Checks and Prepare Currency for Deposit.
Mobile Deposits: The university has established a process to make check deposits using the Wells Fargo banking application on an employee’s mobile phone. For more information, review the Topic Overview: Deposit Cash and Checks.
Coded Deposit Slips: When a department chooses to deposit checks, it can request the creation of coded deposit slips. The deposit slips allow the bank to generate reports attributing the deposit to the department, facilitating tracking and booking.
Lockboxes: The university has a general use lockbox that can be used by all departments in combination with CASHNet for check deposits. Units that receive a large volume of checks may elect to open a separate lockbox. Checks are mailed to a P.O. Box at the bank specific to the department's lockbox. Check images and accompanying documents are scanned and payment data is entered for transmission to Oracle. A department can monitor activity in their lockbox by accessing the online bank reporting system. Lockboxes require a high transaction volume to be cost-effective. Review Topic Overview: Deposit Cash and Checks.
Incoming Wire Transfer and ACH Payment
Wire transfers and ACH payments are two methods of electronic payment that organizations can use to pay Stanford for goods and services. For an overview, review Incoming Wire Transfer and ACH Payment.
Accounts and Sub-Accounts: Separate bank accounts or sub-accounts may be used to separate a department's receipt activity. Separate accounts are most useful for electronic receipts such as wire transfers and ACH. Payments are sent to bank account numbers specific to each department. Cash received in these accounts flows through to Stanford's central bank account and is invested by the OOT. Departments can view a daily record of the activity in the account or sub-account by accessing the online bank reporting system. A minimum of 15 electronic receipts per month is required to justify opening a separate bank account or sub-account. Departments requesting bank accounts or sub-accounts are responsible for performing a monthly reconciliation and for the bank fees attributable to these accounts.
All transfers of funds to operating accounts (non-Stanford Management Company investment accounts) controlled by Stanford University outside the United States must be processed through Cash Management to ensure that proper procedures and controls are observed, unless an exception is requested from the OOT. Payment Services transfers payments in foreign currencies when foreign currency invoices are received for existing purchase orders.
Transfer requests must come from a Stanford employee authorized to request the transfer of funds. Such authority may be delegated to an individual from a Stanford employee with adequate spending authority limit above the amount of the transfer. The request must be accompanied with a current delegation, unless the sub-delegation is on file in Oracle. Submit a support request which must contain:
- Amount of transfer
- Currency of transfer
- Bank account name and number
- Bank name and routing information
- Desired effective date of the transfer
- Accounting information (PTA to which the funds are booked)
- Swift/IBAN number
- Intermediary Beneficiary (if applicable)
- For Benefit of (FBO)
- Who pays the transaction fee (Stanford or Recipient)
- Debit account name and number
The receiving bank account must be on Cash Management’s worldwide bank account list.
Separate Legal Entities
If the transfer is to be sent to a Stanford University entity with its own legal structure, and the OOT has current documentation on file, the request should be accompanied by an invoice from the receiving entity requesting the funds.
Requests to transfer funds to Stanford University accounts outside the United States should be presented in writing to the OOT. Submit a support request to Cash Management.
Transfers to accounts not controlled by Stanford University should use standard disbursement processes through Payment Services for payments to external parties. Submit a support request to get assistance with buying and paying if guidance is needed using the standard disbursements process.
Credit and Debit Card Payments
Stanford entities that accept credit or debit cards for products or services are called “Stanford Merchants.” Stanford Merchant accounts are centrally managed by Merchant Services (MS). For more information on the services available, review Accepting Credit and Debit Card Payments.
Most university activities requiring receipt, holding and distribution of funds can be satisfied with existing university bank accounts. If a university employee, department or affiliate has identified a business need to open a new, unique bank account, a written request must be made to the OOT by the financial manager of the requesting unit. The OOT will evaluate the business need for the account in the context of existing banking services.
Changes to the bank account, signatories, address, services or authorized users must be submitted in writing to the OOT. The authorized department financial manager responsible for the bank account or their designee should submit a support request to the OOT.
Annually, the OOT will submit a letter of attestation to each department maintaining bank accounts to validate account signatories on file. Changes to account signatories should be submitted to the OOT in a timely manner.
Bank Account Reconciliation
Authorized department financial managers are required to approve and submit completed accurate bank account reconciliations to the Controller's Office monthly or quarterly, depending on the volume of activity in the account. The frequency is expected to be monthly unless there is a written exception granted by the controller. Reconciliations for bank accounts not denominated in U.S. dollars (USD) must include a conversion to USD as part of the completed and approved reconciliation. The month-end Bloomberg mid-end of day rate is the standard used for currency conversion.
Bank Account Records
The OOT maintains a bank account database to meet regulatory requirements. The database identifies relevant details, such as signatories, account numbers and opening dates for all university and affiliated entity bank accounts. Accurate and current information is required to conform with regulatory standards. Departments are required to annually attest to all account and signer information that the OOT has on file.
Adding Services to an Existing Bank Account
Services, such as online bank reporting, may be added for bank accounts or sub-accounts by submitting a support request to the OOT.
Closing Bank Accounts
Bank accounts should be closed if they are no longer being used. Requests to close accounts should be made in writing to the OOT by the owning unit's financial manager by submitting a support request. The OOT may review and close bank accounts that are inactive for more than 1 year.
Annually, Stanford assesses whether any checks issued remain unclaimed, i.e., they have not been cashed. This information, along with the funds, is submitted to the state per state law. If you are aware of any unclaimed property (outstanding checks), please submit a support request. For further details, review the Topic Overview: Outstanding Stanford Issued Checks (Escheatment).
For further banking support, such as requesting a stand-by letter of credit, questions regarding checks, fraud, suspicious activity or international banking questions, submit a support request to the OOT.