The university encourages payment by electronic transfer such as wire or Automated Clearing House (ACH) for receipt of payments. Cash or checks are still acceptable forms of payment and the following instructions are designed to aid schools and departments receiving cash or checks for deposit.
All receipts must be deposited into a university lock box or bank account either by using mobile deposit, mailing to the general lock box, scanning by remote desktop deposit or depositing in person at a bank branch. Processing and depositing instructions vary depending on the type of receipt (designated income, sponsored projects, gifts, etc.). The topics below detail the guidelines and current best practices for properly depositing these types of revenue receipts.
To streamline posting to the general ledger and reconciliation for these deposits, department-level online access to CASHNet and staff setup is strongly encouraged. CASHNet should be used in lieu of manual transmittals and branch deposits if at all possible.
Departments should use Stanford CASHNet for online deposit preparation prior to making a deposit. For information on using CASHNet.com, refer to How To: Process and Deposit Department Receipts. Department personnel should submit a support request for initial set-up for online department access to Stanford CASHNet. Once this form is submitted, the Payments Office will then contact the requester to arrange set-up of the Department's Stanford CASHNet account. This process will take five to 10 business days.
Financial reports should be reviewed on a monthly basis to ensure all receipts are properly credited to the correct account. The use of sequentially numbered receipts or other log mechanisms are recommended. Copies of all checks, transmittal forms, and backup documentation should be kept by the department and filed with the respective receipt or verification for reconciliation of reports with the amount submitted.
Separation of Duties
Separation of duties is a crucial internal control that helps safeguard Stanford assets. No singular person should be responsible for the entire cash receipt process. The responsibilities for receipt, custody, recording, and reconciliation of cash receipts should reside with different individuals whenever possible. Report any suspected fraud or misappropriation of funds to department management, Cash Management and the Internal Audit Department (650-725-0074) as appropriate. Review the Topic Overview: Fraud Prevention for further details.
Rather than receiving a check, departments can provide electronic payment instructions to students, customers, donors, agencies, and sponsors. This can replace cash and checks being sent in by mail. Either a wire or ACH electronic payment is acceptable and a transmittal or CASHNet deposit form is required. Email your deposit confirmation to the Payments Office. View the Topic Overview: Incoming Wire and ACH Instructions.
Stanford provides multiple options for the receipt and deposit of funds.
- Mobile Phone Deposit: Checks can be deposited using the Wells Fargo CEO Mobile deposit app through a smartphone. See more information about the mobile option below.
- Mail-In: As an alternative to physically visiting a Wells Fargo branch, FMS offers a Lock Box mail-in solution for all department checks received. See more information about the mail-in option below.
- Branch Deposits: The Wells Fargo Tresidder branch is closed, however, most other Wells Fargo branches are open for business. Check times of operation. Deposit slips are required for this method. If unavailable, utilize one of the other two options above.
Mobile Phone Deposit Option
Departments may request access to Mobile Deposit by submitting a support request to the Treasury team and providing an authorized manager's written approval.
Wells Fargo offers a mobile app to deposit checks using the phone's camera, which is compatible with iPhone and Android devices. Once the setup is completed by OOT and Wells Fargo bank, users will take a picture of the front and back of each endorsed check and send them to the bank for processing. It is critical that the project, fund, and object code are written on the front of the check. For step-by-step instructions on the updated mobile deposit platform, see the Fingate news page.
Once the checks have been deposited, please email the Payments Office to let them know of the deposit and attach a copy of the CASHNet deposit or transmittal. After the checks have been successfully deposited, please keep them locked in a secure place as they contain bank account information, which is considered high-risk data. Checks should be securely kept until a bank reconciliation is completed, after which they may be destroyed by shredding or an equivalent method.
More information about the Wells Fargo application can be found on the Wells Fargo website.
A "Lock Box" is a separate client mailbox in a bank's processing center that is among many client mailboxes. The bank collects paper checks and back up documentation on behalf of their clients and then makes deposits based on their instructions. Using the Wells Fargo CEO bank portal, department personnel can view images of the checks and accompanying documentation, or access reports to monitor their deposits.
CASHNet deposit information is still required to be forwarded to the Student Financial Services (SFS) Payments Office with this deposit option.
