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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Why does the University require a potential vendor authentication process?

Florida State University requires that all firms selling goods or services be evaluated for our current supplier database. All vendors must be responsive and responsible vendors and agree to accept the University’s terms and conditions and provide required federal reporting data. The University reserves the right to decline a request to add a new vendor and may determine that it’s not in the best interest of the University, if the goods or services are already available from a University preferred contract or Florida State eMarket participating vendor, or is listed in the U.S. Government Excluded Parties List System. An approved vendor is one that, at a minimum, meets many of the vendor selection criteria (i.e. pricing, billing terms, order fill rate, return goods policy, etc.) established by the Purchasing Services Department. Purchasing Services strives to ensure a diverse supplier base that is responsive, responsible, and qualified to meet the business requirements of the University.


How long does this process take?

For potential PO vendors, the process normally may take 2 days or less. For orders that require expedited handling, contact Purchasing Services Vendor Relations. For non-PO vendors, contact Disbursement Services Vendor Relations. Please remember, if a vendor is not entered and approved in a timely fashion, this alone does not constitute a confirming order. Occasionally, the process may take longer if the vendor is harder to contact or obtain the required information.


Will departments receive notification during the different vendor stages? (i.e. when the Purchasing Services Vendor Authentication Form has been received, and when the Vendor is approved in the OMNI Financial System)?

For potential non-PO Vendors, Disbursements will let the department know if a vendor cannot be entered into the system. Otherwise, the department should check OMNI after a few days to find the vendor number. For potential PO vendors, if the vendor is denied based on information on the authentication form, the department and vendor will be notified by Purchasing with a reason. If the vendor is approved, the department will be notified with the vendor ID number.


Can I still use Suggest a Vendor in OMNI when creating a requisition?

Yes, you may enter the vendor information into Suggest Vendor when creating a requisition.  You may also forward the Vendor Application Authentication Form to the vendor to help in expediting the process.


Where are the forms available?

For potential PO vendors, the authentication form is on the Purchasing Services website located at: under forms titled “Vendor Authentication Form” or you may access this form by clicking on  For non-PO vendors, the vendor authentication form is located at under forms titled “Vendor Authentication/Profile” or you may access this form by clicking on .



How does the vendor submit the forms?

For protection of confidential information, the vendor may mail or fax the completed form to Payables and Disbursements for non-PO vendors or Purchasing Services for PO vendors. (Please Note: When mailing the forms, the approval process may take longer than two (2) days). The mailing address and fax numbers are on the respective vendor authentication forms through Disbursements and Purchasing Services. In order to safeguard confidential /personal information and for privacy reasons, emailing of forms is discouraged.


What should be done if a vendor has an address change or a remit to change of address?

Contact Vendor Relations at . A letter or invoice from the vendor that indicates the address change is all that is required.


What should be done if a department needs a vendor reactivated in the vendor file?

Contact Vendor Relations at . Vendor Relations will look up the vendor to see why they were inactivated. Depending upon the reason, they may activate them by having the vendor fill out a new Vendor Authentication form to capture required federal reporting data or they may deny activation due to a particular reason (i.e. vendor has been debarred or vendor is now using a different name and FEID #, and thus is considered a new vendor. If that’s the case, if they are a potential PO vendor, they would fill out the Vendor Authentication form. If they are a non-PO vendor then they would fill out the Disbursements Vendor Authentication form).


Who do I contact if I have additional questions?

Contact Vendor Relations at


For potential PO vendors contact Purchasing Services at 644-6850

For potential non-PO vendors contact Payables & Disbursements at 644-5021.


If the vendor is not a US Citizen or permanent US Resident, what should be done?

Do not complete the Vendor Authentication form. Instead, contact FSU’s Payroll Services department at (850) 644-3813.


What is the process for a foreign vendor?

Foreign vendors will not be required to fill out the Vendor Authentication form as a PO vendor or non-PO vendor.


Instead, they should refer to the IRS instructions and forms for foreign businesses found at the link provided below.

After completion of the required form, send the original, signed document to either Payables and Disbursement Services (if a non-PO vendor) or Purchasing Services (if a PO vendor). Note: The Vendor Relations team will check all the necessary resources to ensure no federal or state restrictions exist on the foreign entity before we enter them in to our vendor file.


If it’s an individual and they are not a US Citizen or permanent US Resident, they should not fill out the Vendor Authentication form, but instead should contact FSU’s Payroll Services Department at (850) 644-3813.


Here is a link to instructions for the different W-8 forms to consider and choose from:



Consider the following, when choosing the proper W-8 form to use:

  • Form W-8BEN (use if other W-8 forms are not applicable)
  • Form W-8ECI is applicable if the foreign entity has a trade or business in the United States;
  • Form W-8IMY is applicable if foreign entity acts in the capacity of a custodian, broker, nominee or any other person that acts as an agent for another person; or
  • Form W-8EXP is applicable primarily when the foreign entity is a foreign government, foreign bank, foreign tax-exempt organization or foreign foundation.


Which vendors are considered foreign?

