1.1 Preface

This manual continues to give the user as much information as possible in the basics of operating a service center; however there will be areas where more information or clarity on specific issues is needed. Please do not hesitate to contact the your specific Research Administration Policy & Compliance (RAPC), or your Cost & Management Analysis (CMA) service center analyst assigned to your service center or the Associate Director of RAPC.


Questions about this policy can be answered by:

Siu, Christine

Financial Management Analyst RAPC

Policy and Compliance

(650) 723-9063

1. Introduction

Stanford University conducts research under Government-funded grants and contracts. Service center activities often result in charges, either directly or indirectly, to federally sponsored grants and contracts. Therefore, service center policies and practices must reflect federal regulatory cost principles such as those contained in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular No. A-21, "Cost Principles for Educational Institutions," (A-21) and the Uniform Guidance. These principles will be called federal regulations throughout the manual.

Service centers are large and small “businesses”, providing services which are essential to support the University's teaching and research functions. Examples of centers providing support in academic schools and departments include machine shops, fluorescent-activated cell sorter facilities, specialized computing systems, microarray facility, and magnetic resonance simulator facility. Academic schools or department-level service centers are identified by their award range:

  • ACxxx in the chart of accounts.
  • Administrative or university-level service centers are assigned to award range ALxxx and they provide central services to the entire Stanford community, which includes utilities, operation and maintenance shop services, ITSS communication services and data center.
  • The VSC – Veterinary Service Center is identified by its award AKAAF.

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2. Background and Intent of this Manual

A service center manual was first issued in 1987 by Cost & Management Analysis (CMA), formally known as Government Cost & Rate Studies (GCRS), as a reference document for both new and experienced service center managers. The manual was revised in April 1995 to provide additional information and to incorporate specific changes in practices. It was revised a couple of times, with additional examples and corrections to the accounting process. The July 2005 version was issued with Oracle Financial information replacing legacy accounting practices. The July 2009 revision announced a change to a more conservative policy concerning unallowable charges. Throughout the revisions, the basic information provided in the various manuals still applies. This revision changes the service center policy addressing the UBIT 15% limitation on service center external users.

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3. Summary of Changes in University Policies and Practices

For fiscal year 2012 and after, the University Tax Officer, the Dean of Research and the Office of Research Financial Compliance and Services approved the following policy revisions addressing the UBIT 15% limitation on service center external users:

  1. Two categories of external users, Higher Education External Users and Educational Outreach External Users are excluded from the UBIT 15% service center external users limitation.
  2. Service centers have the option of calculating the UBIT 15% limitation on service center external users using billed hours or billed units in addition to the current calculation based on revenue.

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4. Other Oracle Project Resources

Service center managers also need to be familiar with the additional information located on the Stanford Oracle Financials website the various articles and links are all helpful in guiding the user through the Oracle system.  

Another site which provides online tutorial sessions for a new user of the Oracle Financial Systems is the Financial Systems Online Classroom.

Adherence to federal regulations and specific policies as described in the University’s Disclosure Statement are implicit in this policy. It is important to note that the University’s exposure from non-compliance with federal regulations may involve non-reimbursement from the government as well as adverse publicity which could harm future award applications.

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