COVID-19: FMS Updates Related to Coronavirus >

Overview: Buying and Paying for Services

On this page:

Methods for Buying and Paying for Services at Stanford

There are multiple methods for purchasing services at Stanford.

Use this method: When / if:
Zip Purchasing
(Non-Catalog Requisition) via iProcurement system

Service provider accepts purchase orders and will invoice Stanford.

Note:  Items that meet the criteria may use a lease agreement. A lease agreement is established when Stanford funds are used to rent, borrow or use a product or services for a specific period of time. A lease must include an identified asset and be under Stanford’s control. To learn more about lease agreements, see Overview: Equipment or Real Estate Leases.

Purchasing Card
via PCard module of Oracle Financials system
Service provider accepts credit cards, fee for services is under $5,000 and service is not available in SmartMart.
via iProcurement system

You are buying certain services (e.g., catering) through the SmartMart catalog.

Note:  Real estate leases are no longer permitted as non-PO requests.

Non-PO Payment Request
via Expense Requests system
You are paying a supplier directly for certain services (e.g., honoraria, human subjects, moving and temporary living expenses, etc.)
back to top

Use of Strategic Service Providers

Stanford partners with several key suppliers to ensure best pricing and service for commonly ordered services. Use these strategic suppliers when buying:

back to top

Purchases Requiring Review by Contracts Group

Stanford's Terms and Conditions as stated on Purchase Orders sufficiently constitute the contractual agreement between Stanford and the supplier in most cases. In some cases, however, special terms and conditions and/or a bilaterally signed agreement may be required to protect Stanford. Cases related to the purchase of services may include:

  • loan of equipment or other tangible items
  • commissioned work when the results for the work may be copyrighted
  • blanket purchase orders, where services are delivered repeatedly over time

See Overview: Purchases Requiring a Bilateral Contract.

back to top

Services Requiring Special Consideration / Treatment

Purchase of certain services requires understanding of specific policy. Examples include:

Services Special Considerations / Treatment
Consultants and Contractors

The determination of whether a worker is classified as an employee or as an independent contractor is related to whether employment taxes are withheld and paid by the employer. See Employee versus Independent Contractor Status.


For capital projects over $50,000, expenditures which improve or add to the value of the asset, or extend the useful life of the asset are capitalizable as part of the project's cost. All other costs must be expensed. See Cost Guidelines for Capital Project.

Web-based Applications

Suppliers providing web-based applications through direct purchase or custom development, must be informed of Stanford University Online Accessibility Policy and complete the Stanford Accessibility Procurement Template.

To request assistance from a representative of the Stanford Online Accessibility Program, complete the Web Accessibility Support Request form.

TIP:  Use the Buy Pay Guide and look for the caution symbol Caution - See also: Payments to Scholars, Residents, Fellows for need–to–know policy when buying certain services.

back to top

Related Information

back to top