To make deposits via the Stanford Main Lock Box:
- Prepare checks by endorsing them using a stamp, or if you don't have access to your stamp, write "For Deposit Only to Stanford University" on the back of the check with the appropriate project, fund, and object code included on the front of the check.
- Create the CASHNet deposit or transmittal that you ordinarily would if depositing checks at a Wells Fargo branch. Print a copy of the Cashnet deposit or transmittal form.
NOTE: A separate bank deposit slip is not required for general lockbox deposits.
- Place checks along with the CASHNet deposit or transmittal into a regular letter-sized envelope so that it can fully seal, even if that means splitting the checks up among multiple envelopes. Overnight packages (FedEx, UPS, etc.) cannot be accepted by a Lock Box processor, so use USPS only. Departments will want to be sure that the checks are mailed via standard mail and must have correct postage.
Mail the envelope(s) by USPS to:
PO Box 843899
Los Angeles, CA 90084-3899
- Each document received by Wells Fargo bank will be scanned in color on both sides and available for viewing on their CEO bank portal.
- The Student Financial Services Payments Office will post the deposits as usual from the Lock Box scanned items and reports.
- If you would like access to view the scanned deposits online, submit a support request to the Treasury team to be added to the Wells Fargo online portal. CEO access is limited to two users per department.
For more information:
- General Wells Fargo Lock Box information is available on the Wells Fargo website.
Departments receiving cash or checks on a regular basis should submit a support request to Cash Management to determine the best method of processing.
Request Payment Alternatives to Cash
Safeguarding checks is easier than safeguarding cash, and electronic payments are the safest of all so always encourage payment via electronic transfer. For smartphone access to deposit checks, submit a support request for Mobile Deposit Access.
When checks are received, they should be immediately endorsed on the back with "For Deposit Only to Stanford University.” The appropriate project, fund, and object code (for revenue transactions) or project, task, award and expenditure type (for expenditure credit transactions) should be recorded on the front of the check. All checks should be made payable to Stanford University. If a check intended for Stanford University is made payable to an individual, it may be refused for deposit by the bank and have a complicated impact on tax reporting for Stanford and the individual. In the event that this happens, please request the check to be reissued to Stanford University instead.
For checks drawn on foreign banks, take the endorsed check with the appropriate PTA printed on the front to Wells Fargo Bank. A teller will accept the check, explain the foreign exchange process, complete a Collection Item Receipt form, and provide a receipt for the check. It may take six to eight weeks for the check to be processed by the foreign bank and substantial fees will be deducted from the final deposit amount. For these reasons, foreign check acceptance is discouraged in favor of an electronic transfer of funds. For guidance, submit a support request to Cash Management.
Process Same Day
Cash and check receipts should be processed as soon as possible, preferably on the same day they are received. In any interim between receipt and deposit, cash and checks should be secured in a cash box or other locked container with copies of sequentially numbered receipts to validate the total cash and checks that should be available. Be aware of stale dates printed on checks. Even if no stale date is printed, checks automatically stale-date in 180 days.
Checks returned by Stanford's depositing bank (e.g., for insufficient funds) are sent to the Office of the Treasurer (OOT), which posts it to the returned check account. Subsequently, the Student Financial Services (SFS) Payments Office charges the depositing unit via journal entry for the value of the returned check and sends an image of the check back to the unit. It is the responsibility of the depositing unit to collect any outstanding amounts. Access to cash and checks should be restricted to individuals with appropriate fiscal responsibilities included in their job descriptions.
Do not send unendorsed checks through interdepartmental mail. Non-sponsored project receipts may be sent to the correct department through interdepartmental mail after the check has been endorsed. Sponsored receipts should be sent by USPS as indicated in the section on sponsored research below. Checks must be in a second sealed envelope inside the ID envelope.
Do not send cash through interdepartmental mail. Non-sponsored project receipts made via cash may be hand-delivered to the appropriate office as indicated in the processing instructions. Contact the Department of Public Safety (650-723-9633) to set up an escort schedule if the amount is substantial or additional safety precautions are appropriate.
Policies and Procedures
Department Managers should facilitate development and implementation of their own departmental policies and procedures for handling cash and checks.