Bank accounts are defined as any account with a financial institution that holds funds of the university. Best practices are followed to safeguard the university's assets, minimize risk, and prevent potential financial losses.
Only authorized Financial Management Services (FMS) Office of the Treasurer (OOT) staff of the university may open a bank account. Anyone with financial responsibilities associated with the university should understand and follow these requirements.
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) but excludes Stanford Health Care. 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.
These controls, 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.
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. OOT will provide a collaborative evaluation with the business unit to establish the need for the account in the context of existing banking services.
Bank Account Maintenance
Changes to the bank account, signatories, address, services, or authorized online users must be submitted timely and in writing to OOT. The authorized department financial manager responsible for the bank account or their designee should submit a support request to OOT whenever a change occurs.
Annually, OOT will submit a letter of attestation to each department responsible for maintaining bank account maintenance to validate manual and electronic 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 (CO) 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's Office. 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 at the university and may be obtained from OOT or CO.
Bank Account Records
OOT maintains a bank account database to meet regulatory requirements. The database identifies relevant details, such as signatories, account numbers, and opening/closing 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 the completeness and correctness of information for all account and signer information that OOT has on file.
Adding Services to an Existing Bank Account
Services, such as online bank transaction reporting or bank statement access, may be added for bank accounts or sub-accounts by submitting a support request to 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 OOT from the business unit's financial manager by submitting a support request. OOT may review and close bank accounts that are inactive for more than 1 year.
Other Bank Account Support
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 OOT.
Stanford departments accept a wide variety of receipt types including cash and checks. Checks received by department staff for deposit include designated income (must be related to mission) such as registration fees, and reimbursements to Stanford (non-salary related) such as PCard personal charges. Many receipts go to central offices for actual bank depositing such as sponsored research receipts to Office of Research Administration or gift donations to Office of Development. For more information, see Types of University Receipts. Several options are available for the receipt and deposit of funds.
Checks and Cash
For general guidance, please review the Topic Overview: Deposit Cash and Checks.
In efforts to continuously improve the processes and systems that make up the Stanford financial ecosystem, Financial Management Services is rolling out enhancements to how cash and checks are deposited. As of November 24, 2022 the CASHNet system is no longer used for this type of transaction activity. For more information on the cash and check deposit efficiencies, check out the news page Cash and Check Deposit Enhancements for important updates.
Incoming Wire Transfer and ACH
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.
Accepting Credit and Debit Cards
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.
Stanford Procurement Services offers a variety of purchasing and payment methods to best support the university’s mission as efficiently as possible while ensuring that the university meets its compliance requirements.
These methods can facilitate payment via check, or electronic payment, depending on the transaction type. Learn more on the Topic Overview: Wire Transfers and ACH Payments. Outgoing payments can also be made via check in certain systems, however, electronic payments are preferred over check payments as they require less processing and are more cost effective.
All transfers of funds to operating accounts (exclusing Stanford Management Company investment accounts) controlled by Stanford University outside the United States must be processed through OOT Cash Management to ensure that proper procedures and controls are observed, unless an exception is requested and agreed from the OOT. Payment Services is responsible for the transfer of 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. Requests to transfer funds to Stanford University accounts outside the United States should be presented in writing to OOT. Submit a support request form get assistance with Cash Management and the form should contain:
- Amount of transfer
- Currency of transfer
- Receiving bank name and branch routing information (if applicable)
- Receiving bank account name and account number
- Receiving bank address (city, state or province, country)
- Desired effective date of the transfer (value date)
- Accounting information (PTAE from which funds are to be transferred)
- Swift/IBAN number
- Intermediary Bank or Beneficiary (if applicable)
- For Benefit of (FBO) information (if applicable)
- Description of payment
- Who pays the transaction fee (Stanford, Recipient, or Shared)
- Debit account name and number (defaults to Stanford main bank account if not specified)
Separate Legal Entities
If the transfer is to be sent to a Stanford University entity with its own legal structure, and OOT has current documentation on file, the request should be accompanied by an invoice from the receiving entity requesting the funds. Please note that payment may only be made once OOT has compliant documentation on file.
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.
Annually, Stanford assesses whether any checks issued remain unclaimed, i.e., they remain uncashed. The check information, along with the funds, is submitted to the state per state law. If you are aware of any unclaimed property (outstanding checks or balances on stored value cards), please submit a support request to OOT. For further details, review the Topic Overview: Outstanding Stanford Issued Checks (Escheatment).