format_list_bulleted Topic Overview

Bank Accounts and Services

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. 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.

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. Visit How to: Request an Outgoing Wire Transfer or ACH Payment for more details.

Check Payments

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.

Stanford departments receive a wide variety of receipt types including cash and checks. Checks managed by depositors 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 depositing such as sponsored receipts to Office of Research Administration and 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 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.

Accepting 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.

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 Cash Management to ensure that proper procedures and controls are observed, unless an exception is requested and agreed from the OOT. FMS 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 the OOT. Submit a support request to Cash Management containing:

  • Amount of transfer
  • Currency of transfer
  • Bank account name and number
  • Receiving 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) information (if applicable)
  • Who pays the transaction fee (Stanford, or Recipient, or Shared)
  • Debit account name and number

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.

Other Transfers

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.

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.

Account Maintenance

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/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 all account and signer information that 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. 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.

Last Updated: Nov 23, 2022