About Purchasing @ Stanford

While "Stanford" is often used to refer to the University, the Hospital and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, these are three separate institutions with their own purchasing and payables processes. The information presented in this web site pertains only to the purchasing and payables processes for Stanford University.

On this page:


University Purchasing Process

University staff initiates the acquisition of products and services. They choose the product or service needed, and the method of purchasing, in compliance with policy and procedures. Depending on the type of purchase, suppliers will interface directly with staff within the initiating school/department or with Stanford University Purchasing and Contracts staff. To learn more about Stanford University's order process, purchasing methods, requirements, and restrictions, see Understanding Stanford University's Order Process.

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Schools and Departments: Roles & Responsibilities

After identifying a need for a product or service, staff within Stanford University schools and departments must:

  • Understand and follow University purchasing policies
  • Determine appropriate purchasing methods
  • Initiate purchase requisitions / orders
  • Obtain appropriate departmental approvals
  • Follow University procedures for receiving and invoice processing, instructing suppliers to mail invoices to Accounts Payable at:
    Stanford University
    Accounts Payable
    3145 Porter Drive
    Palo Alto, CA 94304
    Mail Code: 8440
    (Note:  in cases where the ordering department elects to have the supplier send the invoice to the department, the ordering department must then forward the invoice to Accounts Payable.)

To learn how suppliers interface with school or department staff and the Purchasing and Contracts Department, see the Order Process Overview.

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Purchasing and Contracts Department: Roles & Responsibilities

The goal of the Purchasing and Contracts Department is to support schools and departments in the acquisition of products and services for Stanford University at the lowest total cost of ownership. Specifically, the Purchasing and Contracts Department:

  • Proactively works with campus staff to assure the effective management and delivery of quality procurement services
  • Designs, implements, and trains campus staff on effective procurement processes
  • Maintains suitable sources of supply by facilitating supplier outreach for campus requirements and ensuring equal opportunity in University business contracting
  • Establishes competition wherever practicable including assisting in the development of procurement specifications, soliciting and processing requests for quotations, conducting negotiations for price, terms and conditions, and where necessary, conferring with counsel for advice and resolution of matters
  • Establishes annual price agreements and contracts in accordance with sound procurement practices. Such contracts and agreements include participation in specialty contracts and consortium agreements
  • Administers and maintains purchase records for federal, state and internal procurement audits
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Accounts Payable Department: Roles & Responsibilities

Once goods and services have been approved and received in accordance with University policy, the Accounts Payable Department ensures that:

  • Invoices, once received in Accounts Payable, are paid in accordance with the terms specified in the purchase agreement
  • Payments are in compliance with federal, state and local tax laws and regulations, proper taxes are withheld as necessary, and transactions are properly reported
  • If an invoice is placed on hold, Accounts Payable notifies the ordering school or department contact person of required action
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