Making a Purchase

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Are you planning on spending money on something SSI-related? If so, you're in the right place! This page will go over both how to get reimbursed and how to use the credit card form.

Step 1: Make the purchase and keep the receipt

We care about making SSI financially accessible, and that includes you never having to make a purchase you are unable to or uncomfortable making. Choose one of the two options based on what works best for you and your situation:

A) If you are comfortable fronting the money yourself and being reimbursed later, go ahead and make the purchase and keep the receipt. The importance of the receipt cannot be overstated - without a receipt, it's very difficult to reimburse. If you're buying things at home, save your receipt and try to submit it as soon as you can; if you're traveling with SSI, take a picture of your receipt in case you forget it or accidentally lose it. And when you get your receipt, check two things:

  • Is it an invoice? If so, it's not quite enough - you also need to attach a bank statement.
  • Is it itemized? Restaurants are especially notorious for this, but if a place doesn't list a breakdown of what you spent, it doesn't count. If you get one of these, go back and ask for an itemized one. If you can't get an itemized one, we can try to work something out.

B) If you are not comfortable fronting the money yourself, submit a request to the FOs to purchase it on the SSI credit card here:

Step 2: Log it on the SSI Internal Site

It's at You can log on with your Stanford ID. If all goes well, you should see this page:

SSI Internal Site Start Page.
SSI Internal Site Start Page.

If not, go to #operations-website and complain.

Once you're there, click on New Reimbursement

New Reimbursement Button.
New Reimbursement Button.

Most fields here are self-explanatory. Some notes:

  • If you used an SSI credit card (the form in part 1B), make sure to box that field.
  • If this expense was already handled somehow (this happens rarely), hit that field.
  • "Delivery Method" refers to if you want to pick the reimbursement up at Old Union or have it mailed to you. Generally pickup at Old Union is easier if you're on campus. While we've been virtual/off campus, you can go into Axess and set up direct deposit.
  • If you're confused by a field or unsure what to put, please contact @Steven Songqi Pu or @Denise Lee.
  • For the receipt images remember to include these 2 things if this is a reimbursement/not on SSI’s credit card: 1) Proof of purchase. Not just a screenshot of how much the item costs, you need to prove it got charged to your credit card. 2) Itemized receipt. If you’ve bought more than 1 thing, the receipt needs to list all those things and their individual costs.
Fields to fill out to get reimbursed.
Fields to fill out to get reimbursed.

Step 3: Fill Out an Expense Report

Most teams require that you make a detailed listing of the expenses you dealt with. They'll have a budget document in the Google drive where you can list what money you spent. Contact your coleads and they'll send you the link.

Potential Next Steps

When you submit your reimbursement, slackbot will message you to let you know! After that, it's up to the financial officers to process it, and slackbot will update you as they do so. If there's something wrong with your reimbursement, they'll also let you know! If you get a message saying your reimbursement was rejected, don't despair. There are plenty of ways to fix it and resubmit it--check the message from either the FOs, team co-leads, or SSE (Stanford Student Enterprises, the people who make the final call on the validity of a reimbursement) and make the necessary changes. If you're unsure what the message means or want clarification, contact either @Steven Songqi Pu or @Denise Lee. Within a few weeks, you should get an email from ASSU saying that a payment is available! When we are in-person, you can pick up your check from the ASSU office on the first floor of Old Union, behind the Axe and Palm (TAP).

What You Can and Can't Buy

As a general rule, it’s best to clear a purchase with your immediate supervisor (project lead, team lead, etc) at least verbally beforehand, just in case it’s something we already own, something it’s more cost-effective to machine ourselves, or something that’s just a no-go. But whether you’re on a launch or just need a new part ASAP, sometimes you gotta make a purchase fast. To prevent an event where you make a purchase you later find out you can’t get reimbursed for, here is an non exhaustive list of generally approved items:

  • Gas for SSI-related transportation, e.g. launches
  • Small general parts, e.g. screws, brackets
  • Non-power tools we don't already own or need more of, e.g. screwdrivers, taps
  • 3-D printing filament, when we run out
  • PPE we don’t have or we anticipate needing
  • Specialized safety equipment (ex. working with dry ice? Get a pair of thick gloves)
  • Team-specific parts (e.g. ejection mechanism for parachutes, camera for satellite, rocket airframes)
  • Non-chemical adhesives (tacky tape, regular glue/tape, duct tape)
  • Office supplies

Here are a list of items you should be more careful about purchasing:

  • Food. The food policy is dictated on high from the ASSU--make sure you clear it with your project team leads before hosting an event with food. The current policy is one event per team, per quarter. Food on launches is also discretionary.
  • Really expensive things. Whether this is a motel stay on a launch or an expensive hunk of metal for a project, if something costs upward of >$100, it would be unwise not to discuss it first. Plus, who wants to front that much money without a guarantee of return, anyway?
  • Things that are questionable for safety reasons. New power tools, anything chemical (yes, epoxy counts), and anything else that could result in unsafe practices you should clear with your team lead and possibly discuss with the safety leads. This may happen even when you don’t expect it to--for example, planning on cutting through carbon fiber? You’ll need goggles and an N95 mask to avoid inhaling microscopic fragments that could harm your lungs.

Here are some items you should never be purchasing:

  • Alcohol
  • Dangerous explosives

Happy purchasing!