Software Purchasing

Effective 11/13/2023, Stanford Financial Management Services (FMS) implemented new software purchase policy guidelines for PCard usage.

The H&S IT team's goal is to provide consultation/guidance to help you meet the new purchase requirements set forth by FMS. Before attempting to purchase software with a PCard, the first step is to determine if the software is already available via other campus purchasing methods. You can do that by visiting the following websites:

If you found your software on either of those sites, great! Just follow the purchasing instructions you found there. If you didn't find your software, then you're ready to take the next steps. Please note, you must get approval before making the PCard purchase.

What are the steps?

Here's a simplified overview of the steps you'll take:

  1. Submit a ticket with H&S IT. After you submit the ticket, you'll receive an email with additional detailed instructions about all the remaining steps (the steps are also outlined below for reference).
  2. Submit a Data Risk Assessment (DRA) pre-screening form. The Information Security Office (ISO) and University Privacy Office (UPO) co-manage this review. Your answers to the DRA pre-screening will determine whether a more comprehensive DRA review will be required. Once you receive the result of the DRA pre-screening, you'll attach it to the ticket you opened in step #1.
  3. Submit an Accessibility Risk pre-screening form. The Office of Digital Accessibility (ODA) manages this review. Once you receive the result of the accessibility pre-screening, you'll attach it to the ticket you opened in step #1.
  4. H&S IT now has the information we need to approve your request. We'll update the ticket you opened in step #1 and we'll notify you.
  5. Now you can make your purchase. Once the purchase is complete, submit all supporting documents to the person who processes/reconciles your PCard transactions.


H&S IT is working with FMS and UIT to answer several outstanding questions. This FAQ will be updated as answers are provided to us and as new questions are asked.

Q: Can I purchase software with a personal credit card and get reimbursed?

A: This is highly discouraged, but it's technically allowed. But even if you want to use a personal credit card, you still need to follow all the same guidelines/steps outlined above and get approval before making the purchase.

Q: I pay for my software on a PCard and the invoice is on a monthly renewal. Do I need to get approval every month?

A: We don't anticipate that you'll need to seek approval every month. However, we do anticipate that you'll need to request approval again at some point in the future when you renew your contract/purchase (e.g., perhaps once per year).