An entity is considered foreign if it is created or organized outside the United States. This includes entities that may have operations in the United States, but the parent company is organized outside the United States. Depending on the type of payment, all payments made to or on behalf of a foreign entity are generally subject to income tax withholding unless specifically exempted either by U.S. tax law or an income tax treaty. Generally, payments not exempt from withholding are subject to 30% federal income tax withholding, in accordance with IRS regulations.


What should be done if a foreign entity objects to FSU’s terms and conditions?

If a foreign business takes exception to any of the University’s Purchase Order terms and conditions, once a PO has been issued to them, they should immediately contact Purchasing Services and relay the particular term(s) and condition(s) that they take exception to so that we can determine whether it is something the University would be willing to either waive, change or not agree to. The same goes for any U.S. Business or individual that receives a purchase order from FSU.


What is the process for an Honorarium?

Honoraria is the gratuitous payment of money to an individual for his or her participation in an activity for which no fee is legally required, and when no contractual obligation exists, such as lecturing, teaching, and sharing knowledge. (If the intended recipient elects not to participate, he or she is free to withdraw from participation at any time, without notice to FSU, and the University will be without recourse of any kind). It is, in essence, a “thank you gift” from Florida State University. If the fee is prescribed by the individual or if it is negotiated, an honorarium situation does not exist, rather a contract for services exists.  Honoraria are considered taxable compensation to recipients, thus the individual’s social security number or tax ID number is required.


Requisitions where the description is Honorarium (or where the category code is Honorarium is selected) must include the following information:


  • Name of Honorarium Related Event (HRE). 
  • Date(s) of HRE.
  • Date(s) of participation by the honorarium recipient.  
  • Role of honorarium recipient (e.g. guest speaker at a seminar, workshop or academic course; academic colloquium participant, etc.)


Individuals eligible to receive honoraria are those who are recognized authorities or experts in the field of endeavor that is the subject matter of the HRE. 

For true Honorariums the requesting department should fill out the Honorarium Certification Statement form located on the Purchasing Services site at under forms. The individual receiving the honorarium can either provide a W-9 or contact Vendor Relations through Purchasing Services and ask for a Vendor Authentication form to fill out. Here is the link to the W-9 Form: 

Please note:   Honorarium payments are allowable charges to federal awards if it is demonstrated that such payment was for a specific activity that benefited the research project.   All expenses charged to a grant must be allowable per Florida State University and Federal guidelines. Accordingly honorariums should be requested prior to the event in case alternate method of payment is required.

The payment of an honorarium may not be used in lieu of a consulting agreement or independent contractor as a means of paying compensation for professional services.


Current FSU employees may not be paid honoraria, and that payment of an honorarium to a former employee (within the last year) must have the prior written permission of the University’s Tax Administrator.


Note: If Paying an Honorarium to a non-U.S. citizen/non-resident alien working in the U.S. – Contact Payroll Services directly.


What is the process for Artists or Entertainers?

If the artist or entertainer is self-employed, they can either provide a W-9 or contact Vendor Relations through Purchasing Services and ask for a Vendor Authentication form to fill out. If the artist or entertainer is employed through a company (i.e. Dance Company) then the company the University is paying would just need to complete a Vendor Authentication form from Purchasing Services Vendor Relations. Here is the link to the W-9 Form:

Note: If paying an individual that is an artist or entertainer directly, and they are a non-U.S. citizen/non-resident alien working in the U.S. – Contact Payroll Services directly.


What are the requirements concerning the use of Social Security numbers?

The request for SSN or other Taxpayer identification Number by FSU Finance and Administration is mandated by 26 U.S.C. 6041 and related IRS regulations.


Please be aware that Florida State University collects Social Security Numbers from individuals, in lieu of a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), if a FEIN has not been issued by the Internal Revenue Service for the individual/firm applying as a vendor with the University.


In order to establish a vendor number in FSU’s database for you or your firm as a vendor, you must provide your firm’s Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). If no FEIN exists, the Social Security Number of the owner or individual must be provided. To comply with Section 119.071(5) of Florida Statutes relating to the collection of an individual’s Social Security Number, be aware that Florida State University requests the Social Security Number for the following purposes:



  • Identification of individual account records
  • To make payments to individual/vendor for goods and services provided to Florida State University
  • Tax reporting purposes
  • To provide a unique identifier in the vendor database that may be used for searching and sorting departmental records.

If you have any questions about the collection and use of Social Security Numbers at FSU, please visit:


Does this process affect all vendors in the vendor file currently?

No, it only affects new vendors that could potentially be added.


Does this new process affect the vendors that are going through SRAS as subcontracts?

No, they are not required to fill out the Vendor Authentication form. Instead, these vendors work with SRAS and SRAS will forward a Vendor Profile form specifically for subcontract vendors to Purchasing Services Vendor Relations to be entered into the vendor file.


Will this affect the University’s Supplier Diversity Initiative (the process of selecting a Minority or Women Owned Business)?

This process will have no affect on the University’s Supplier Diversity Initiative. You will still be able to suggest a vendor as you have always done in the past.


Will this new process affect P-card Vendors?

No, it will not.